Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ADAPTing to the election results: True Patriot Love

While I was sullenly contemplating the election results, I went out to lunch with a friend, a much older friend, who has been involved in disability activism since she was my age, so, for nearly 40 years, if my math is correct. She was keeping close watch on her phone, and showing me pictures and tweets from Washington, DC, of her friends and allies getting arrested while in Paul Ryan's office, fighting cuts to Medicare. My friend was recalling all the times she had been in DC herself getting arrested to fight for the rights of the disabled.
I was in awe. I felt like humbled, because hours earlier, I had been contemplating fleeing Canada in order to find greener pastures in Sweden or Norway for the disabled, queer progressive and her disabled, queer, trans girlfriend. But these people, my elders, including my friend, who has been a mother figure to me while I have lived in Montana, was showing me the proof of what can be done if you stay and fight.
I will never judge anyone who decides to seek out a better life for themselves in another country. But I have decided, after fearfully leafing through a Swedish dictionary, that I can and will stay to fight for Canada up to 2015 and beyond. I'm tired of running, for one. And secondly, I began thinking of how people like Harper and conservatives had stolen and modified the word "patriot" and created this artificial dichotomy between "true" Canadians and everyone else.
I'm a patriot too. I'm a Canadian too. And this is my country as much as it is for a conservative anglo Christian who was born in Canada. And I can no longer passively allow such language, such ideas, such exceptionalism run rampant at the expense of the happiness, safety, and liberty of my fellow Canadians, my beautiful girlfriend, and myself.
My elders in the disability community, thank you for giving me a valuable lesson in courage.

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