The Democratic victory was a splendid one. It put substance in the party's name and was a joy to behold: that panoply of faces in the crowd, belonging to all classes and races, the meaningful sobriety of Obama's speech.
But for Canada, a nation on the margins, Obama's election had the further ramification of rendering our own multicultural creation myth redundant. Multiculturalism simply does not distinguish Canada anymore. As a nationally binding story it is, in the global scheme of things, now ordinary--and so as a myth about Canadian identity it is effectively useless. It has gone the way of basketball and Superman and a host of other Canadian inventions that the United States has taken on and can sing much, much more loudly.
The image of Barack Obama, a supreme icon of the meeting and fusion of races (a "mutt," according to his own amusing self-description), has been projected all over the world, and that of his whooping Kenyan grandmother, too. His speech has been viewed over a million times on YouTube. His message of a new democratic order has found resonance with hundreds of millions. The Canadian multicultural version just cannot compete, not even among our own citizenry.
This opinion comes from the National Post, a right-wing Canadian newspaper. Needless to say, right-wingers aren't known for their ability to think straight. Consider how they tried to associate Obama with William Ayers after Reagan sold arms to the Ayatollah Khomeini and Donald Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam Hussein. Based on past associations, who's really guilty of palling around with terrorists?
"Donald Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam Hussein."
I think way too much was made of Obama's association with Ayers. However, it was more than this comparison implies. Did Rumsfeld party at Saddam's house?
At least Rumsfeld saw the light about Hussein many years ago, and ended all associations very decisively.
Why do the vast majority of Canadians (excluding the populace of the many extremely isolated backwoods lumberjack encampments) regard their country as singularly multicultural when blatant racism, both institutionally and individually directed, still deeply plagues their society?
Is it simply because there are a lot of Sikhs there who have successfully assimilated into their mainstream or what?
Did Rumsfeld party at Saddam's house? Probably not. Did Ayers kill tens of thousands of people? Definitely not. He only set off bombs in unoccupied buildings, hurting no one.
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