How anti-American is she, really?

Saskatoon, Tuesday, November 23, 2004, by : Marjaleena Repo
Carolyn Parrish appears to be the sacrificial lamb of Canadian politics, a dissenter who has to be taught a lesson. As a public person she has stepped outside the permitted narrow range of opinions, and, therefore, off with her head.
She is labeled “anti-American,” as if that term has a clear-cut content, agreed upon by all. The more extreme critics from the Conservative Party charge that she has committed “hateful” acts, hoping, perhaps to trigger the hate law provisions of the criminal code. They, on the other hand, regard the U.S. as “my country, right or wrong.”

What exactly has Carolyn Parrish said? In all the criticisms of her, we hear of only three comments, spread over a period of time. She was once overheard to say, privately, that
“Americans are bastards.” The context is long forgotten, but it might just have something to do with U.S, foreign policy of illegally invading and destroying countries. She was then reported to have referred to the Coalition of the Willing now decimating Iraq, as the Coalition of Idiots, and lately, after the US election, she had the temerity to refer to George Bush as a “war-like man.” Imagine that!  Should she have called him, in the true Orwellian tradition,  “a man of peace?”

Most recently, her critics have been energized by her appearance on a CBC show, “22 minutes,” where she puts her boot on a Bush doll, a show no one had even seen before they condemned her!  (“22 minutes” is known for having politicians accept self-mocking  parts. As for no-holds-barred political satire, Jon Stewart’s
Daily Show, anyone?)

Can this be all there is to Parrish’ notorious
“anti-Americanism”?  You can read reams of copy-cat editorials and frothing-at-the-mouth columns, and come up with these same few words, which are also pouring out of the mouths of her most vociferous critics. Surely, by now, there should be available dozens of similar and worse quotes, but they are apparently nowhere to be found.

In actual fact Carolyn Parrish has said nothing extraordinary, and I would argue that her words are both mild and not against Americans as a people. She speaks against the U.S. government’s illegal aggressive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, she is an outspoken and well-informed critic of the expensive absurdity that is the Missile Defence Shield in addition she has heaven forbid, expressed sympathy for the Palestinians and has criticized Israeli state terrorist acts, a dangerous act of political incorrectness in the eyes of some.

These are the real reasons she has been demonized and silenced. She does not go along with the
“Washington consensus” subscribed to by our media, corporate and political elites.

But while they huff and puff with outrage at her three statements, which they refer to as
“a litany of anti-American attacks,” oddly enough Carolyn Parrish is completely in tune with what most Canadians think about the illegal war against Iraq and the Missile Defence Shield, as has been demonstrated in recent opinion polls, and most definitely in the overwhelming majority she received in the last election in her riding of Mississauga-Erindale, even after the huge political controversy about her comments.

These are the reasons why the rest of us so-called anti-Americans should stand up and be counted in her corner, despite the derogatory labels we, too, will receive for merely speaking out against the worst excesses of the Bush government in the U.S and the Canadian government’s subservience to our neighbour to the south.

Marjaleena Repo is a writer and researcher on social, political and justice issues, with a special interest in the media and in civil liberties. She lives in Saskatoon and can be reached at


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