Citizen X plays fanfare for the common man on the weird year 2020

Dec 15th, 2020 | By | Category: In Brief
“Homo Ludens” by Michael Seward, December 2020.

FROM THE DESKTOP OF CITIZEN X, BUCKHORN, ON., DECEMBER 15, 2020, 2AM ET : Over the past few years the counterweights editors have commemorated the end of another year on what remains a Western (if also African) Christian calendar (even when it’s called “Common Era”) by posting links to this political blogazine’s most popular articles over the past 12 months.

This year being so strange, however, the editors have asked me — a floating contributor from the diverse masses — to offer my own brief views on what we have been somehow living through in 2020.

President Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on November 21, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia. Photo : Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images.

TWO BIG EVENTS IN 2020 NORTH OF LAKES. Without doubt the two big events of this strange year north of the North American Great Lakes have been the plague of COVID-19, which began to settle into these parts in the middle of March, and what remains the still a little too strange US election on November 3.

I am a partisan of the old Frank Underhill argument that Canadians almost always vote Democratic in American elections. And it makes sense to start my own brief views on 2020 with the in many ways unusual November 3 US vote.

Very briefly, President Donald Trump was clearly defeated by Joe Biden (in both the popular vote and the electoral college). Yet as long predicted by Bill Maher and many others the stable media genius who loved to say “You’re fired” on TV continues to prove unable and/or strategically unwilling to (altogether?) accept his 2020 defeat!

He has been joined by all too many Republican colleagues. And anyone who cares about the 21st century future of democracy in America (and by extension in the rest of the world too) has yet another few more reasons to be worried, as we look out on what presumably can’t help but be a somewhat better journey in 2021.

What happened to Democracy in America in 2020?

The American Civil War, April 12, 1861–May 9, 1865.

At 4:05 PM ET in CNN’s unusual TV coverage of the December 14, 2020 electoral college voting process Trump and Biden were actually tied — at 229 votes each! (Texas had just come in, having proudly cast its 38 votes for the man who now occupies the White House.)

Three minutes later at 4:08 my resident expert on American politics TV called out that Biden was ahead again, 240–229. Soon enough California’s 55 electoral votes took the tried and true centrist democrat Joe Biden and his African-Asian American running mate Kamala Harris well over the 270-vote majority finish line.

As my resident expert tried to explain to me, the unusual TV coverage of the electoral college vote finally going to Joe Biden in real time may help convince a few of the apparently too many current doubters that he really has won the 2020 election. (If any such present-day US citizens are actually watching CNN!)

Meanwhile, like others, I remain concerned about the over-aggressive campaign still in motion by Donald Trump, and his Republican party supporters. Whatever else, they are working too hard to de-legitimize the incoming Biden administration, during what remains of the crazy lame-duck denouement of the defeated Trump presidency (between now and January 20, 2021, or at least January 6, when Congress itself will finally bless yesterday’s electoral college vote).

THE PLOT TO TAKE DEMOCRACY OUT OF AMERICA. Here, very quickly see, eg, Amy Davidson Sorkin’s December 12 New Yorker article on“The Supreme Court Rejects Texas’s Shameful Lawsuit, But There Has to Be a Reckoning.”

In the relentlessly partisan current political atmosphere I also personally admire Ms. B. Janine Morison’s tweet about the 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who, along with 18 state attorneys general, supported the shameful lawsuit : “Each one of these Members broke the 14th Amendment and committed sedition and treason against the United States of America … Each @HouseGOP … who signed the document are traitors to our country and must be removed from Congress.”

Of course I do not expect anything like this will actually happen. But it is worth talking about. I was pleased to see as well that : “In his first speech after officially winning the Electoral College, Joe Biden forcefully tried to put election conspiracy theories still being pushed by President Donald Trump and his allies to bed.”

It is becoming clearer and clearer, I think, that what the Trump Republicans are now trying to push is a kind of gentrified neo-monarchist theory of American constitutionalism that does not even pretend to be democratic, or rooted in the sovereignty of the American people and the “all men are created equal” Declaration of Independence in 1776. And this does need to be put to bed as definitively as possible over the next number of years ahead …

Meanwhile back at the ranch in Canada …

“Collective Memory: Eden” by Michael Seward, December 2020.

President Trump has been considerably more unpopular in Canada than in the United States. Canada is still further north of the northern USA that is less open to the Trump Republicans than most or at least much of the Old South.

(Except for the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming, due south of Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada! See the MSNBC map of “States Where Attorneys General Have Joined Trump Lawsuit” above.)

“HAPPY TO BE CANADIAN”. No less likely a political leader than Rod Phillips, “Progressive Conservative” (or at least “PC”) finance minister of Canada’s most populous province, declared in his November 5, 2020 Ontario Budget Speech : “Never in my life have I heard so many people say they are happy to be Canadian.”

I also have some admiration for a December 11, 2020 tweet from a gentleman called Claude Taylor — “Washington area propagandist” who “Worked in Clinton White House … Sue me.” Mr. Taylor was re-tweeting an announcement from “Goodable” and he prefaced his re-tweet with just one word: “Leadership.”

Canadian city at night, December 2020. Photo : Michael Seward.

The Goodable tweet itself reads : “Canada has announced it will provide the new Covid vaccine to every Canadian who wants it — free of charge … Canada has ordered more vaccines per capita than any other nation … It is planning to donate the excess supply to impoverished countries … ”

This broad outline was confirmed on TV yesterday by Anita Anand, the federal minister of public services and procurement. The Hon. Ms Anand was only concerned to stress that right now only a very small fraction of what Ottawa has ordered has been delivered. As a practical matter it will be a while before Canada has any actual excess vaccine supply to donate to anyone.

I think PM Justin Trudeau and his increasingly seasoned cabinet (Ms Anand is a case in point, and of course federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland) deserve more credit than they often get. I also think that (for all its obvious and important-to-remedy faults in the age we live in) we still have a better federal public service in Canada, coast to coast to coast, than we probably deserve or customarily acknowledge.

ANOTHER ELECTION SOON? Some feel the current Trudeau Liberal minority government will precipitate another federal election in 2021, possibly as early as spring or even late winter. The rule of thumb for minority governments in Canada says the average case lasts 18 months. The minority government Justin Trudeau hung onto in the fall of 2019 is now more than a year old. So it won’t be surprising if there is another election at some point in the new year.

My current personal view, however, is don’t bet the family farm … just yet. If the at least three-party opposition majority insists on keeping the Liberals in office, for its own diverse opposition good reasons … Even a minority government cannot defeat itself.

Fanfare for the Common Man : What one young American (and Canadian dual citizen) thinks about the election of Joe Biden — and the defeat of Donald Trump. From Auburn, CA, December 14, 2020.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS. The counterweights editors have asked me to conclude by wishing all who may be honouring us with their much-valued attention a very Happy Holidays 2020 — or as happy as such things can be in the midst of global pandemics.

I end absolutely on two related musical notes. The first is a You Tube link to an arrangement of the Irving Berlin classic Happy Holiday by Percy Faith (1908–1976), who was born and raised in Canada and then moved to the United States, where he became a “bandleader, orchestrator, composer and conductor, known for his lush arrangements of pop and Christmas standards.”

The other is a performance of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” — composed during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s third term as a Democratic President of the United States who was fiercely disliked by many Republicans. As Joe Biden will no doubt continue to be in no small measure over the next four years. On the other hand, the new President Biden will also be admired even by many conservatives in Canada … in the very far north!

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