Thank goodness for the border - Keith Roulston editorial
Living, as we do in Canada, next door to the most powerful country in the world, a country that seems to take off in various outbreaks of obsession, can be interesting/frightening for Canadians.
Currently, with criminal charges against former President Donald Trump, the U.S. is in one of those situations that make Canadians grateful that there is a border between us and the madness tearing at that nation.
We’ve always been different than Americans, dating back to when Canada was a few dispersed French-language settlements and the U.S. was a collection of rapidly-growing British colonies to the south. That world changed when the British defeated the
French in 1759 and became even more different with the successful war for those colonies to be independent, 20 years later.
After the Americans won that war, Canada grew as thousands of Americans who supported the British moved northward to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and the virtually unsettled Ontario.
In the war of 1812-1814, the Americans invaded Canada in an unsuccessful attempt to “liberate” Canadians. It was our concern about a possible new invasion, by Irish-American rebels trained in the U.S. Civil War, that led to the confederation of the British colonies in 1867, and the birth of Canada as we know it.
Peace with our American neighbours has been maintained ever since, but not without stress. As a British colony, Canada joined both World Wars I and II almost immediately to help the mother country. The U.S. didn’t join World War I until April 6, 1917, nearly three years after Canada went to war. The U.S., though it had a president who supported Britain and Canada, was resistant to join World War II until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941, more than two years after Canada was at war.
Ironically, the U.S. gained power from both World Wars, and by the time it defeated Japan to end the Second World War, after using two atomic bombs, in August of 1945, it was the most powerful country in the world.
But, tiny Canada hugely influenced the U.S. (and the world), in September of 1945 when Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk for the Soviet embassy in Ottawa, revealed a Russian spy ring. Thus began the anti-Communist witch-hunt led by U.S. Republican Senator Joe McCarthy, which, among other things, led to the banning of hundreds of writers, directors and actors, from work in Hollywood because they had attended meetings later deemed as Communist. Famous because of this activity was Dalton Trumbo, one of the “Hollywood Ten” who refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947, and was blacklisted, but later won an Academy Award for writing Roman Holiday, although the award was given to someone whose name he’d borrowed.
I am old enough to remember the victory of Fidel Castro in 1959, overturning U.S.-supported owners of Cuban gambling resorts. In an effort to get Cuba free of Castro, by now embracing hated Communism, the U.S., under Democratic President John F. Kennedy, backed the Bay of Pigs invasion, a failed military landing on the southwestern coast of Cuba in 1961. That prompted Castro to agree to accept missiles from the Soviet Union. The U.S. spy-plane recognition of this, in October of 1962, led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tense week-long U.S. warning to Russia, averted when the Russians withdrew the missiles.
Kennedy and, after Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson, led the U.S. into an ever more dangerous involvement in the Vietnam war before the U.S. withdrew under Republican Richard Nixon.
Nixon, however created the greatest crisis prior to the present, when he was forced to resign, facing impeachment over illegal efforts that helped lead to his re-election in 1972.
There have been many controversies since in the ever-contentious U.S. presidency, but none like the current one facing Trump, already twice impeached. Now he faces 37 charges regarding illegally taking secret documents from the White House to his Florida resort after he was replaced by Joe Biden. He has lost a civil suit that accused him of sexually molesting writer E. Jean Carroll and faces possible charges for inspiring the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and attempts to subvert the Democrats’ victory in Georgia.
And yet, polls show that 70 per cent of Republicans stand behind Trump and one mid-May poll showed him with a seven-point lead over Biden, a president who has quietly passed 250 pieces of bipartisan legislation, but who is regarded as too old and dull to be president.
The border separating us from the madness to the south has never looked so good!