Canadians still “deeply disturbed and saddened” by “attack on democracy” in USA .. but still like Willie Nelson too

Jan 5th, 2022 | By | Category: In Brief
Untitled mixed media by Michael Seward, December 2021.

NEW YEAR SPECIAL FROM L. FRANK BUNTING, PANCAKE BAY, ON. 2 AM ET, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2022. It has lately been seriously enough cold up here on the eastern shore of Lake Superior (though nothing like Edmonton, Alberta at – 26° C).

Most recently in the local metropolis of Sault Ste Marie the weather has not been too bad : –2° C (28°F) yesterday afternoon going down to a predicted low of –15 C° (5° F) on Thursday.

Thursday will also be the first anniversary of Democracy in America’s fateful “January 6″ last year. And to start with I can’t help looking quickly back to the immediate counterweights editors’ reaction on the early morning of January 7, 2021 : “Good morning America how are you?

A year later in early January 2022 the logical big political spotlight in North America remains the ongoing work of the US “House select committee probing the January 6 insurrection” (aka just “January 6 committee”).

“Frost flowers” on Lake Superior just south of Pancake Bay, early January 2019.

The committee’s recent work is reported under such headlines as : “January 6 committee gets inside Trump’s West Wing wall of obstruction” ; “January 6 committee news — latest: Secret Trump letter demanded seizure of election ‘evidence’ to halt count” ; “Jan. 6 panel has ‘firsthand testimony’ that Ivanka asked Trump to intervene during riot, Cheney says: CNBC” ; and “Was Jan. 6 the beginning of the end for America? … A new book imagines what the next American civil war will look like, beginning with the 2021 Capitol riots.”

I remain skeptical about some ultimate earth-shaking success of all such quasi-judicial struggles to prosecute the all-too-transparent sins of Donald Trump, who, as best I can make out, is still telling the Big Lie that he actually won the 2020 US presidential election.

At the same time, I think the January 6 committee is at least assembling evidence that will prove useful and even important for future (and current) historians of the sometimes strange folkways of government and politics in the USA today (and yesterday, and no doubt tomorrow as well).

“No Title” by Michael Seward, December 2021.

Whatever else, Canada’s prime minister summarized the profoundly troubling side of January 6, 2021 at the Capitol in Washington, DC : “Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld — and it will be.”

Meanwhile, with the first anniversary almost upon us, a tweet from Rachel Maddow points to a January 3, 2022 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It reports that : “A Cobb County GOP committee is holding a Jan. 6 program and candlelight vigil for the ‘J6 patriots’ in the violent mob that overran the Capitol … The deadly events of Jan. 6 will mostly be marked around the country by solemn ceremonies to remember the day … But at the Cobb County [Georgia] GOP headquarters, a group of far-right activists will hold a two-hour long program Thursday to lionize the insurrectionists who stampeded into the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory.”

Summer sunset on Pancake Bay.

From a more positive and resolutely upbeat angle I am also impressed by Joan Walsh’s column yesterday in The Nation : “The Best Way to Commemorate January 6 Is to Pass a Voting Rights Law … On January 5, 2021, Georgia’s Democratic majority took the Senate. The very next day, America’s violent white minority struck back. A voting rights push this week will make clear how those days are connected.”

We have nothing quite like any of this anywhere in Canada, at least from an earnestly Canadian point of view. On the other hand, I also can’t help noting a recent tweet from the counterweights editors themselves : “On current polling numbers Doug Ford’s “Ontario PCs” could win a bare majority government on June 2, 2022 — with 36% of the province-wide popular vote! What does this say about democracy in Canada;’s most populous province today?”

And then there are the many other smaller things that help keep us sane in our time. Four personal examples of which I submit in (almost) conclusion :

(1) Gordon V. Thompson Ltd., 32 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto 7, Ontario. Seeing a shot up Yonge Street in Toronto, north of Bloor, on CBC TV suddenly reminded me of my life in that city during the 1960s, when there was a large store selling sheet music, arrangements, and scores on Alcorn Avenue, just west of Yonge. Through the modern marvels of the Internet I finally tracked my memory down to Gordon V. Thompson Ltd. at 32 Alcorn Avenue. The address is now a trendy row-house condo. But the online Canadian Encyclopedia now has helpful articles about both “Gordon V. Thompson Music” and “Gordon V. Thompson” (1888–1965) as well.

(2) “49 Sexy Betty White Pictures That Will Make Your Heart Pound For Her.” Ms. White’s recent sad passing just a few weeks before her 100th birthday draws her remarkable public career to the public’s attention yet again. And this is a compelling collection of photos.

(3) “How to Make Every Type of Coffee” caught my attention as someone who knows nothing about the current coffee mania among people much younger (or maybe just more hip) than I am. I have no idea how true or accurate the chart from is. But as someone who has sometimes wondered about the subject it strikes me as intriguing.

Staff at Pancake Bay Provincial Park, October 19, 2020.

(4) “The Surreal Beauty of BC Government Photographs. The province has its own Flickr pool documenting official doings. It’s propaganda that sometimes verges on high art.” Another intriguing recent collection of photos assembled and commented on by David Beers, founding editor of the excellent BC-based online news magazine known as The And here’s at least wishing for a happy 2022 for everyone, from coast to coast to coast — and beyond.

On a very final note, I take this opportunity to reprise the great Willie Nelson version of The City of New Orleans, with which the original counterweights editors response to January 6, 2021 ended. As was said back then, a year ago : “Somehow the haunting refrain seems to work as a conclusion … here: ‘Good morning America how are you? / Say, don’t you know me? I’m your native son / I’m the train they call the City of New Orleans / I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.'”

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