I want to write something topical and relevant about what has been going on in the US (or teach a discussion skills class again
where we can talk about "Cop Killer"). But I just don't have it in me. I feel like I have to say something, but... errrgh...
People sometimes try to characterize what living here above the United States is like - the most common variant is that it's like having a nice apartment above a meth lab - but it's more tiring than that, because, you know, there are things about the 'States (and plenty of Americans) that I love! I want to see them get through their problems and find a better way, I really do. But every school shooting, every black man shot and killed for some minor infraction...
I mean, re: George Floyd, you know why the officer was kneeling on his neck, right? (Beside being a racist piece of shit, I mean). Floyd had tried to buy something with a bad $20 bill. Here's the thing, though: *I* have tried (unknowingly) to pass a counterfeit bill - a bad ten dollar bill I was given in change at a 7-11 on Granville Street, which I tried, a few days later, to buy a slice of pizza with, not having noticed - as I am sure is the case with the 7-11 clerk, too - that the colours and details were a bit off. No one kneeled on my
fuckin' neck for it - hell, the clerk at the pizza place even gave me the bill back, so I could use it my ESL classes as a warning to students. I still even might have it around somewhere (with the word "counterfeit" written across it in red pen, so no one mistakes it for real).
So, I mean, yes, right, black lives matter.
It actually, truly needs saying, I guess. Seems like it shouldn't. Seems like it should be, like, "the earth is round" or "gun control is a good idea," or other kinda strangely contentious issues of the contemporary world. Seems like, actually, WE SHOULD BE BEYOND THIS RIGHT NOW, or, well, sorry folks, but America, it seems like YOU
should be beyond this now, doesn't it? I mean, what, the LA riots were in 1992, right? (And say what you will about the Rodney King beating - at least they didn't KILL him!).
I mean, yes, I know, First Nations, Canada, etc. We're fucked up up here, too, I don't deny it. But, you know, I can recall two shooting rampages in Canada - one that ISIS-wannabe guy who had previously tried to rob a McDonald's with a stick, and this thing in Nova Scotia. There have probably been others, but there are none in my recent memory, which is quite different from the USA, where you just sort of give up trying to keep count. Another school shooting? Another black man killed by cops for some minor infraction?
And, you know, yes, Chantel Moore
. Or Colten Boushie
, or Jon Styres
, or... It happens here, and if you want to say it's an aberration, then pick a story about white people wanting to build pipelines or flood or mine or log First Nations land. You have a range to choose from, from the Tsilhqot'in versus Taseko mines
to the unresolved, ongoing struggles at Unist'ot'en camp to Site C damn to the Trans-Mountain pipeline to... It's all, undeniably, business as usual here in Canada - we have our own stories, our own racism, our own inequities. How does Matthew 7:5
go again? I get it.
But it's just not the same degree of intensity that you see down south, the same degree of outrage. I mean, we riot here over fucking HOCKEY games, folks. As grotesque and trivial as that is, this week I've been thinking fondly about it. How luxurious, how charming, how sweet to live in a country that riots over fucking hockey, like we have nothing more serious to get upset about. Maybe it's just the plank in my eye, but it just seems worse
in the United States - doesn't it? And it seems like THEY SHOULD KNOW BETTER BY NOW. Should have done something, should have fixed themselves...
Remember when Barack Obama was elected? I went to a fuckin' party to celebrate. There was more than one, I'm sure. I remember sitting there, I think at Cafe Deux Soleils on the Drive, being somewhat puzzled, thinking, why am I at a party to celebrate the election of a president of another country?
But I get it now: people thought America had finally fixed itself. Finally, we thought. We don't have to worry for them anymore - they have found the way.
How can it have gotten worse since that time? How does a country go from electing Barack Obama - flawed as he is - to electing Donald fucking Trump?
(Please fucking tell me they're not going to re-elect him? They can't, right? [They re-elected Bush]. What kind of psychotic decision-making process does an electorate have to display, here, that we have to actually worry
about this possibility?).
It's like some sort of fucking caregiver fatigue sets in for Canadians, like you've got this errant relative that you really want to see get his life together, but who somehow finds ways to fuck everything up. Seeing Obama elected was like seeing a perpetual fuck-up relative clean up, get a job, and get married: finally their life was on track. For a few years, you didn't have to worry about them very much - give or take a few school shootings, the odd targeted overseas drone strike, it was a definite improvement for awhile... Then your relative goes on a meth binge, robs a convenience store, kills a security guard, and you're getting a call from jail...
So I have nothing to say, I'm wiped out. I am going to spend today seeing if I can track down a Velvet Underground CD box set with an awesome 36-minute jam of "Sister Ray" that came out five years ago, that a buddy posted about on Facebook. I'm not even gonna listen to Body Count!
It feels somewhat surreal, even irresponsible, after what we've been seeing all week on the news, to go about ones life like everything is normal...
...except, I guess, for America, this IS normal. How can it be? (And how can it be that it seems to be getting WORSE?).
How did that Clash song go again?