“I think politics has made us crazy.
Everybody in this country has lost their minds on politics.”
– Senator Rubio (Republican, FL),
speaking after the occupation of the Capitol

After watching television coverage of a mob forcing its way into the Capitol on Wednesday of this week, I’d find it hard to argue with this diagnosis. It sure looked crazy. But how different is that, really?

I missed the American Civil War (aka the War of Northern Aggression) but I am old enough to remember other American-on-American violence on American soil. The Selma to Montgomery freedom march, where truly peaceful protestors were met with fire hoses and police dogs. The Watts riots of 1965. The Long Hot Summer of 1967. The protests that became riots at the Democratic National Convention and the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. Kent State in 1970. Wounded Knee in 1973. The Rodney King riots in 1992. There are hundreds of events of civil unrest in Wiki’s list.

(Canada’s list, by the way, is nowhere near as long, but neither are we exempt. The Conscription Crisis of 1917. The Vancouver General Strike in 1918; the Winnipeg one in 1919. Bloody Sunday in 1938. And I remember the Murray-Hill riot in 1969, the FLQ crisis in 1970, the Oka Crisis of 1990, the Ipperwash Crisis of 1995, and Caledonia from 2006 to 2011.)

Some might argue that labour disputes or racism protests (even ones that go sideways into looting, assaults on police officers, and attempted arson of federal buildings), are different in kind from a political protest gone sideways into the violent occupation of the Capitol. Senator Schumer (Democrat, NY) had no hesitation in making that claim. He likened it to the attack on Pearl Harbor, saying this was another Day of Infamy and taking his allotted speaking timee to label Trump “America’s worst president.” This morning after, I suspect that many Americans would agree with that assessment.

But many still would not. So, what now? I go back to Senator Rubio, who took his allotment for something else.

I think politics has made us crazy.
Everybody in this country has lost their minds on politics.

We have forgotten that America is not a government.
America is not a President.
America is not a Congress.
Let me tell you what America is.
America is a family.
America is a faith.
America is a community.”

A dysfunctional family, a shaken faith, a divided community? At the moment it sure looks like it, but it’s hardly for the first time, even in my lifetime. Will President Biden heal America? I think that’s beyond the power of any president. I know that for some he will be great. I expect for some he will be a welcome respite. I hope that for the others he will be someone who doesn’t make things worse.

And then I hope that America picks itself up and shakes off this current round of craziness — a craziness fostered by much of the media and by many self-serving politicians in both parties, in my view — and remembers that America is not a government. America is not a President. America is not a Congress.

And while I can only hope for America, I can actually work for Canada. We are not a government either. To think otherwise is to risk descending into craziness.

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2 Responses to Crazy

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    Joe Clarke has been vastly underestimated. He called Canada “a community of communities.” It’s one of the best descriptions I’ve seen.

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Yes, it’s a shame they messed up the count for the confidence vote. I think they could have done some good things in government.

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