Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The American Dream Has Moved to Canada


Despite Donald Trump's vague speech last night that boasted about how he would "make America great again," the agenda that his party is pursuing will be a continuation of what has decimated the American middle class while shifting riches and benefits to the wealthiest citizens.  For the working class, the prospects are bleak especially since no details exist as to how manufacturing jobs will magically return.  And, if one is a member of a minority population, there are growing and well based fears of coming discriminatory policies that will favor Trump's white, heterosexual, right wing Christian base.  His base will not reap economic benefits, but their egos will be satiated by their ability to look down upon and brutalize those they deem "other."  The goal is to play up the base's sense of white privilege to delay their realization that they were conned.  Meanwhile, to the north of America, what used to be the so-called American Dream is thriving, in no small part because Canada has embraced policies that are anathema to today's GOP and Der Trumpenf├╝hrer.  This article looks at this reality:
From the very moment of its creation, Americans have always imagined their country to be a beacon of opportunity for the world. Thomas Jefferson lit that torch when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
But where once America stood alone as the land of opportunity, there are now dozens of other countries that have surpassed the United States; chief among these is its unassuming northern neighbour, Canada. Where do you go now for “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? Canadians live 2.5 years longer than Americans. They are six times less likely to be incarcerated. And the World Economic Forum ranks Canadians as the 6th happiest people in the world, while Americans lag behind at 13th.
Every aspect of the American dream is now more easily found in Canada. In the United States, 46 per cent of the population has been able to obtain a college degree—in Canada it’s 59 per cent. After graduation, Canadians are more likely to find work, with an employment rate four points better. You are more likely to afford a house with a white picket fence in Canada, where home ownership rates are five per cent higher. Canadians also have more time to enjoy their homes, as they work over 80 hours fewer per year—and they take an extra three days vacation.
Compared to Canada, America isn’t even the “land of the free”, anymore. The Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index considers Canadians to be the sixth freest people in the world, while Americans limp in at 23rd, behind Poland. The conservative Heritage Foundation, based in Washington, ranks Canada and the U.S. seventh and 17th respectively for economic freedom. Free speech? Reporters Without Borders scores Canada 18th for press freedom; in spite of its much vaunted First Amendment, America only manages 41st.
The American Dream promised equality, a level playing field where everyone could pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but that too is more a Canadian thing. 
By virtually every measure, Canada has surpassed the United States as the shining city on the hill, where everyone is safe to reach their potential. And people around the world have begun to notice. From the United States, refugees and asylum seekers are now fleeing into Canada hoping for a fair immigration hearing and a better future. 
It is often noted that in the early 20th century, Canadian prime minister Sir Wilfred Laurier declared, “Canada shall be the star towards which all men who love progress and freedom shall come.” Let’s make that line as famous and meaningful as this once was: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Admitting the truths set out in this article is heresy to Trump voters, especially militant Christian extremists who have worked to weave their toxic religiosity into American policies that are the opposite of the Gospel message and which have abetted America's decline.   Depending how bad the coming anti-LGBT jihad becomes, places like British Columbia look like a possible welcoming refuge. 

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