Beryl Wajsman describes a discussion with a reporter who asked him if he was against peace. Then she asked him if he was a Jew.
I snapped back “I’m a Canadian. And a democrat. I don’t define myself by religion. Are you a Catholic?” I demanded to know what possible reason she had for this question, and why I am so often asked my religion only by Francophone reporters. Defensively, she replied it was for “context”. I asked what “context”? Her answer was symptomatic of the social sickness that has made so many fey and feckless and too many so intolerant. She said that the “peace” marchers had groups such as the Canadian Islamic Congress participating and sponsoring. I asked “So what?” We were there as free citizens. That was our title. That was our tie.
But she persisted. It was as if she could not understand that people can act out of individual initiative and character without the benediction of any group. Her face exhibited a recoil of bitter resentment bordering on rage. It was as if I had mouthed a blasphemy so heinous as to make me an enemy of the people.
The attitude that Beryl encountered–the failure to understand that people can act out of individual initiative and character without the benediction of any group–is not, of course, limited to Canada. There are strong forces in the U.S. that tend toward the definition of people as members of groups and not as individuals. (One example here)
In America, the political organization that represents this blinkered focus on group identity is the Democratic Party. Indeed, the Democratic Party has for decades focused not only on the defintion of people as exclusively members of groups, but on the broadening and deepening of the fault lines between these groups.
And that’s one important reason why I did not vote for any Democratic candidates in today’s election.