Monday, December 10, 2007
Foreign Policy, Wunelle-Style
So what's the deal with Canada, eh? I keep thinking of the South Park song "Blame Canada," where the copy center clerk blurts out the phrase-ending (and nearly show-stopping) line: "They're not even a real country anyway."
It's a funny line, partly because to we oblivious Americans it sometimes seems very nearly true. Canada's biggest single identity seems to consist of not being the U.S. It's not always hard to see the lure of this philosophy, and at times it seems like the most legitimate of feathers in one's cap. People disgusted with the world's greatest superpower being overrun by evangelicals see Canada as embodying most of what this country is supposed to be. I've never been tempted to pack up and move North, but for the last seven years I've sympathized with the sentiment.
This was my first visit to Quebec, and (ergo) Montreal. Montreal is said to be the most European city on the continent, but unfortunately my 20 hour visit did not allow me to see much of it. Our hotel is actually in Laval, which is a Montreal suburb that happens to be larger than Montreal itself (So I have to formulate my foreign policy from a quick glimpse of a suburb and some YouTube clips--which is nonetheless more than some have utilized). And Laval seems like the American suburban EveryTown: shot thru with freeways, be-malled and overrun with chain stores and corporate coffee outlets.
But that's kind of my whole impression of Canada generally, having flown into half a dozen larger cities: they all drive American cars (or exactly the same cars you see in America), eat American food, watch American TV shows and movies, listen to American music, and use their own version of American money (well, dollars anyway--to include pennies, dimes and quarters). Every time I have to get pushed thru the anus of another border crossing I ask myself, what's the point? To what end is all this energy being expended? Would the identity of the region and its people be diluted by making the ten provinces and trimmings into additional U.S. states? I mean, even in America the South is still the South, Texas is still Texas. And the Quebeckers seem to be halfway on board with my scheme: Quebec's main identity, after being not American, seems to be a desire to be not Canadian. So it seems that a substantial part even of Canadian citizens wish they were somewhere else (or that everybody else was).
Well, the obvious solution to this chaos is... invasion! It's said that 90% of Canada's population lives within 50 miles of the U.S. border. So I say: to hell with trying to remake the Middle East, let's just annex the southern 50 miles of Canada and the rest will fall into our hands!
Problem solved. (I'm just here to help.)
(Actually, maybe that bottom 50 miles could invade us and overthrow the present administration. We'd all become Canadians, but things might be a lot more civilized. Then nobody'd have to move. Except all the Canadians who now HATE being Americans; they'd have to pack up and move to Iceland.)
(OK, Deb can come and hit me with a rolling pin now.)