Well, this story doesn’t seem to want to die, so I might as well comment on it. Many of my Canadian and American readers (about, what, two dozen of you?) may have heard about the flap about Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s chief of communications having to resign because she called American President George W. Bush “a moron”.
She made this off-hand comment in response to the suggestion by George Bush that Canada should spend more on its military. It was an off-the-cuff remark made to a reporter, in a room full of other reporters.
Clearly, George W. Bush isn’t the only moron on the planet.
This stuff shouldn’t be particularly shocking. It’s not like Jean Chretien said it himself, or that such a comment is particularly new. The liberal Democrat President John F. Kennedy is known to have referred to conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker as “that son of a bitch”. Diefenbaker did it right back. Republican President Richard Nixon is on tape as referring to Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau as “an asshole”. Pierre Trudeau himself has told members of the opposition to… (ahem) …fuddle-duddle off.
What makes this whole thing egregious is that conservative pundits in the United States and Canada have hooked onto this off-hand comment, lumped it in with Canada’s reluctance in launching a war against Iraq, with our commitment to social spending and our freer immigration controls, and suggested that Canadians are anti-American.
As the proud husband of an American wife, I of course beg to differ. It would be more accurate to say that I’m anti-Republican — or more accurately still, anti-Conservative-Numbskull.
I don’t think this makes me much different from the 50% of Americans who voted against George Bush and his party in the past two elections. I don’t think it makes me much different from the 60% of anti-Political-Numbskull Americans who were so disgusted by the political process that they chose not to vote at all.
Are you telling me that there have been no Americans out there who haven’t once called George W. Bush a moron? Have you folks read the Slate? Or this site? Or this site? Or this site? And what about the many American liberals and centrists who are pasted by conservatives for their moronic tendencies? If it’s so wrong to call one man a moron, why is it right to call somebody else that or worse?
People in glass houses shouldn’t throw kettles while calling pots black, and all that. What this moronic incident illustrates is the depth to which political discourse on this continent has sunk. In the past twenty years, we’ve taken on a very selfish and arrogant mantle, that our ways our right, regardless of the facts or legitimately dissenting opinion. There are millions of Americans out there whose political views are being trampled, laughed at, subverted or ignored. Dissenting opinion is now an oxymoron; dissenters aren’t legitimate — in the eyes of the politicos, they’re just morons.
Or, put it more bluntly, people (politicians especially) are so blindly in love with their political selves that to disagree with their views is more than just moronic, it’s treachery. And that’s a slippery slope that only a moron would want to ski.
- This site has a good run-down of the name-calling across the Canada-US border.