From Athens to Ottawa.

Author:Resnick, Philip

Sesquicentenary You would have been more acerbic in your salad years, convinced as you were back then that our somnolent dominion of the north had missed a historical beat or two, spurning revolutions, holding on for dear life to the apron-strings of two empires in rapid succession, our leaders always reaching for the middle, no clear goals to lift the spirits or excite the imagination. Now that you're a senior and Canada's even more so, your former disdain has given way to a spirit of reconciliation. It isn't easy managing a country with awkward platelets that see themselves as distinct nations, with far-flung regions and a macedoine of peoples which elsewhere might incite internecine hatreds. We have fended off the worst traits of the giant to the south, while coexisting reasonably amicably beside it. Our social compass resembles that of Europe, and our vision of the world order combines a Boy Scout's earnestness for alliances with peacekeeping missions and UN-sanctioned conventions. We have had our share of failings --the excessive influence of corporations, foreign and domestic, politicians on the take, policies which haven't really helped to integrate First Nations, closed doors to refugees fleeing Europe in the '30s, wartime deportation of innocent Japanese-Canadian civilians - but in the larger scheme of things we haven't screwed up too badly, neither plumbing the depths of failed or fragile states nor suffering under despotic rulers, though we've sometimes come quite close, with autocratic Premiers and nepotistic tribal chiefs. Still, you don't feel out of place lifting a glass to Canada's sesquicentenary, much as you might wish there was a bit more drama to a country which has learned to live in peace. On a passage in Kant The starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. --Kant The stars with their pointillistic luminescence dot the night sky over Damoukhari underlying our glaring insignificance in the cosmic scheme. But what about the moral law within which Kant...

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