Political factions are hungry for power throughout the world and they are grabbing it however they can.
In one of the more obvious ways, the world’s political leadership is slicing civic culture into its ethnic, linguistic, economic and religious pieces.
In uncharted, ill-conceived and seldom-mentioned fashion, these leaders earnestly believe that when the dust of separatism settles — if it does — one faction will rule supreme, calm will prevail.
How hopeless a policy could one imagine?
Iraqis have been forced apart by an ill-conceived military junta orchestrated by the United States, puppeteered by Great Britain and unofficially nudged on by Canada’s ruling party.
Iraq has now entered into the most ignoble, oxymoronic and predictable of all separatist struggles: civil war.
Afghanistan is being pulled apart at the seams by a pro-military fiasco no one any longer even assumes to be peacekeeping by any stretch of the imagination.
That most ignoble of conflicts has always been — and still is — warlord city.
There, cultural separatism is kept on the frontburner and turned to high by a NATO presence willing to shoot at all sides — fairly it insists.
Latin America is split right down the middle.
Small sustainable economies supported by an ordinary workforce of the poor and impotent on the right and a headstrong, corporatized and globalized, wealthy rank and file on the left.
And against all odds, the right takes round one in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia.
As the Pope and Moqtada al-Sadr wrestle Christ and Mohammad to the ground in the Middle East, Protestants and Catholics are looking for some spiritualized epiphany in Ireland.
Now it’s Canada’s turn to lift and separate.
In a political move with no other purpose than to consolidate political power, Stephen Harper moved to separate us along cultural lines in a way that could only be rivaled by wearing a Wonder Bra.
Harper, adjusting his glasses, wiggling his shoulders, bellowed, “My fellow Canadians” — when I hear this, I know shit is about to hit the fan — “Do Quebecers form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes.”
As the Commons rose to its feet, frenzied, full of cheer, full of themselves, Harper rambled on, “Do Quebecers form an independent nation? The answer is no — and it will always be no.”
The answer is Yes, the answer is no; nation, no nation; hairpiece, no hairpiece.
Somehow the idiots with the reins are convinced that disparate cultures in Canada can’t be carried along in the same ‘national’ cart.
What Harper and the rest are feeding us has nothing to do with what culture is and what it does; this is about political sway and jurisdictional savvy.
This is about power.
Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Stéphane Dion all marched into the ring, cast off their gladiatorial silk robes and got down and dirty — down and dirty with the one thing Canada has always needed to keep itself upright in the world’s arena: cultural transformation via multiculturalism.
No matter how well-meaning — and this is giving credit where none is due — creating nations within nations is separatist, end of story.
It is counterproductive to a pluralistic Canada. It may lead to unintended, perhaps violent, consequences.
Harper and his near-sighted compatriots are refusing to look at Canada with a long-term vision.
Rather they are simply glazed over by fleeting opportunism. Waging a battle Canada need not fight, ever.
There is hope however, and common sense, waiting in the wings. Ready to enter the ring is Gerard Kennedy.
And what a likely proponent of multiculturalism he is.
Culture is about art: the many languages it is spoken in, the sense of life it gives us, the freedom of understanding it demands of us, the gift of joy it lays on us, and most importantly, the utter power it has to combine, and still not confine, all of us to one place.
Gerard Kennedy is an artist — a painter — and quite a good one at that.
Why does it not surprise me that it takes someone with the eye of an artist to see through the many lies and distortions behind this most recent and innocuous rise to ‘nationhood.’
In my mind Kennedy is now someone we cannot ignore.
On this one issue alone, he has spoken truth to power.
Kennedy is willing to ratchet up the old Canadian imagination a bit — put a fire in the belly, you might say.
He has brought it to our attention that nationhood as Harper is defining it (or failing to define it) should be an insult to all French-speaking Canadians.
To be told by those at the apex of political power that your language, your cultural mood, your manner of things is so different and toxic it will not commingle well with the rest of Canada is revolting.
Quebec as a nation within Canada is both pompous and preposterous. It is a political palliative that heals no wounds and just rubs me wrong.
For Harper and the other power junkies to peddle separatism anytime is tantamount to disaster, but at this particular time, in this particular world, it demonstrates a political naiveté of astonishing proportion.
A culture is never finished unless it lives in isolation. Take it from an artist.