Up in Banff National Park, there is a small bronze monument out in the middle of nowhere, by the side of the road. It is a statue of a single Ukrainian farmer — but it could have been a statue of any one of the rest of us 99%.
“Back in the 1880s,” someone in Banff recently told me, “Canadian railroad companies began an advertizing campaign in Britain that glowingly portrayed the wonders of life on the Canadian prairies to the gullible Brits — and then a bunch of British settlers were unceremoniously dumped off out in the middle of nowhere after having been promised free farmland. But one year later, when railroad officials came back to see how the settlers were doing, half of the Brits were dead and the other half never wanted to see Canada again.” So much for truth in advertizing.
“Not deterred, however, the railways then made the same promises to a bunch of farmers in Ukraine and they too got dumped out on the cold windy prairie. But when railroad officials came back a year later, this time the prairies were thriving, everyone was happy and there was even extra produce to sell. Their hard work had paid off.”
Or had it?
“By the time World War I arrived, British-Canadians had become so jealous of Ukrainian-Canadians that large numbers of Ukrainian-Canadians had been rounded up and thrown into concentration camps near Banff.”
There’s a moral here somewhere — that hard work doesn’t necessarily pay off? Or that one should never trust the fat cats.
So next time that Republican oligarchs start calling us lazy because we’re not rich like them, think about all those poor hard-working Ukrainian-Canadians who lost their land because someone else, not them, was in charge of their government. And then act accordingly.
PS: After visiting the upscale town of Banff (aka “Be Aware — Nothing’s For Free”), I headed off to the legendary Lake Louise, which is, actually, surprisingly small. And then I actually walked on top of an actual glacier. Amazing. Peaceful. Awesome. Now I understand why Tibetans are so spiritual. You can’t help but think about Love and Beauty and the Mystery of Life when you’re surrounded by the stunning silence of an ice field.
After that, I stopped by Jasper, another Canadian version of Aspen or Vail. And its acronym is “Just Another Shopping Paradise Extracting Revenue.” Then on to Kamloops and Sun Peaks, aka “Sales Up, New Property Expensive, Please Erase Austerity, Keep Spending”.
PPS: While many of our One Percent are happily off taking High Tea or heli-skiiing in Banff, what are the rest of us up to? Fighting to preserve the pensions and Social Security benefits that our hard work has earned us? Looking for work in an economy where there are four job-seekers for every one job? Watching our homes go into foreclosure?
What, for instance, is Scott Olsen doing right now?
PPPS: I’m still trying to find some mainstream media outlet to sponsor me to go over to Iraq and write about troop withdrawals. The military won’t let me in without a mainstream sponsor — even though the Lone Star Iconoclast is willing to sponsor me and I’ve been there before.
Come on, MSM, man up and sponsor me! How is America’s 99% going to ever know what is truly going on over there if coverage is only limited to media giants controlled by the good old One Percent? Or is that exactly the point.