Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reciprocity and Borders

Flo and Floss. The Women believed Floss protected them from the tramps... Richmond was a railway town.

Well, just as I am examining the 1911 Reciprocity Elections, the Canadian and US governments announce that they are in negotiations with respect to a common perimeter, 'border talks'.

President Obama says that these border talks are about jobs and prosperity.

Obama said, and I quote the Montreal Gazette"that he's confident the "new vision" for the Canada-U. S. border will lead to enhanced prosperity for both countries." This new arrangement (details to come, some of which they may actually explain to the public) will create jobs and increase exports (for which country)?

Obama said he expects Harper to be very protective of Canada values, which shows how little he knows our Prime Minister (despite being on a 'first name' basis, or understands Canadian values, the ones that separate us from the US, like Pot OK, Guns bad.

(Actually, the church-going statistics probably say it all. Not many atheists in the US. But if we had no social safety net, maybe more of us would attend a church. In the 1910 era, I suspect, you attended church because you needed "connections" to survive -and the preacher could be entertaining, in an era before radio.

Maybe Obama should read the Tighsolas letters!

Actually, I don't think there is a 49th parallel between our two core ideologies. North America is divided ideologically between urban and rural, with the burbs vacillating. Two Solitudes.

So all those out of work auto workers in the American North East are going to become border patrollers. Instead of working on the assembly line, for decent money, turning out automobiles that they can afford, (there's a great video on YouTube of the Ford Assembly line and it has 6,000,000 viewers) they are going to protect the continent from outside invaders, and pot, although I'm sure the flow of US guns north will only increase. Cause guns are good, right? Good business.

And "Whatever is "good" for business, is "good" - as in morally, ethically, good. I once read a brilliant essay, penned by an American, on this topic. I must track it down and read it again. I think it was from the 1930's but I might be wrong.

The fact is, many Americans still believe that the 9-11 bombers came through Canada. The idea was planted in many of their brains (and as saw in a Sunday Morning feature) once an idea is firmly planted in the fear center of the brain, it cannot be removed. Politicians and pundits these days exploit this unhappy fact, making a mockery the democratic process that demands critical thinking of its citizens.

Harper says, this border deal isn't going compromise our sovereignty. But somehow I doubt it. With the Arctic melting down, that area is so attractive to the US.

An article in the National Post says this might tie us to the US, as we've never been tied before.

I'm worried, because, if the US were not a country but a 'person', and I were a psychiatrist assessing the mental health of this 'person' I could only come to one conclusion: Split Personality with bouts of extreme paranoia, caused by recent trauma and declining power. (A bit like the Nicholsons in 1910.)

I'm wary, because whoever "protects" you also controls you. That's why teenagers resent their parents so. That's why Marion Nicholson, at 27, couldn't find a place to stay in the city. Society was 'protecting' unmarried women's virtue and their reputations. Whether it needed protecting or not.
Hmm. In 1911, Canadians voted out Laurier's Liberals because they were afraid Reciprocity would mean a US takeover of Canada, quite literally.

In 1911, I suspect, the Border was merely a suggestion (the Nicholsons had many many relations living in the Boston area and other parts of the US.)

Anyway, as I edit the Nicholson letters, late 1911, the family is deciding whether to rent or sell their beloved house Tighsolas. They are ambivalent, but essentially, the decision is made for them. There are so many people leaving Richmond, for Montreal and other parts, so many houses available for rent or sale, that they cannot sell the house, not for a price they can afford.

This, certainly, is something that many present day Americans can identify with!

And as I edit the letters, I can see that people voted along the lines of self-interest back then too. (That's the reason the suffragettes wanted universal suffrage: they claimed men only cared about making money and not about the human side of things. Give or take a Dickens or two.)

I see people being swayed by irrational fears too, ignoring facts and past history. So what do you do?

And my husband's all for this perimeter pact, if it means, as with the EU, ANY Canadian can go work in the U.S. sans visa, sans green card.