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mourning for America…

December 15, 2012

Today we mourn (again) for our American cousins, and for the families of the children and teachers and support staff who were so senselessly killed yesterday in yet another American school shooting.

I read that this is the 32nd school shooting in the States since Columbine.

I don’t know what it is about American violence – why a culture that neighbours with us – shares a language, a belief system, our largest trading partner – is so different from Canadians when it comes to violence.

I have travelled throughout America many times – I spent a year in a jeep aimlessly roving America, from the north-east through the south, mid-west, up through Oregon. I met so many good people and saw such magnificent vistas.

Americans, in general, are friendlier than Canadians, more effusive, quicker to lend a hand. The flip side of that coin, however, is the American penchant for belligerence, arrogance, a kick-your-ass assumption that might-equals-right.

Maybe we are saner, here in Canada, because we have a smaller population, better schools, free-access healthcare for everyone. Canadians don’t have 1,000 military bases around the world – or spend half our budget on military affairs. We have our own problems, to be sure, but few of us live in the extremes.

Maybe it’s because we weren’t born of revolution, and civil war. We ended slavery early in our history, embraced multiculturalism much more than America ever has.

Maybe the sheer size of America, its illusions of grandeur, its free-for-all idea of unregulated economics, its deep-seated fear of the other, its wild-west attitudes, it’s superiority/inferiority complex, its massive wealth and massive poverty, drives many people to the world of schizophrenia – to the world of hopelessness, and despair?

Sadly, nothing will change after yesterday. The powerful will shout down the calls for gun control. The powerful will shout down the call for less military spending and more social spending. The powerful will continue to shout down fully funded public healthcare. The powerful will demand even more American troops be stationed around the world.

As the 19th century was Britain’s time in the sun, so was the 20th century Americas. The 21st century will not be Americas. The tides of history are already moving on to new fresher markets.

America will not deal with this news very well. It will try to continue to hang on to old assumptions about power and glory – ripping itself apart in the process. 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 15, 2012 11:21 am

    A beautiful, compassionate yet thoughtfully questioning blog. It is all so sad.

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