One gust of wind. That’s all it will take.
“I want my social contract made in the USA,” he told a press conference this morning. “This Rousseau guy, he’s an idiot. A complete failure. You know he hasn’t even been to America. Not once. And I’ve been to France. Believe me, I’ve been to France.”
Although the social contract, which deals with specific fundamental agreements of conduct between the government and the people they govern, has been in force for centuries, Trump cited it as one of the reasons America has lost its way.
“It’s been a disaster for America. An absolute disaster.”
A negotiated social contract, Trump said, would be far more favourable for Americans.
“Everyone needs a job, right? And there are people out there without jobs. It breaks my heart. I mean it kills me. And someone said to me, Donald, what are you going to do about it? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. This new social contract is gonna be huge. It’s gonna be the best social contract the world has ever seen and it’s going to get us all jobs, because the social contract will allow us to make it illegal to be unemployed.”
When several reporters pointed out that the social contract necessarily included basic human rights, Trump assured everyone that the new social contract would contain “the best rights, huge rights.”
Members of the Trump’s staff also cautioned that some of the existing rights would be upgraded to new rights.
“Alternative rights,” said Sean Spicer, Trump’s Press Secretary.
Anything worth understanding is complicated. Easily obvious things are often not worth the time. Yet we vote for the people who make us think they can make us understand the nuances of a political argument in a five second soundbite.
Here’s what the Tragically Hip means to me, found in a memory, over 20 years old, high on a clearcut overlooking Mereworth Sound in the B.C. Rainforest.
The day was hot. I was tired, sore, strafed by a legion of mosquitoes, and I couldn’t quit because I was broke. All I had to push me forward through that day was a single cassette tape, Trouble At The Henhouse. I played it over and over again on my Walkman as I planted tree after tree across a jagged, ragged clearcut.
As I crested a rise, threw my tired body over deadfall, I came across a doe, grazing quietly. It looked up, dismissed me, and went back to it’s meal.
Only meters from the deer, my planting partner, Rob, sat on a stump, his legs crossed like he was deep in meditation. He was long past his life’s Best Before date: broke and broken, his hair ragged and tossed like a salad, hungover and angry at life, but that’s not who he was at that moment. All the tension in his shoulders gone, his face calm, serene. Only his eyes moved, from the deer, to me, back to the deer, which ambled slowly toward him until it looked up, stopped, sniffed his arm, and walked by.
If Rob wanted to, he could have run his hand over the deer’s back. But he didn’t. He lived in that moment, lived it perfectly, and let the deer walk in then out of his life.
I watched it all, not moving, The Tragically Hip blaring in my ears, the soundtrack of my life at that time and Gord Downie said that the world was a gift shop.
The song ended just as the deer moved out of sight, and Rob hopped down from the stump.
“I will never have a moment as perfect as that,” he said, and I didn’t answer because I didn’t have to.
Music matters; that’s a given, and it used to matter so much to me that it could keep me alive. But I fear that music no longer matters as much as it once did. Not to any of us.
With Spotify, Apple Music and iPhones, every song we want is available any time we want. We have fundamentally changed the way we listen to music, which means we have fundamentally changed its meaning.
Playlists are now specious, temporary things. We’ll never again be left with the agony of a 20 song mix, the only thing to listen to for eight hours driving from Quesnel to Vancouver. Or the tedium of cassettes listened to a dozen times each, the only thing that keeps you going over the autumn months at the northern tip of Vancouver Island.
We will never again be forced to listen to Fiddler’s Green over a hundred times in one season, with the last part of our mind dissecting the lyrics one more time before we fall asleep .
For myself, I have a list of people that I want to meet, and Gord Downie is on it. I don’t have anything of meaning to say to him. I just want to shake his hand. I just want to look him in the eye and say thank you.
Thank you for being the next song.
Imagine a world where it doesn’t matter where you are or what time it is; where you can put out your hand and a cup of steaming coffee will be placed in it.
Just imagine such a world where you can be sitting on a bench in Central Park, New York City, or standing on the edge of a river thick with Salmon on the Olympic Peninsual. It doesn’t matter; if you need a no foam extra hot latte, you can have it.
Two words: Starbucks Drones
What a time to be alive.
Yesterday, a Boy Scout outside the grocery store asked me if I wanted to buy chocolate covered almonds.
“I’m allergic to almonds, sorry,” I told him, and walked on, feeling guilty.
Hold on, I asked myself. Am I so Canadian that I’m apologizing for being allergic to almonds?
But then I remembered that I wasn’t allergic to almonds at all, and I just didn’t want to buy his candy. So I was really apologizing for lying to him, and saying you’re sorry about something like that is a mark of character. On the whole, I think I came out of that ordeal a better person.
Too often, I create heroes who end up representing the good person I want to be. Having done that, I become reluctant to give him a terrible flaw in his character.
I won’t add the very thing necessary for a compelling character because I’m too invested in having painted a picture of who I want to be.
The best characters are those you admire, but not necessarily those you want to become.