O Canada

It’s our first morning on the coast of Maine.  As usual in a new place, it feels like Christmas morning.  No telling what gifts will be bestowed. It’s all a gift.  That’s why they call it the present.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

maine_coast_rev2There’s a tiny sliver of waning moon peeking out from the clouds.  Behind the moon the sky is getting lighter.  We got in soon enough last night to find a crab shack on the shore, crack open some crabs and suck out the meat as darkness descended. That was good, but this sunrise over the ocean is even better.

Our porch is perched above the Eastern shore and the sea is just starting to pink up as dawn floods the sky.  The Resilience Project was invited to Maine to participate in some national policy discussions on climate change, but we’ve got to see Canada first.

Canada is such a nice retreat when American aggressiveness gets to be too much.  Canadians have the politeness of people who live on the edge of wilderness where few visitors come.  This national attitude arose when they were a vast wilderness with few people and fewer visitors.  They cherished the few who would come to see them.  They still welcome immigrants with open arms.

They also have this parliamentary system of governance where multiple parties represent as many choices as the people desire.  In the US, we have a two party dictatorship of the mind.  It’s one or the other.  Yes or no.  Answer me.  You have to decide.  Which one will it be?  A rock or a hard place?.  The frying pan or the fire?

Americans are so used to being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils that we hardly even question our political system.  Looking at the world as the interaction of dichotomies can be useful–but only if you explore both ends and realize the truth integrates both extremes.

Someday Americans will wake up and realize there are more than two choices.  Or maybe we will continue to listen to the two parties and see politics as a choice between right and wrong, us and them, good and evil.  Politics has nothing to do with morality.  Having both parties led by amoral people should convince you of that.

Party politics has always been about loyalty. Loyalty to family and community helps build resilience.  Political parties work hard to subvert that loyalty.  For a family to be resilient, it helps to have a community which has your back.  For a community to be resilient, being a loyal part of a resilient tribe and nation can help.

Unfortunately, political parties can only succeed when other parties fail.  So the party has to divide, not unify; create enemies; destroy loyalty within families and community. 

But the morning is too beautiful here on the coast of Maine.  No more consternation about politics. Instead we’ll watch the sun rise and the tide come in while we drink our second cup of coffee. And again view the present as a gift.


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