Credit where it's due, if Number 45 has achieved anything it is the appropriation and obliteration of any orthodoxy you'd care to name. And if you think your own favorite orthodoxy remains intact, it's probably best you think again.
"So, WP, why not lead by example then?" Indeed, what could be more revolutionary in this day and age than an earnest examination of one's own most blatant hypocrisies? Here we go:
Trade -- knee-jerk political stance: protectionist.
Back in '88 I voted against Brian Mulroney's Free Trade agreement with the United States. I even campaigned against it, ringing a few doorbells on behalf of my local NDP candidate, until despair and bitter resignation got the better of me. (My candidate lost, big-time. In fact, all my candidates have lost big time. If you're any sort of idealist at all you should come to expect it.)
Thirty years later, NAFTA looks set to be massively retooled back to something I might recognize from my youth, but reflexively recoil against in late adulthood. I've learned to live with and even enjoy the benefits brought to us -- heck, to me -- by the wide-ranging trade agreements Mulroney kicked into gear.
Am I a hypocrite? Sure. But there's one attitude in which I remain predictable -- faced with the prospect of enormous change, I tend to advocate moving forward with extreme caution. Speaking of which . . .
China -- when Stephen Harper initially approached trade with China as a human rights first proposition, I cheered -- probably the first and only time during his tenure as Prime Minister. Harper's stance changed, however, ensuring my criticism for the length of his political career.
Nothing 45 has said suggests he gives the slightest consideration to anyone's human rights, but his belligerence toward China is something I probably would have approved of in my former Prime Minister. I desperately wish 45 would tone it down, though.
Oh, the hypocrisy! But am I really to blame if I naturally worry (understatement) about a 70-year-old whose reflexive posture towards everyone is belligerence?
Russia -- born and raised a God-fearing pacifist (ask me about it sometime!) I was horrified by the Reagan administration's tack with the USSR. Always the stick, never the carrot -- was this any way to approach one's adversary, when the very existence of the species hung in the balance?
Now it's, "Nice guy. (Shrugs.) I like him." And I'm all like, "Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah..." Hypocrisie, tu t'appelles 'Whisky!'
NATO, the EU -- NATO is a hold-over from the "Us Against Them" politics of yore (see above). The EU is the first attempt at "We're all in this together" politics of the '90s. Both have become fiscally problematic, to say the least. Currently only five NATO nations meet the investment commitments required for membership. As for the EU, where do you even start?
I'm a peace-love-and-understanding Lefty, so it's natural I support the EU and, by extension, NATO. And I suppose I kind of do, but . . . maybe I'm also a little bit of a hypocrite?
So what now?
I hardly know. It'd be nice to think our neighbor's current admin is working swiftly to secure national interests in a new, protectionist manner that more assuredly navigates the new "You're on your own" global reality. But concern for one's fellow citizens seems anathema to 45. Indeed, he exhibits all the traits of someone trapped in the advanced stages of an all-consuming addiction -- an acute state of self-preservation with eyes fixed solely on attaining the next fix. And now he's kicking out at the jury-rigged platforms that assure everyone else's stability. It's almost too dark a thought to entertain, but I have to wonder if there isn't someone waiting in the wings to stage an intervention.
Right, then. "Acknowledgement of powerlessness" . . . "Fearless self-inventory" . . . any other suggestions?