Dean Clough

February 18, 2022

Portico Darwin: Oh, Canada?

The word for today is schadenfreude.  As most know, it's a German word that refers to the emotion of taking pleasure in another's misfortune.  Like the jolt of joy most will feel when Trump and his family are led away in leg irons.  But I digress.

Instead, today I am referring to the perverse pleasure I'm getting seeing perfect Canada struggle with the same nonsense we've seen down here south of the border in crazy land.  Yes, perfect Canada with Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, and nationalized healthcare.  Perfect Canada, that self-proclaims it is all about "Peace, Order and Good Government".  But as I'm sure you've noticed, everything is not perfect in the Great White North, at least not like before.

However, the truckers and other protestors involved in Ottawa are wrong.  They are wrong because, while they absolutely have a right to peaceful protest, they do not have the right to block traffic, disrupt commerce, or menace average citizens.  The same was true in 2020 with the BLM protests.  When a line is crossed into violence and mayhem - as with the BLM-driven madness in Seattle in '20, for example - it's wrong, whatever flavor of political ice cream you're licking.

But you know, the message of those protesting in Ottawa is no more wrong than that of the BLM protestors in 2020 or now:  it's about equality and fairness.  Hear me out.

The Canadian trucker protest was cloaked in a big anti-vax blanket, and no doubt, there were certainly some in that camp among the participants.  But when you consider 85% of Canadians over the age of 5 have had at least two shots, and that something like 90% of all Canadian truckers have had the same, it's hard to see vaccinations as the source of this degree of concentrated angst.  In fact, it's not about vaccinations, at least not much.

Rather, it is a complete loss of faith in the major systems and institutions that exist today.  And that is because of inequality - wealth and justice inequality.  People are sick of it - and that's as true in Canada as it is here.  If you're not aware of this, long-haul truck driving is a mostly awful job, that doesn't pay well. 

The truckers and others are sick of some (like you and me, if you're reading this newsletter) that have the basics and a lot more covered.   Julie and I can shake off car trouble or even getting fired from a job (!).  We have great health care and go to a dentist and psychologist regularly (kidding on the latter, but we could if we wanted).  We travel and enjoy nice things and many of our friends have it even better.  You get my point. 

But so very many are not in that situation.  Needing new brakes or incurring any unexpected expense can send a lot of families into the ditch.  These people (rightly) see the social contract as having been broken - they've played by the rules, don't cheat or lie, and yet have essentially nothing while they watch many that don't play by the rules, and do cheat and lie, succeed - often grotesquely.

Or consider justice.  I bet deep down, even the most strident MAGA wingnut is likely surprised a coup can be planned by senior administration officials (and Congressional leaders?), without repercussion.  Or, that the rich and powerful can seemingly just blow off Congressional subpoenas.  Do you think that would fly for you or I?  Well, I rolled through a stop sign while driving a few years back, couldn't talk my way out of a ticket, and my insurance went up $200 a year as a result, in addition to the $100 ticket for a moving infraction. 

The people that are driving their trucks to the Ambassador Bridge and parking are fed up with all of this, and don't have the luxury of going out to a nice dinner with friends to forget about it.  Rather, they live with this engrained inequality each and every day, and social media finishes the job by rubbing their nose in it.

So yes, I experience some perverse satisfaction with Canada having their own MAGA problem.  I'm on record as saying the USA could do a lot worse than to be more (a lot more!) like Canada, and I'm jealous knowing we'll never get there.   I guess that's the source of my schadenfreude.

But I take zero pleasure in its root cause:  how out of whack things are in terms of wealth and justice.  That's a problem that is everywhere and it impacts everyone.

It's amazing how pleasant some readers can be.  From one:

"I consider you a hybrid of Baby Boom and Generation X since you exhibit the best characteristics of both generations." 

And yet, this came from another:

"I mean, if you haven't read Generation X, then you're probably not Generation X.

Oh well.  Whatever.  Never mind."

The first quote is from the charming and gracious Dr. Doreen Downs.  The latter?  Shocker, it's the Gen X poster child and generation-spanning smartass Hunter Deuce, and no, your Nirvana pull is not that clever. 

I'll add this to the discussion on generations.  I just picked up the recently published book, "The Nineties", by Chuck Klosterman.  I have not started reading it, but I do know there are 3 things that didn't exist (mostly) in the 1990s that forever changed the world:

  • Smart Phones
  • The Internet
  • 9/11

Ouch.  Changed the world?  Or ruined it?  It should be quite a book.  Or at least quite an upcoming blog post.

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

OK, it's clearly gotta be the mighty Canadians Rush, and I was surprised to see that I've never highlighted my single favorite album by them on KLUF.  Regardless, here, in sparkling high resolution, is the Diamond Certified "Hemispheres". 

Indeed:  it would be nice if we could get our hearts and minds to collide here (and in Canada).


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