I don’t think we can compare countries, events or different times in history.
But we can learn from them.
I’m not worried about America.
They are coming off a two-century high, most powerful country in the world, facing 21st century realities that hackers and leakers can bring their system to its knees, that Russian and North Korea and Syria and ISIS have them flummoxed and flustered, that they’ve placed their country’s fate in the hands of a tweet-storming buffoon.
But, America, he’s your buffoon.
Will sanity prevail, will America be great again?
But is that the problem?
I’m just an observer. I don’t appear to have any skin in their game but I do. I’m impacted by America’s actions, policies and economic clout every day. My country trades with them. I buy Canadian, but I buy American too. I visit there. I consume American news media, TV and movies. And magazines and books. And humour, though lately there seems less to laugh about, and more absurdity to observe …
Our American friends celebrate today – their anniversary, their declaration of independence from British rule; from 1776 until now. History with many triumphs, many blemishes – they’ve built a country, currency and economy the world envies. They’ve become the strongest force in the world for many things: democracy, military and economic clout. But once unrivaled power on many fronts have been eroded such that many other countries are more highly regarded in arts, science, humanity and economy management. Environment, manufacturing and trade are issues on which America is taking a back seat to the leadership of others.
And what is the cause of all that?
I could quickly and easily add my voice to those who find Trump contemptable – because he is the worst example of a good example their country has ever put forward to represent them. But is he the problem? Is populism and climate-change denial the problem? Is treatment of others (women, minorities, ‘losers’, media) in ways that would get most people fired or ostracized in their communities or workplaces somehow OK if it’s ‘the president did it’? No. But again, is he the problem. I’ve been following news coverage of the healthcare legislative conundrum war or words and confusion which has both Democrats and Republicans aghast at why Republican controlled congress and White House can’t make some magic. Again I ask, is that the problem?
In terms of Canadian history on health care I was reminded the other day of Medicare as we now know it, in Canada. Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas started it notwithstanding protests by doctors who said they would close their doors rather than comply. Many did. And the government brought in more doctors. In short order other provinces followed and we have that legacy in Canada today, a healthcare system that most countries in the world envy.
So, what’s my point?
I’ve observed the silent ones, the ‘not covered by the media ones’ in America right now are the doctors and HMO’s. They have Republican legislators in a corner at the same time American voters have them cornered in another way – a corner they put themselves in by seven years of promising to ‘repeal and replace’ their Affordable Care Act.
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