The United States, once again, has shown its insensitivity to our friendly neighbors to the North. The latest in a series of shuns was this week’s annual snub of Rush, the quintessential prog-rock trio from Canada, by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Be very, very careful, America,” warned Tim “The Doctor” Wood, an investment compliance executive based in Toronto. “We’ve got all the water, all the energy resources, and the strongest and most secure banking system in the world. You need us more than we need you and our patience is running a bit thin.”
Canadians are pretty accustomed to being overlooked by the States and have a decent sense of self-deprecating humor about giving the world Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, and Pamela Anderson; although they withhold responsibility for Celine Dion. After all, she’s from Quebec, insist the Anglophones about their French-speaking province.
They laugh when you sing the Canadian national anthem as, “O’ Canada, no doot a-boot it.”
They mostly held their red-mapled tongues after 9/11 when George Bush omitted Canada from his “list of friends” during his address to Congress following the attacks, even after thousands of U.S. air travelers were put up, fed and clothed by hospitable Canucks.
They were gracious winners when Sydney Crosby scored in overtime against the U.S. to win the Gold Medal in hockey during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. They’re Canadians, so of course they were supposed to win their national pastime.
They casually dismiss ignorant and far-fetched characterizations of their national health care system by American politicians. They do express disappointment that the U.S. does not realize their system provides baseline coverage for all, with an opportunity to purchase supplementary insurance to improve choices.
The Canadian Embassy, across the street from the U.S. Capital campus, graciously opens its doors to its lobby of Canadian art, and hosts its neighbors on its roof with one of the best views in the city.
Canadians are politely trying to work with the U.S. over troubling border issues, prompted by the continued misinformation -- championed by Newt Gingrich -- that some of the 9/11 terrorists used Canada as a conduit into the U.S.
The U.S. is blocking folks from entering the U.S. after records that include references to non-violent mental health incidents were shared with the Department of Homeland Security, personified by the 65 year old Lois Kamenitz.
Immigration agents blocked her from boarding a flight from Toronto to Los Angeles. Despondent over years-long suffering from a debilitating form of arthritis, Kamenitz OD’d on pills in 1996, requiring a 911 call from her partner. That call record, shared with U.S. Immigration, became the basis for her rejection to enter the U.S, according to CBC.
Canadians can shrug their shoulders over the typical American insensitivity of targeting little old lesbian ladies, but we may just have provided the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Eligible for induction since 1999, Rush has yet to be nominated, much less inducted. As a group, Rush boasts 24 gold and 14 platinum (3 of them multi-platinum) records. The band’s worldwide sales place them just behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band.
Perhaps more important, they gave us a generation of pasties: those pale-faced, stringy-haired bong aficionados personified by Wayne and Garth (created of course by Scarborough, Ontario native Mike Meyers).
Rush features masters in each of their domains: with Neal Peart considered by many the greatest rock drummer ever, Alex Lifeson one of the most innovative guitarists, and Geddy Lee the most progressive bassist of all time.
They introduced millions to Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and The Anthem, which inspired the landmark album 2112. Far from foamy-mouthed libertarians, Rush resists subjugation and applauds individualism. “It’s about creative freedom. Her artistic manifesto is what struck home,” Geddy Lee explained.
Rush gave us “A Passage to Bangkok,” an anthem to “Thai Stick.” They gave us "YYZ(ed)," a bass and drum extravagance based on Toronto’s Pearson Airport designation in Morse code. Neal Peart gave us the seminal assertion for individualism in "Tom Sawyer": “No, his mind is not for rent to any God or government.”
They gave us Rush: Live in Rio.
Canadians are of course suspicious that they have suffered yet another dis from a nation that takes the Great White North for granted. How many folks know that Canada is the U.S.’s largest energy importer and largest trading partner? How many folks know that poutine is the greatest cure for a hangover?
The U.S. would be best served by a new found appreciation of the polite Northerners. Enough of the mischaracterizations of their health care system, and treating everyone visiting the other side of Niagara Falls as a threat and inconvenience. The Polar Bear just might be ready to roar.
“You might want to reconsider your omission of our boys from Ontario,” The Doctor suggested. “I hear you guys are looking for cheap energy and we’re sitting on those tar sands. We may just decide China is a more worthy partner."