About My Sarnia Trip

"Sarnia?!" You’re probably wondering. No, it’s not some new designer drug, nor is it a fancy way of describing falling flat on your face. It’s a town in Canada, right across the border from Port Huron, Michigan, USA. Population is 73k and change. Its claims to fame? My aunt, en-famille, has lived there since the 1960s. It was in Michael Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine, where we learn how much less gun violence occurs in Canada despite citizens there being extensively armed. It is a part of Canada that is heavy on chemical industry. My cousin’s wedding (to an odar) took me there this time. I got to meet some "new" relatives, besides those just entering the family by marriage. I enjoyed the colder weather, mostly in the thirties and forties. Despite spending only 27 hours there (out of a total 47 hour absence from the LA basin), I finally did some walking, after first visiting Sarnia in 1969. It’s a flat place. After all, it lies between two of the Great Lakes. Very traditional North American town: a small downtown area, then houses then, believe it or not, agriculture. Why am I boring you with this stuff? Because it creates context for what fascinated me–getting a sense of how the US election (more on it next week) is viewed from so-close-yet-so-far, especially just three days before the showdown. Also, an election is on in Canada on Monday November 13, about which I heard nothing, though I did see a lot more lawn signs than I do for in the LA area. All this in a country that recently put a Bush-wannabe in the Prime Minister’s office. The circle I was in qualifies for extremist Christian. Hell, two people asked if I would go to church Sunday morning! Interestingly enough, not all were rooting for the Republicans to win. It was decidedly split (hey, I spoke to two people about this). I will confirm the sense that Moore’s film also conveys–people are more relaxed in Canada than the US I was informed that I’d be voting for the wrong side. I was informed that the Democrats had "stepped out of" the Church, the root of many problems. I was informed that Canadian environmental laws were much laxer than those of the US (though they’re now being tightened up); this evidently makes for a vibrant trucking business that carries loads of nasty stuff across the border to be disposed under more convenient circumstances. I was informed that not all evangelicals support Shrub and his ilk. I was informed that a power elite controlled the world though the media (guess which nationality got to be the conspirators in this worldview). Conclusions? None. Just these snippets from people who were difficult to identify as typically conservative or liberal. But, it’s becoming increasingly evident to me that a tremendous disconnect exists between the package, or combinations, of positions espoused by traditional left and right wing parties and the combinations of beliefs found in individual human beings. The coming clash born of this reality will likely be resolved by the creation of three party systems instead of the duopolies currently running many countries. More on this some other time. What do you think?

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