The de-Canadianisation of Snowbirds
Sunday, July 31, 2016
by:Timothy W. Shire
Sunday, July 31, 2016
by:Timothy W. Shire
Last fall I noticed that when I sat down with friends who routinely spend their winters in Arizona, that their political view seemed remarkably un-Canadian. I thought it was just the affects of the federal election and shrugged it off. This summer, once again I was shocked to find that people who are clearly from Canada would now share strong opinions that would make them:
- proclaiming thoughts on curtailing religion freedom
- definite opposition to any and all forms of immigration
- hostility to Canada’s First Nations people
- misogynist comments about women in general
- strong advocacy for ownership of fire arms for personal protection.
To make it even more confusing they sprinkle through their conversations words and phrases that suggest somehow that “our country” is the United States of America. I have had a lot of time to think about this and though these people were born and raised here, worked their whole lives as Canadians, they now view themselves as Americans.
How could this possibly be? How could spending a few months each winter in Arizona, Texas, or Florida, change a person’s identity?
This takes a little understanding of what people are genuinely like. Every single person wants desperately to belong. They want to be accepted and to establish peer relationships. If these people spend several months in the most red necked states in the United States, it would be no surprise to see the racism and bigotry, that is intrinsically part of American culture, rubbing off on them.
Let me show you an extreme example. A fellow who grew up in the tiny community that I call home, Langbank, posted a simple “like” on Facebook the other day. Since it was just a matter of clicking on a button called “like” he probably gave little thought to it, but it seriously illustrates his attitudes and state of mind. We attended Sunday school together, his father was the Sunday school teacher and prominent leader in the community. He grew up to be a successful farmer and is now retired and a snowbird.
Here is what he liked. Now let’s just consider this issue. First and foremost Whoopi Goldberg is a vocal Afro-American so being happy to see her go makes sense if you are a racist. Then just think about it, if you were an American and chose to leave the United States because of some opinions you held, where would you go? To Canada of course, there is already a sales campaign in P.E.I. enticing Americans to move to Canada to avoid living in Trumpland. So doesn’t it seem just really absurd that a guy from Langbank Saskatchewan would like this posting.
My father will be 92 in a few weeks and each conversation I have with him leads to his extreme concern about the direction the American election is taking. I keep telling him not to worry about it, we are Canadian and can not vote but must deal with the consequence when they arise. I realise it is a pretty hollow argument I am making, because we all should be damn concerned about an idiot taking over control of the American government. But, and this is the main thing, though what happens in the United States affects us in Canada a great deal, we have no means of dealing with what happens down there. We can be shocked at their police brutality, racism, massive numbers of poverty stricken people, but we can do nothing about it. We can shrug and lament it all we like, but it means nothing.
With this regard I was amazed at the sort of stupidity that the Republican Party candidate for president demonstrates. In an interview on Fox on July 29 conducted by Brian Kilmeade he said: “I personally think it was the biggest mistake in American history, giving Canada back. Look at that place now, it’s falling to pieces. It’s overrun by godless, gunless hippies and it’s such a shame to see.”
When the interviewer pointed out that Canada was founded by Britain and France to which he responded: “No, are you kidding me?” Trump interrupted. “You think that either of those guys know the first thing about war? No Canada has belonged to America since Jesus’ time, and that’s a fact.”
When asked : “Well what are you going to do if elected?” Kilmeade asked. “Forcefully take Canada and claim it as part of America?”
“I think that’s gotta be an option,” Trump responded. “You know, they’ve got a lot of oil up there, a lot.”
So it would seem that the blowhard guy doesn’t know and understand history, but he would be willing to militarily act upon his ignorance.
Yet, given the comments and pronouncements made by the Republican candidate, check out what I have said here for yourself. Talk to a Snowbird and discover attitudes that don’t match those of the average Canadian.