I had hoped that Canada was immune to the right-wing lunacy seen in so many places.

I had hoped that Canada was proof against the right-wing lunacy seen in so many locations.

(Ted Shaffrey | AP) Drivers have parked their vans blocking lanes of visitors to protest in opposition to pandemic restrictions in Ottawa, Ontario, on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.

Oh, Canada.

Actually? Et tu?

It’s been a couple of years since my final go to: My spouse and I spent a weekend in Vancouver, drawn by an article declaring it probably the most livable cities on Earth. The person on the rental automobile place gave us a map and confirmed us learn how to attain the sights. He took pains to level out what he stated was a tough neighborhood we must always keep away from. Naturally, that’s the primary place we went.

Canada, I grew up in South Los Angeles. I’ve frolicked in Miami’s Liberty Metropolis, Chicago’s South Aspect and Washington’s Anacostia, so I really feel I do know a factor or two about tough neighborhoods. This one struck me as possibly somewhat down on the heels, however that was about it. I regarded for the gang graffiti, listened for the sirens, waited for my spider sense to tingle. Nothing.

Granted, it was only a fast drive via — possibly all of the mayhem was over on the subsequent road. Nonetheless, seeing what you contemplate the ‘hood, I used to be struck, and never for the primary time, that you’re a nation I might fortunately stay in. To me, Canada has at all times felt … civilized. Like America if America wasn’t loopy.

In fact, that was earlier than the truckers.

Like many people, I watched in disbelief over the previous month as convoys of them blockaded your capital metropolis and the Ambassador Bridge that hyperlinks Detroit with Windsor, carrying 25 % of the commerce between us. Their acknowledged cause for this act of anarchy was the vaccine mandates adopted within the battle in opposition to COVID-19 and its numerous variants. However that’s nonsense, on condition that 90 % of Canadian truckers have already taken the shot.

The concept vaccine resistance is barely a pretext can be attested by the truth that protesters have adopted iconography that has nothing to do with vaccines and all the pieces to do with extremism and hatred, together with the Nazi swastika and its U.S. analog, the Accomplice battle flag. Small surprise these truckers don’t even benefit from the assist of their very own advocacy group. The Canadian Trucking Alliance has denounced them.

Canada, that is some America-grade stupidity. And I’ve to say: I assumed you have been higher than this.

Sure, I do know that’s unfair. I do know most of your folks oppose this chaos. I additionally know that I’m most likely romanticizing and idealizing you in the best way distant admirers typically do. You’re not excellent. I get it.

However as right-wing actions, as shrill as they’re intellectually incontinent, solid shadows throughout South America, Europe, Eurasia and the US, I had grown used to considering of you as a form of oasis. As fascist voices develop emboldened, as extra folks in additional locations draw back from the middle, the consensus, I discovered consolation in concerning you as one of many final reliably sane locations on Earth.

The so-called “Freedom Convoy,” nevertheless, tells us that not even you’re proof against madness, to this virus of ignorance and inchoate intolerance that has contaminated a lot of the world. That saddens me.

We had fun in Vancouver. Browsed on Granville Island, noticed a film, rode the gondola. I used to be popping out of a parking construction and the oncoming automobile promptly stopped in order that I might enter visitors and I keep in mind considering once more: Yeah, I might stay right here. Extra precisely: I might escape right here.

Now, the chorus of an outdated music that when got here to you from Detroit throughout the Ambassador Bridge appears to mock that stray thought: “Nowhere to run to, child, nowhere to cover.” Certainly. One of many final sane locations on Earth is now contaminated with the lunacy of the age.

Oh, Canada.

Say it isn’t so.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. lpitts@miamiherald.com

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