Monday, March 14, 2016

Justin Trudeau, Obama, and the Progressive Torch

In one of my last posts I wrote about Justin Trudeau's magical visit to Washington, and how happy I was to see him connect so well with Obama.

The first black President of the United States, and a man I greatly admire.

Especially at such a troubling time in that country's history...

David Parkins/Globe and Mail

With so many dark forces swirling around.

And a monster knocking at the door, or the window...

Patrick Corrigan/Toronto Star

But maybe because I'm a Canadian, and we have a tendency to want to shrink our leaders, even though we live in a massive country. I think I might have missed the bigger picture.

And that as the CBC's Aaron Wherry writes, Obama wasn't just enjoying spending some time with a young leader whose values he shares.

He was also passing on the progressive torch. 

"He campaigned on a message of hope and of change. His positive and optimistic vision is inspiring young people. At home, he's governing with a commitment to inclusivity and equality. On the world stage, his country is leading on climate change and cares deeply about development," Barack Obama said Thursday, standing in the White House's Rose Garden with the prime minister to his left.

For Obama knows all too well that the struggle to defeat the sinister right-wing forces that stalk his country and ours will be a long and brutal one.

And like the Centre for American Progress, no doubt sees Trudeau as a welcome boost to the global progressive movement.

"[Progressives] certainly feel that his arrival on the political scene has been a huge shot in the arm to the global progressive movement and they see him as a linchpin, if not the future leader, of that movement."

And isn't that something? 

We now have a Prime Minister who is seen as a progressive beacon, and is making us look like an enlightened country again.

In a world where our humble but precious Canadian values are being celebrated again.

After the long night of this monster, and his criminal regime...

Who shamed us for so long in the eyes of others, 

And yes, it is all about values. 

And even small gestures like this one count.

A month after receiving a shocking homophobic message in a valentine at his former workplace, Degas Sikorski is feeling the love all the way from Parliament Hill.

"Dear Degas, know that your friends outnumber the haters by the millions and I'm one of those friends," Trudeau wrote.

Because I despise bigots and bullies, who hurt others to pleasure themselves...

Justin Trudeau's small gesture sends a big message to the whole LGBT community, and all those who are being bullied.

And that too could never have happened during the miserable reign of the bully bigot Stephen Harper...

Who voted against every gay rights bill that ever crossed his desk, and discriminated in his stealthy creepy manner against that community from the day he came to power to the day he was defeated.

So yes, maybe it is time to dare to think as big as the country itself.

Time to imagine that we could be a force for good again in this tormented world.

Time to celebrate our new prime minister, and his values that are our own.

And give thanks that we are finally free, and able to dream again...

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  1. Simon,
    We must give Harper his due. He was a well-rounded bigot, gays, women, minorities---possibly the rest of the world?

    1. hi jrkrideau...yes, Harper was a weird bird alright. After all those years of following him so closely I'm still not sure what made him tick. But you can be sure that it's not pretty, and is almost certainly perverted. The secrets of the House of Harper coming soon to a cinema near you...

  2. Anonymous11:16 AM

    On the world stage, his country is leading on climate change and cares deeply about development.
    Funny that, coming from a president whose country is leading in regime change and decline.

  3. Anonymous11:58 AM

    What I found perplexing about Harper and his cabinet were the contradictions. Particularly, the apparent number of single males around him who were apparently gay, yet a homophobic base and distain for the Charter that protects people's rights regardless of such differences.

    The true nature of this contradiction is shown south of the border in the GOP over the years where many homophobic hateful legislators were in fact found to be gay. I don't understand this, and cannot imagine how someone could live a life that is completely contrary to who they really are. I guess that is where the anger comes from.

    Certainly shows how important it is to accept our selves with love and compassion for what we are, and to treat others in the way we would want to be treated. We have a government that reflects these values. Yay for us, hope we can do whatever is necessary to help our neighbours get the vote out!


    1. hi TS... yes that was a strange thing about the Harper gang, all his closest associates were either gay or bachelors. Paul Wells, one of his best known fluffers, believes it's because Harper wanted people to be available at all times, and not be distracted by families or children. But I think it's more than that. I think Harper has a very strong misogynistic streak, and does not enjoy the company of women. But hey, I'm no shrink, and harper is such a basket case, it would take years to identify and label all the voices in his head...

  4. Anonymous2:03 PM

    Good insight on the Obama Trudeau relationship Simon. Rather than a passing of the torch I saw it as Obama subtly supporting and mentoring Trudeau on how to deal with some of the political quagmire he will encounter as he tries to champion progressive change. Harper didn't require much mentoring,destruction came naturally and once you get negativity established it seems to be a self supporting loop where as progressives have a continuous uphill battle.

    1. hi RT ...thanks. Remember that Obama doesn't have a son, so that no doubt contributed to the good feelings. But I do think he sees the world in terms of a long struggle between left and right, and I'm not surprised that he sees something special in Justin. For mark my words he does have it what it takes....

  5. Anonymous4:11 PM

    The passing of the torch is a perfect description Simon. Obama sees in Trudeau the genuine desire and ability to pull us out of Harper's 9 years of cynicism, hate, fear and division. What Trudeau does and pledges to do will resonate around the world and will inspire others to realize that hope does indeed conquer fear.

    1. hi know I see some people wringing their hands about Trudeau's celebrity status, without realizing how much more power that gives him. People are looking for hope in these troubling times, and he knows how to inspire them. It also helps that Trudeau has a great cabinet, which allows him the freedom to stake out the high ground, from which I suspect his enemies will find it very hard to dislodge him....

  6. I like Obama as well. He was given a lousy hand. However I have to point out, TPP, Ukranine and proxy wars in the middle east all happened on his watch.

  7. e.a.f.10:53 PM

    It is things like sending the Valentine message which makes Trudeau so likeable and gives some of us hope. We may not be able to fix the economy, but at least we can be nice to each other. That goes a long way to fixing a whole lot of problems/