Justin Trudeau in difficult times

Donald Trump’s recent victory sent shockwaves worldwide; it seems incredible that after the recent agreements to act on climate change, the U.S. presidency has fallen into the hands of a denier.

According to American journalist Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science, the anti-science skeptics in Congress are mainly sponsored by big business, or they’re part of the religious Right. However Donald Trump doesn’t appear to belong to either of those camps.

In a later work, Unscientific America, Mooney portrays a nation where huge numbers have simply drifted away from science. Apparently 80% of the population can’t understand the science section in the New York Times. And, only half the adult populace knows the earth travels around the sun once a year.

Trump seems an energetic and intelligent person, who’s been deeply involved with his various businesses. Like so many of his countrymen, he just never bothered to read much.

One day soon Donald Trump is expected to visit Canada, where Justin Trudeau will be his host. This is a great opportunity for exchanging ideas. Could local scientists demonstrate the heat trapping properties of greenhouse gases in the lab for the distinguished guest?

However things play out, Trudeau must be reflecting on his father’s situation, almost fifty years ago. In the 1960’s the Americans were engaged in a fierce civil rights struggle while they survived the Cuban missile crisis and went blindly into their Vietnam hell. Not much has changed, and Canada has to maintain an independent stance.

Jill Stein, voice of decency in a dark era

Much of the world is watching the coming U.S. election at this moment, as momentous issues are involved.  I’m hoping for Clinton, because the other candidate is such a loose cannon.

In an ideal world though, the U.S. would move away from the rigid two party system. Years ago Ross Perot seemed to have a good chance. His accomplishments, courage, integrity, and intellect were outstanding, and if people had heeded his warning of the “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the U.S. things might be different today.

Jill Stein, the leader of the Green Party, is another excellent third party choice.  I happened to see an interview of her on Bloomberg a couple of days ago, but it’s gone now. There are other interviews of her around, though. One good one is at vox.com.

In my opinion one of the main weaknesses in today’s American democracy, is that often the best candidates are routinely ignored by the dominant media corporations. Jill Stein is not just a physician, she’s a brilliant thinker who approaches the major world problems in a bold, clear-headed way that is absolutely refreshing.

In Canada right now, the government is considering bringing in a voting system that would ensure more proportional representation, so that voters who prefer one of the smaller parties are not squeezed out. This might work for the U.S. too.

 

 

The Revolt of the Limies

Britain’s move to end further integration with the EU, and go it alone, is a testament to the powerful sense of national identity still felt by the English people.

Isolation from the Continent may have been an advantage during the Industrial Revolution. The British got a real head start and became the world’s greatest maritime power.

A Canadian “war baby,” born in 1943, I remember my grandfather showing me a map of the world in which a huge area was pink; this indicated the British Empire. Canadians were part of something much greater than our own nation.

Within a few years this empire was transformed into the Commonwealth. Life here in British Columbia tended to be egalitarian; people arrived from all over the world and were well accepted.

However a few weeks back, when reading about the recent attacks on Polish people who’d found work in England, the word “Polack” popped into my mind. I don’t know anyone from Poland, and certainly have nothing against them. Somehow though, this disparaging term is part of my vocabulary, along with insulting names for the French, the Spanish and many others.

Bigotry is not in my nature, but the words are part of my long term memory. Do the attitudes they imply come from the imperial world view which dominated Canada in earlier years?

My paternal grandfather, the one who first showed me the map of the world, was Welsh. His first name was also William; apparently the family named him after their Conqueror. However my ancestry also includes the Scottish/Norwegian and the Anglo-Saxon/Danish lines; the history of the English people plays itself out in my veins.

As a Canadian of mature years though, I’m no fan of the growing racism in the old country. The British Empire is ancient history, and it’s time for the English to remember their roots are in the Continent; they are not indigenous to the British Isles.