It’s Martin Luther King Day today. Well, it is if you’re American. I’m Canadian, so it’s just a regular old Monday for me. Which makes me feel just a teensy bit resentful, if you want to know the truth. And it’s only going to get worse tomorrow, when, fresh from the feel-good high of Martin Luther King Day, all you Americans will converge – in person or in spirit – on your nation’s capitol to celebrate the inauguration of a new president. A new president that most of you seem to actually like.
We don’t get really excited about stuff like that up here in Canada. When a new governing party is sworn into power in our Parliament, most of us are off somewhere else, listening to Leonard Cohen and eating bacon fried in maple syrup. That, or getting our hips replaced. Because that’s the kind of stuff that we celebrate up here in the Great White North: Leonard Cohen, bacon n’ syrup, and universal health care (this might vary by region – Sarah Mclachlan, wild salmon and universal healthcare if you’re on the West Coast; Feist, craft beers and universal health care if you’re in Ontario. Somewhere, in the outback of Alberta, they might celebrate Nickelback, Molson’s and private clinics, but I’m not sure, and I’m too afraid to go find out.)
But we don’t usually get all that worked up – in any positive way – about politics, nor even about public service. But you Americans, wow: your President-elect puts out a call to service for today, asks you to do something to give back to your communities, in memory of Martin Luther King, and you all actually get excited about it. So I am, I confess, a little bit jealous of your community spirit, and of your optimism. This week, you are celebrating yourselves as a nation that is capable of greatness, while we, your neighbours (yeah, we spell that with a ‘u’), are standing back, feeling just a little bit awestruck. And, as I said, maybe just a little bit jealous. We Canadians don’t wrap our politics in narratives of hope and greatness. We wrap our politics in narratives of prudence and restraint. Peace, order and good government is our motto. It’s a bit dull, I know. Nobody ever set off fireworks to celebrate peace, order and good government. It’d kinda be like high-fiving your accountant for arranging an acceptable payment plan for all those federal taxes you owe. I mean, I’m sure he’d appreciate it, but really, that’s his job, right? And if you’re getting excited about tax payment plans (or, to get back to my central point, ‘order and good governance’), you’re not getting out much. Which, you know, is okay: we’re a good country, a nice country, a sweet and sensible country that produces good music and great maple syrup and can usually be counted on to say all the right, generous things when its closest neighbour gets to play around at being awesome.
So, yeah. You’re probably going to be too busy to notice, but we’re over here thinking that you’re lucky to be celebrating such an epic moment in history. We’re thinking that it’s really pretty awesome that you get to identify with and pledge yourselves to an inauguration of hope. We’re happy for you, we really are. But we’re also – or at least I am – a teensy bit jealous.
You’ll forgive us that, right? Good. Because we’re also a little bit – maybe a lot – inspired. And we are – I am – grateful for that.
Happy Martin Luther King Day, and Happy Inauguration. Do something awesome for your community, and then celebrate. HARD.
(Am closing comments – I know, I’m sorry – just because I am so far beyond sleep-deprived that I can’t even be counted on to be able to decipher comments as English, let alone moderate them. Also, I don’t feel like talking about politics – see last statement re: sleep deprivation – and if this post attracts any political opinionation – that is so a word – I don’t want to hear about it. Not up for it, sorry. So, Baby gets the last word.)