It’s hard to move forward when your knee is jerking

Just over a week ago, Deb and I booked accommodations for our New York City trip in August. We did extensive research (“Which listing comes up first in Airbnb?”) and put down our deposit.

A few days later, U.S. President Donald Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a weenie-boy, and suddenly Canadians were livid – livid like someone had butted into their collective Timmie’s drive-thru.

“Boycott! Boycott! Don’t visit the U.S.!” Canadians cried in stern and firmly forwarded Facebook posts.

“Well, crap,” I thought.

In truth, I had been questioning the wisdom of spending time, let alone money, in the United States, especially given that its current raison-d’être seems to be to make the rest of the world go, “Bu- but you- how- wha- really?”

But other than being inarticulate with dismay, Canada has never really been angry with the USA, just very, very disappointed. Yes, the U.S. has been threatening to disrupt Canadian trade by imposing stiff tariffs, but tariffs are boring. The very word is a snore. You can’t get excited about tariffs, even stiff ones. Now, if trade disputes meant that every Canadian had to bake two pies for every American, we would be up in flour-covered arms. But tariffs, steel, wood, even stiff wood? Yawn.

Trade disputes aren’t going to ruin us. The only thing trade disputes have ever ruined is The Phantom Menace. Sure, Trump might be using international trade as a pretense to withdraw from NATO, allowing Russia to run roughshod over Eastern Europe, but we’ll cross that doomsday bridge when we come to it.

Given this, I figured there was no reason things couldn’t be business as usual, or, in my case, over-priced tourist traps at a terrible exchange rate as usual.

But then, as they say, things got personal.

Ever since the Cheap Shot Heard Round the World, Canadians have been taking the insult very hard on Trudeau’s behalf. They’ve shown an astounding level of attachment to their PM, even though, unlike in the U.S., virtually zero Canadians voted Justin Trudeau into the position of prime minister. Realistically, our emotional investment in the PM should be slightly higher than attachment to a professional Canadian sports team rostered by mostly American player but considerably lower than our embrace of universal but not very efficient health care.

Our response to this slight is in fact very Canadian. As easygoing as we supposedly are, we are surprisingly thin-skinned. And like the rest of the world, we will happily muster outrage. We will take umbrage. We will take all the umbrage until there is no umbrage left in the umbrage bowl.

My initial reaction was also to feel affronted. But then I realized that it really doesn’t matter. In fact, taking this slight to heart is exactly part of the problem.

First of all, it’s a relatively mild diss from the preternaturally boorish President. This glue-eating, last-picked baby-man is a word vomiter. His words mean nothing. And, really, Trudeau can handle it. I mean, he doesn’t have much to be insecure about, am I right, ladies? I find it more insulting that Trump insists on referring to him as “Justin.”

Secondly, by letting our reactions be ruled by anger and impulse, Canadians are no better than Trump and the base and divisive instincts that elected him to office.

Boycotting the United States and U.S. products isn’t the answer, because the only people such actions will hurt are Americans. We love Americans! We love American stuff. We love American places. We love American pie (really, who are we to assume to make pies for you!).

So instead of sitting back smugly and feeling morally superior (Ontario provincial election notwithstanding), we should instead be flooding into the U.S. Let’s show them that it’s about the people, not the politics. We’ll leave it to our government to do the job of not getting walked over. Us, we’ll just walk, namely in welcoming U.S. parks and services. Let’s travel to the United States, be ambassadors, shoulders to cry on, a calming voice that says, “Your president is a jerk but it’s all going to be okay.”

Me, I’ll be a Canadian in New York, letting car after car merge into my lane, smiling politely at the woman who said my butt looks good in those pants (true story), speaking in French just for kicks, being a real Canadian dork.

And I’m not just saying that because I can’t get my deposit back.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in Canada and/or Quebec and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to It’s hard to move forward when your knee is jerking

  1. calijones says:

    There’s a huge need for shoulders to cry on, too. You won’t have any dry shoulders left.

  2. Thank you kindly, cuz, very decent of you. This gasbag too shall pass, and we’ll just pray he doesn’t leave a lingering odor in the social fabric.

  3. cat9984 says:

    I hadn’t really looked at it from the perspective of this insult being a minor school-yard taunt instead of something like the heavy-duty “Rocket Man” type stuff. I was still embarrassed by it. Very gracious (and Canadian) of you to put it in context.

  4. markbialczak says:

    I say welcome, Ross and lovely wife.

  5. I’ve been thinking about how everything we do, read, listen to, watch, and say has become “problematic” – as in there is always something to boycott, be outraged by, take a stand on. It becomes this obstacle course of decision-making and avoidance. And it’s exhausting! Trump is an embarrassment for most moderate Americans. We need to take a Canadian approach – politely avert our eyes and get on with life. And of course, work to replace him and his minions with mostly decent people. That said, enjoy your trip!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      There are a lot of cliches about Canadians – polite, boring, tolerant, say “eh” a lot — but we also have a great sense of humour. I see my countrymen losing that. It’s important to keep perspective.

  6. So glad you didn’t let Trump’s imbecility deter you from visiting the U.S. And thank you for not judging all of us by this colossal moron. He attacked your Prime Minister for being all the things he is not—articulate, well-liked, attractive, young, fit, intelligent, and capable. I think you’ll find when you visit New York—Trump’s home town—that you are in a place where people know him and thoroughly despise him. We value Canada’s friendship greatly. Trump has never had a friend, nor been one, so he doesn’t know what friendship is all about.

  7. Well done Ross. Yup, I think we have lost our sense of humour and we do need to remember it, especially now in light of that orange-tinted peckerwood (he had a problem with soft lumber). However, those who don’t stand up to a bully …

  8. Meredith says:

    Trump is a moronic pig and Mr. Trudeau is an intelligent human being, not to mention cute as a button. So many of us in the United States are mortified by the show Trump is putting on for the *ahem* “benefit” of our country and the world. It all stinks and I’d outwardly proclaim my wishes for our president but I’m really afraid of Karma. Canada, keep being awesome!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Trudeau is actually not my cup of tea but he is head and shoulders above the last guy. No politician is perfect. After all, their politicians. But some are more perfect than others.

  9. His words got him elected by a crazed populus. They certainly count for something. Trump’s specialty is dragging everyone down to his level. Just ask DeNiro and Samantha Bee. Caught in Trump’s web.

    New York City in August. Just you wait. It’s well past its freshness date.

  10. ksbeth says:

    my daughter’s first reaction to the dustup was to say, “great, now we can’t travel anywhere in the world, it’s so embarrassing to be american right now.” spot on. and i feel like i have to apologize to the border crew when i cross over into your country.

  11. I just read that the state of NY is suing the Trumps for misuse of charitable funds from their “foundation”, so he may just eject the whole state and then it can become part of Canada, which would solve your problem Ross. It will give you more time to prepare yourself for August in NYC. You can start by shaving your head, armpits, back, legs and pretty much anything else that grows hair and, of course, stock up on the Gold Bond Powder.

  12. pinklightsabre says:

    Ha! Well put. He is a last-picked baby-boy, though that does disservice to babies (and glue eaters). Enjoy your time and hope you get to meet up with “Exile.”

  13. Gavin Keenan says:

    Unfortunately for us (U.S.) only 55% of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot in the 2016 Presidential election. We now elect our “leaders” with roughly 25% of the total electorate. Our political system is constipated by the jamming effect of the two political parties running to the extreme left and right while they connive to retain or regain power. It needs a good dose of Cal-Fig.
    Enjoy your stay in the USA as we love Canadians. Don’t stay at Trump Tower.

  14. List of X says:

    As long as your Airbnb isn’t a Trump hotel, I don’t mind if you’re boycotting the Canadian boycott of the US.

Go ahead, don't be shy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.