There is no happier day for a political activist, a paid lobbyist or a concerned citizen than the day a government which shares their views is elected to office.
Whether you are an environmentalist fighting for protections, a business owner hoping for lower taxes, or a beleaguered driver who despises photo radar, the day “your” team takes over government is a day to celebrate and then double-down on your efforts to achieve regulatory change.
I worked for Canada’s conservative Minister of Health when we decided to ban Bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby products. This move was greeted with ecstatic support by the left wing group Environmental Defense, headed up by former NDP staffer Rick Smith. We worked together for a rare period of time when the desires of both sides of the political spectrum coincided completely.
It was one of the best initiatives on which I ever worked. The day before the event, I mentioned it would be great to have some moms with babies at the announcement.
“Oh, I know lots of moms,” Rick offered. “I can make some calls.”
The next day, a parade of moms came pouring into the media briefing, commandeering the entire front row in order to park their strollers. It was fantastic!
It was a surreal experience to have Rick at our press conference, not criticising our government but instead speaking in full support of the ban. He held his own scrum, competently taking media questions on the political and scientific implications in French and English.
Which leads me to draw a comparison between our BPA ban and the Charlottesville street riots protesting Confederate statues and monuments. In the event that any of my friends actually believe these outrageous violent clashes had anything whatsoever to do with Confederate monuments, I suggest you ask yourself: where were all of these people and their organizations during the eight years Barack Obama was president?
Had these groups truly been motivated to seek change, they would have had Obama’s office on speed-dial the day after his election in 2008. They would have held productive meetings, developed practical plans, and moved forward with the work required to get the Confederate monuments removed.
Obama would have held an announcement event, flanked by supportive members of a wide variety of groups. He would have pointed proudly to the initiative in speeches and press conferences. What could have been better than to have America’s first black president address historic grievances which were causing untold pain for millions of Americans?
Why did none of this occur?
Because the trumped-up Charlottesville conflicts were designed to achieve one goal: discredit President Donald Trump. You have to admit, it looks pretty bad on him; only six months into his presidency, and already race riots are breaking out across the nation.
The good news is, race riots are not breaking out across America. A friend just returned from a vacation in South Carolina and knew nothing of the supposed “race riots” until he read about it in Canada.
“There was no tension anywhere…there were white families enjoying the beach and black families enjoying the beach and Indian families enjoying the beach and mixed families enjoying everything, and everyone existed in harmony,” he wrote. No one was trying to tear down anything, he noted, mystified by the media hysteria.
Most of my family lives in Detroit and they report only booming business, Tiger games and weekend landscaping projects.
Ignore the trumped-up news. The Americans are alright.