Two Canadians Peer Across the Border

WHATNOT WEDNESDAY

Blogger Biff has begun a series on his blog which he’s calling “Whatnot Wednesday,” and invites others to follow suit. The idea rather appealed to me, so I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and write a post about the US political scene. Seems to me that’s a Whatnot if ever there was a Whatnot.

Regarding the title of this post, I’m not referring to the two Canadians who live in this house. We may read a lot but, give-or-take, we have a rather limited understanding of the subject. I may slip in a few opinions of my own, but mainly I’m going to tell you about two books written by prominent Canadians who do have a good grasp of the global, American, and Canadian political scenes, and have shared their understanding.

“Who cares what a Canadian thinks about Donald Trump,” you may ask? I’ll be so bold as to suggest that we may at times have a clearer view from up here. There’s so much smoke and fireworks generated in the US political scene, I wonder how often Americans in general can see the total picture? Also, it does anyone good at times to look at the situation through some neutral person’s eyes.

THE AGE OF DISRUPTION

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper writes in the introduction to his book that he was sitting in his living room on Nov 8, 2016 watching the US presidential vote. He didn’t expect Donald Trump to be chosen that evening, though he did think there was a slim possibility. He says:

“Trump had not impressed me He seemed to me less conservative, less convincing, and less politically capable than virtually all of the other candidates. He had a presence and a forcefulness, but not much else…
But Trump won the Republican nomination, and now he was winning the presidential election. So I asked myself: What happened?”

After he got over the shock, Mr Harper took an in-depth look at the political scene and the overall economic picture. Then he wrote a book for the benefit of his fellow Canadians, giving his opinion on how this situation came about.

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: Politics in the Age of Disruption, published in 2018 by Penguin Random House Canada, doesn’t examine President Trump or his candidacy as much as it analyzes the shift to the right that’s been taking place in society. Being an economist, he includes a look at market policies, trade, globalization, and immigration, issues that seriously trouble voters, factors that have produced this right swing.

“America Has Lot of Jobs”

My thought on one of these points:
I read a blog post by an idealistic young lady who denounced President Trump’s restrictions on immigration. Quoting the plaque on the Statue of Liberty, she suggested the States should rather open the doors and welcome all immigrants. I left a comment asking her where these immigrants are going to find work, considering how many manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. Her response was something to the effect of, “Of course there will be jobs for them. There are lots of jobs in America.”

Oh, to be so naive! The welcome on the Statue of Liberty is a wonderful ideal, but was written at a different time in US history. Now, before Uncle Sam opens the gates and lets everyone into the US who wants in, someone has to factor in the US economy as it stands today. There need to be jobs for those coming in, or the home folks may start to resent having to support the newcomers. Or they resent losing their jobs to immigrants who’ll work for less. Then you have anti-immigrant feelings boiling over. Read history; it’s happened before.

Folks who’ve made their money, who can afford upscale communities, holiday resorts, and luxury cruises, haven’t got the same take on jobs and immigration as the miner’s wife in Kentucky, the factory worker in Detroit, or the single mother providing for her family in Texas. I’ve heard that, with his plan to make American great again and provide jobs for Americans, Donald Trump’s tighter immigration policy appealed to not-so-politically-correct and non-globe-trotting Americans. And they are the majority.

A PRESIDENT LIKE NO OTHER

Former Canadian financier and newspaper tycoon Conrad Black has met Donald Trump and learned to know him, even done a bit of business with him. For his sin of owning too much in the US, Black also did a punitive year-long stint in a Florida prison, where he spend a lot of time teaching inmates how to read and write. There he got a good picture of life for those on the bottom rung.

Black is now retired, though he does some editorial writing. A celebrated historian, he’s written a hefty volume titled RISE TO GREATNESS, The History of Canada, also biographies of two other US presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard M Nixon. And now he’s written the book DONALD J. TRUMP: A President Like No Other, published in the US in 2018 by Regnery Publishing.

Mr Black believes in honest journalism, not the sensationalism that characterized the last presidential race. In a number of editorials during that event, he denounced his fellow journalists in the US for distortion and dishonesty and explained for bemused Canadians why leftists — including so many in the media — hate Donald Trump.

In his book he looks at Trump’s strengths and weaknesses. He considers why Trump, a successful businessman, chose this point in time to step up to the plate and run for office, as well as the way he’s conducted his campaign. Black also analyzes Trump’s America-first policies versus the more global approach of leftists like Obama and Clinton.

From the jacket:
Trump diagnosed what America’s ruling elite, in its arrogance, had ignored for more than twenty years — that it had mismanaged America’s affairs for the benefit of the few, the well-connected, and privileged identity groups, and not for the American people as a whole.

All in all, he’s done a thorough and honest analysis of Donald Trump and his methods. And Black continues to keep us informed, to balance out the none-too-accurate headlines we see so much of. Just recently he published an editorial in the National Post where he lists impressive gains President Trump has made in returning power and profit to America. He predicts that, in spite of all the media opposition, Donald Trump will win by a landslide.

We’ll see if his prediction comes true, but for sure it will be an exciting, even explosive, race. Depending on who the Democrats nominate to run against him, the next presidential election will generate a lot more smoke and fireworks.

Not to worry, though. According to Mr Black, Americans love political fireworks.

6 thoughts on “Two Canadians Peer Across the Border

  1. I can’t stand politics. Your article hits home though. I may just have to get this book. I don’t really watch the news anymore. The media is ridiculous. And I’m embarrassed as an American to the answer you received from that young lady. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting. I didn’t expect to get very many LIKES from this post, but do feel some “voices of reason” should be mentioned.
      I gather that Stephen Harper, a conservative and temperate man, doesn’t think highly of DT’s flamboyant approach. But he acknowledges that Trump got something right, and attempts to analyze what that is.
      Leftists suggest that Trumps’s a fool and a bigot, therefore all the folks who voted for him are fools and bigots. Harper claims “The ones with the foolish and preconceived notions were those who got it so wrong. It’s time to re-examine our assumptions.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Christine! First off, thank you so much for joining in my “Whatnot Wednesday” schtick. It am really just trying to give bloggers another way to share links to one another’s blogs and to send people to blogs they might not otherwise go. It’s sort of a “pay it forward” thing for blogging.

    Secondly, thank you so much for an even-handed, insightful, and honest assessment of a slice of American politics. That is very hard to come by nowadays. In fact, it is very nearly impossible.

    I have always been fascinated what people from other countries and cultures think of American culture (including American politics). I sometimes think that the rest of the world must think we are absolutely insane, based simply upon the TV shows we like, the products we purchase, the music we listen to, the people we elect to office, and the topics we think are newsworthy. But behind all of the sensational headlines and tawdry popular culture, we are just normal people trying to make a living and to do the best we can for our families and our country, and that is true regardless of which side of the left/right divide we find ourselves on.

    Thirdly, whether someone likes DT or hates him, no one can deny that he is doing exactly what the people who voted him into office elected him to do. He has tackled every one of their care-abouts and has fought hard for them. As for his style, (again, whether one loves it or hates it), it reminds me of the famous scene from “The Untouchables” when Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery) was talking to Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) about strategy. “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.” The people who voted for DT wanted a bare-knuckled street fighter to go up to Washington and shake things up and get us out of the “business as usual” tar pit we have been in for half a century.

    And that, sadly, is where American politics stands today. I would love to live long enough to know what future generations will think of this period of American history, say, 100 years from now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Biff. I know a lot of people ridicule or knock Donald Trump, so I didn’t expect many to appreciate this post, especially with me being a foreigner and all.

      In general I feel that, seeing Mr Trump is President of the United States until further notice, if for no other reason, I don’t think American should be dragging him through the mud. I may not totally support Mr Trudeau and may criticize some of his policies, but I have great respect for the Office he holds. To call our Prime Minister an idiot would be to disgrace our own country in the world’s eyes.

      Which is what it looks like from my perspective. Announcing, constantly, to the whole world that “We’ve elected a fool, a buffoon, a megalomaniac,” is actually bringing the whole US down in the world’s eyes. I know this is harsh, but it really looks like a kind of treason against the country and certainly slams the citizens who elected him.

      That aside, what really entertains us up here is reading about some of your law suits. 🙂 Like the fellow who crashed his motor home when he left the wheel to go back and get a coffee, while traveling down the interstate. His claim was based on, “The manual didn’t say I couldn’t leave the wheel while the vehicle was in motion.” He was awarded an insane amount: $10 million. In Canada lawyers’ fees are set; there’s no such thing as, “I’ll argue your case and if we win I get half.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so right, Christine, and hit the nail on the head. A large part of the problems we have in the world is that no one respects anyone anymore. I may not agree with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum from me, but I do try and respect them as people. The sad part is, I truly believe both sides want many of the same things. We all want a clean environment, for everyone to have access to the basic necessities of life, for people to have a level playing-field in terms of employment and opportunity. We just can’t seem to agree on the best ways of achieving those things.

        And I quite agree with you on the lawsuit thing. Our tort system is completely out of control and needs to be cleaned up. I’m all for people being able to seek recompense for true cases of fraud, abuse, or neglect, but it irritates me when unscupulous people (and their lawyers) put good companies out of business because of frivolous and excessively punitive lawsuits. At the end of the day, it just raises the costs of everything for everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

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