The Tree of Democracy is Wilting
I am a Canadian who is obsessed with American politics. It’s not that our politics are less interesting, or with lower stakes, but I feel like Canadian political discourse is much more adult then Americas. The thing is, at least in Canada, our politicians, en masse, respect and understand the foundation that Canada is built on. This foundation is mostly dull and bureaucratic, which is wholly unlike America.
The founding of United States of America is awesome. For the first time in the history of the world, a nation of secular self-government arose, enshrining the principles of the enlightenment in the very base of a new nation. In particular, I find the first amendment to be a triumph of human thought. The freedom of speech, and the freedom to worship as one sees fit are integral to a functioning democracy, and I am truly jealous of Americans who have such important ideals at their national core.
My devotion to these documents is, however, abstracted given that their application and interpretation doesn’t actually affect me as a Canadian citizen. It’s with this ‘pure’ viewpoint that I say that the political discourse today, especially from the right, is absolutely contrary to the constitution, and thus, un-American.
Consider the non-troversy around the new community centre being built in New York. I’m disgusted that Americans have the audacity to demonize their fellow citizens and attempt to revoke their rights of worship and assembly. The President, himself a former constitutional lawyer, at least came out to reiterate what the founding fathers intended to happen in these situations. What really surprises me is how anti-constitutional so many politicians and pundits have been in the response, pandering to pathetic bigotry and anti-muslim hysteria. Let me be clear: To oppose the community centre is to be absolutely against everything the constitution, and thus America, stands for.
In the same vein, we have the continued opposition to same-sex marriage, mostly due to a recent decision to overturn the blatantly anti-constitutional Proposition 8 in California. The fact of the matter is, an identifiable minority does not have the same rights as the majority. The beautiful thing about a Constitutional Democracy is the fact that the rights of minorities are protected, so that there can be no tyranny of the majority in restricting said minorities rights. The vote on Prop 8 was exactly the type of thing that the constitution exists for, and the judge made the correct decision, no matter what 7 million hateful, idiotic bigots may like to think.
We’ve had equal marriage in Canada since 2005, and the only difference between then and now is that there are more happily married people. There was similar whinging of hateful, small minded morons back then, but their unfounded complaints shriveled up and died when the principle of equality was upheld.
America: your politicians and population appear from the outside to be increasingly ignorant about what it means to be American. Worse still, you have politicians and pundits actively working to erode what remains of these proud ideals. I believe in America, even as a proud Canadian, and I’d hate to see your country be dismantled by ignorance and fear.