Happy Thanksgiving, America!
November 24, 2010 by John Myers
Tomorrow is perhaps America’s most important holiday, and it comes amidst the most positive change that has happened in a generation.
The Tea Party led the GOP to victory and it has given new hope to America. Furthermore, it is the Tea Party that has inspired many to challenge a leftist President and overthrow a liberal House of Representatives. It is the Tea Party that is setting a new course; one based on the blueprints that built this great nation.
Change has come quickly. Before the midterm election, it seemed many were giving up hope. And while the Tea Party does not yet have a unified agenda, its candidates have pushed for a balanced budget, the eventual elimination of the Federal debt and will try to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law.
The Tea Party has instilled new passion and direction in the conservative movement, and it has done so from the bottom up. The ideas and inspiration from the Tea Party come mostly from ordinary people that Americans can understand, not intellectuals like William F. Buckley, Jr.
Liberty Still Thrives Inside America
Keep in mind that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool realist. My wife tells me that I see the glass half empty, and years ago Personal Liberty Digest co-columnist Chip Wood called me Calamity John.
But I am far more optimistic this Thanksgiving than I have been in years past. The recent election has demonstrated that libertarian ideals are still alive.
That is a relief, because America may be the only nation that still has a conservative voice. It certainly has fallen silent in Canada.
Two summers ago my wife and I traveled to Ottawa, Ontario to our eldest son’s wedding. Our daughter-in-law’s parents had some friends that were active in Canada’s Progressive Conservative (PC) Party. At the wedding rehearsal I spoke politics with a few of them. I had spent much of the previous 20 years living in Spokane, Wash., and was woefully ignorant of the political climate that had changed in Canada. I was shocked at how these “Conservatives” not only liked President Barack Obama but were also inspired by his policies regarding bailout and healthcare bills.
They were members of the political party that had helped elect John Diefenbaker, one of Canada’s great Conservatives, just 50 years earlier. Yet as Canadian Conservatives they believed in the ideology of Ted Kennedy rather than the ideals of Ronald Reagan.
Back when Diefenbaker was Prime Minister there were two principals: the Liberal Party and the PC Party. Today there are three other major Canadian political parties at the national level: the Le Bloc Québécois, the New Democratic and the Green Party. The last two are on the far Left.
And despite the success of the Tea Party, there is no conservative movement like it in Canada. It is an interesting distinction, writes Canada’s most influential newspaper, The Globe and Mail:
“Canada and the United States are remarkably similar countries — so similar, that no one else on earth can tell the two of us apart, unless this Austrian or that Sri Lankan has an ear so well attuned to English that she can distinguish Newfoundland from Missouri accents. Yet politically, we are solitudes…
“(Yet) for all our shared geography and history, Canadians are more Japanese than American. Or more German. Or Norwegian. We accommodate ourselves to the political reality we inhabit. Only the Americans are perpetually up in arms against the status quo. It makes for more unstable, more dysfunctional, but ultimately more democratic politics.”
For the past four decades Canada has moved further and further to the left; so far, in fact, that Canada seems devoid of citizens who even know what individual liberties are, let alone demand them.
Tom Flanagan is a United States-born, Calgary, Alberta academic, and was an adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Flanagan has said he doesn’t think a group like the Tea Party will bloom north of the 49th Parallel because Canada’s political system — unlike the U.S. primary system — is not required by law to hold free and open nomination contests.
“You could have an insurgency here and there in Canada, but a wide uprising like we saw in the U.S. just isn’t possible here,” Flanagan told The National Post.
Others in Canada have pointed out that there is no Tea Party because Canada’s economy is so much better off. I can tell you that this is nonsense; that by most measures the U.S. has a higher standard of living and a better economic future than does Canada.
The real reason there is no Tea Party in Canada is that Canadians sheepishly accept what government dictates. Let me give you an example. When I was going to the University of Calgary in the 1970s, Ottawa instituted the unpopular metric system. Many Canadians complained when the provinces made all road signs metric. Yet the signs were erected and were soon accepted.
Around that time, Washington State was also putting up metric road signs. But those signs didn’t catch on. That was because drivers were tearing them down.
Perhaps the differences between Canada and the U.S. are not surprising; not when you consider the United States revolted against King George III, while those further north were happy to be co-opted by the British Empire.
Yet there was a time when conservatism had a strong voice in Canada. Today such ideals and the concept of individual liberty exist almost exclusively inside the U.S. As much as ever, America is a last bastion of freedom. One can only hope that with time American ideals will spread.
Canada is hardly alone on turning its back to the freedoms and responsibility that made western democracy so successful, says Mark Steyn in his New York Times bestseller, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.
“Today in your typical election campaign, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much every party in the rest of the West are all but exclusively about secondary impulses: Government health care (which America is slouching towards incrementally but remorselessly), government daycare (which was supposedly the most important issue in the 2006 Canadian election), government paternity leave (which Britain has introduced). We’ve elevated the secondary impulses over the primary ones: national defense, self-reliance, family…”
But even as the rest of the world turns its back on libertarian values, America has not. That makes this year’s Thanksgiving special. Hopefully there will be even more to celebrate in two years.
Best wishes on Thanksgiving,
Myers Energy And Gold Report