Wednesday, July 27, 2011

National Baggage

I watched United States President Obama on TV last night, appealing to Americans to ask their congressmen to approve raising the debt ceiling already. Don't take this coupled with my recent post on the FAA shutting down as a sign that I'm taking a sudden interest in US politics. The FAA post indicated my interest in the responsibilities of national aviation regulatory bodies, and I didn't tune in to Obama on purpose. He pre-empted the television show I wanted to watch, so that when I turned on the TV, instead of a vapid sitcom there was my neighbouring nation's president, all serious-like, quoting Ronald Reagan and explaining what taxes are used for. He's charismatic, for sure. And there's the "holy shit, the large nation we live next to is really having problems" aspect of the situation. I listened to him for the whole fifteen minutes, my attention only being broken after he left and a station commentator came on to say that Obama's solution was too complicated.

Taxes are a really hot-button item for Americans. They established a whole new country to get out of paying taxes they didn't like, and even their latest political movement, the Tea Party is named to hark back to that tax protest. This made me wonder, what really instigated Canadian nationhood, and is it still a berserk button for Canadians?

Everyone who went to school here knows that we were a bunch of separate British colonies and then the British North America Act united a few of them when the founding fathers all got hammered at the Charlottetown Conference (do you have a photo of the founders of your country all hungover after doing it?) But why did the British decide that 1867 was time these colonies governed themselves?

There'd been some rebellions in the colonies, and Lord Selkirk was sent to analyze why and figure out how to settle us down. He recommended that we be given responsibility for government. What quaint 19th century concerns were the issues in those rebellions? There seem to have been three main ones: ethnic disputes between members of the French and English populations, inequality in government land grants to different religions, and opposition to mass American immigration. I already knew that the English fighting the French was woven deep in the fabric of our nation, but I didn't realize that separate school funding and resenting American infiltration were as originally Canadian as trapping beaver and tapping maple syrup. So yup, it seems that whatever inspired you to create a country remains something your citizens care about. I do believe that goes for the the lofty ideals as well as the grievances, though. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; liberté, égalité, fraternité; peace, order and good government. That last link is to an essay by a smart, bilingual Canadian politician who was vilified by his opponents on the basis that he had been unduly influenced by time spent in the United States.

And now I go back to watching the American television show (How I Met Your Mother) that Obama displaced, when it would be more useful for me to be watching something in French to improve my language skills. I already did my taxes.


Anonymous said...

U.S.A!..... U.S.A!.... U.S.A!.......

Only in America can "football" beat out the story of our country not being able to compromise on something like this. Our country is divided pretty much 50-50 Dem/Rep (in elections) but if you ask everyone if they should compromise nearly everyone would say "yes". I'm tired of this crap! I don't know nothing but here is my "fix", A) Raise the limit for now with a "lead weight" that will lower it as debt goes down. B) Raise taxes! Lets pay for the wars we've been waging for a decade C) Cut spending....

I don't know nothing........ I just keep airplanes from tradin' paint. God help us..........get that first down.


Rhonda said...

Seemed to me that he was also vilified for being smart and educated, and being capable of extended complex sentences, paragraphs, and essays, instead of soundbites.

Some parts of Canada are being infected by the worst the US has to offer, when there's some good stuff we could be adopting instead, if we have to copy them.

Anonymous said...

Anon: your A) has been done time and again since before Obama took office. It never works.
This would be the 3rd time this year alone (if I recall correctly) the debt ceiling would be raised to pay Obama's election campaign.
Raise taxes? No. Raising taxes lowers tax income as more and more people loose their jobs, companies shut down or move abroad, and people get ever more creative in evading taxes. Lower taxes, kickstart investment in the private sector, remove obstacles to starting and expanding businesses, and the country gets back on its feet, with as a result that the tax income rises.
C) is the answer, and should be done drastically and quickly. The federal government alone could do with at least a third fewer people, probably as many as 70% less. The rest are either paperpushers doing nothing meaningful but enforcing or controlling meaningless regulations and procedures, or are so ineffective at their job that 2-3 people are needed to do what a single motivated private sector employee does (those are real numbers, I know quite a few public sector workers and am closely involved with a lot of consultancy work with public sector departments, we're regularly told not to work so efficiently because it makes them look bad, then see the products we deliver (IT systems) sabotaged by their users because they don't want the increased efficiency their use would bring, or are opposed to someone being able to track how long they take to complete a task as simple as filing an appointment.

That's worldwide btw, the only way in which the US is different from some other countries is that it's far more visible.

Cedarglen said...

Thanks. That was fun and I learned a little about my wonderful neighbors to the North. I's also add that I sorta like Mr. Obama, bit I don't watch him on TV. (I don't own a TV!) I like hockey, I have plenty of my own beaver and I buy Canada's Maple Syrup. I guess we'll continue to get along pretty well. -Craig

coreydotcom said...

When are we gonna meet the mother? Do you have a guess on who it will be? I guess Robyn.

Aviatrix said...

I thought it was her too, but I just watched an episode that ended with "And that's how I met your Aunt Robin," so it doesn't seem as if she's the mother.

I assume it's "Aunt" as in close family friend, and not as in the mothers sister.

Anonymous said...

A little off this topic, you where going to do some research on the "low temp" operation of the AC after the fuel venting. Any results?

Aviatrix said...

Wrong blogger, I think. I don't have AC and I don't have facility to dump fuel. Point me at where I said I'd research that, though, and I'll put it on my list.

Anonymous said...

It was a good ways back, at the end of your Blog "Cold", I had made a remark about the aircraft type that I didn't realize it had that high a service ceiling. I got my multi rating in its little brother many decades ago.