As writers like Umair Haque of Medium portend America could be on its last legs—although let’s hope to God not. I lived there briefly with my ex outside of New York City in the days of George W. Bush some years after 9/11 and already felt bad omens coming out of the walls.
I am happy to be Canadian and what I consider to be a fellow Québecois despite my own particularisms of dual minority status–with an English mother tongue in a French speaking province and being born Jewish–so disparities with the US were ever more so jarring.
As often repeated in this text I don’t identify with extremism, perhaps because somewhat of this background, but I did find, as a French Canadian colleague of mine said, America to be an extremist society. From the hyper-commercialism which had my ex and me shopping constantly in a gluttonous fashion, to the fact that her medical coverage would be gone if she lost her job, to little things like there being no sidewalks in our suburb so that gas guzzling vehicles were the only option in contradistinction to even my freezing Canadian city being so bike and pedestrian friendly, to having to start thinking about our kid’s higher education even before they were conceived, all these sinister dynamics would only compound over the more than a decade since that time culminating in the ruthlessness we see now embodied in Donald Trump and being acted out in the George Floyd protests which are surely not just about the tragic murder of a powerless black man by four Minneapolis cops, but about the hugely disproportionate death in the African-American community due to the pandemic, not to mention four hundred years of slavery and extreme discrimination.
And my ex and daughter were not immune to this being Hispanic and half-Hispanic (not to mention half-Jewish) respectively.