Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Sex matters

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The biggest problem with mankind is, well, mankind. Or more specifically, man. Make that men… gender specific. Being one, I may be uniquely unqualified to comment on what is unquestionably the biggest problem facing mankind but if history proves anything — and I’m not suggesting it does — it proves I have absolutely no hesitation when it comes to commenting on things I know nothing about and have few, if any, qualifications regarding. Having established my lack of credentials to proceed, I’ll proceed; consider this a binding disclaimer.

Almost a year ago, I became a Canadian. Not, according to my Perfect Partner, a Real Canadian but a sufficiently faux Canadian that I can carry a Canadian passport when it seems appropriate and I can slip in French words like “faux” without italicizing them since they belong to one of the two official languages of Canada and are, therefore not considered foreign. Suspect, to be sure, but not foreign. Given the hit or miss success I have with italicizing words in Pique, that alone was worth becoming Canadian.

I’ve been led to believe Real Canadian-ness may be afforded to me when I can remember all the words to Gordon Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy. Nice as that song is, I’m not planning to listen to it enough times to remember the words. Besides, I’m pretty sure if I actually learned all the words — it’s a really long song, eh? — the bar would be raised and I’d have to learn all the words to all Gordo’s songs and Bud the Spud by Stompin’ Tom for good measure. I think the truth about becoming a Real Canadian lies somewhere closer to when hell freezes over. I can live with that. Faux Canadian is good enough for me.

But there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run. Given CP’s predilection for derailments, resulting environmental disasterettes and total disdain for passenger rail service, that time may well be considered the Good Old Days. But I digress. Okay, I was showing off.

I became a Canadian in the eyes of Immigration Canada for several reasons. Having lived half my life in Canada I felt I should be able to vote for the lesser of two evils in my adopted country as well as my birth country. I know that’s a dubious kind of honour — distasteful responsibility? — but as enlightened feminists used to say about the Pope when the subject came to birth control and abortion, “You no playa the game, you no maka the rules.”

I was also planning some international travel and, once again, U.S. passports have lost some of the cachet they used to have in international circles when the U.S. was a shining light of freedom and democracy. It’s also worth noting that terrorists who storm cruise ships — not that I ever intend to set foot on one — tend to kill Americans first and, like most of the rest of the world, don’t have a clue where Canada is or what significance it has in the overall scheme of things so generally leave Canadians alone. Given a choice, I’ll always choose obscurity.

I was dared to become a Canadian by Doug Forseth, who said he would if I would in much the same way a friend and I used to dare each other to jump off the roof to see which of us would get hurt. We hedged our bets by sucking Scott Roberts into playing the game, perhaps hoping if we found another patsy we’d escape unharmed ourselves and he’d end up in the metaphorical cast.

But foremost on my list of reasons I became Canadian was because my fellow Americans re-elected George Bush and his immoral, bankrupt band of grim reapers to run my country-in-absentia for another four years. I was able to salve my wounded disbelief when he “won” the election in 2000 by believing he’d stolen it in both Florida — with the duplicity of his brother, the guv — and in the Supreme Court. It meant there was still hope, assuming he didn’t outlaw hope during his first term, which I’m sure he would have had he not been so busy dismantling the Constitution, marginalizing the UN, making the rich richer, instituting a military first-strike doctrine, revisiting the quagmire of Vietnam in Iraq and turning America into a rogue nation in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Having done all of that, and more, I reluctantly abandoned all hope when my fellow Americans re-elected him in 2004 without the help of the Supremes. What clearer sign did a liberal, left-leaning, ex-hippie redneck need that he could no longer find a home in a country that had, albeit by a slim margin, completely lost both its mind and its moral compass?

It’s been two years and slowly, I’ve grown more hopeful. I’ve begun to watch the news again. My spirits have rallied along with the likelihood the Republicans might lose control of at least one of the houses of Congress. Ironically though, those nascent hopes have been dashed by this week’s events that have given rise to the prospect of Republicans losing both houses of Congress. It’s not the American people’s distaste for the ill-conceived war in Iraq that’s raised the spectre of a Democratic rout. It’s not the death of habeas corpus , the unconscionable tax cuts, the burgeoning deficit, the about-to-fall-over-the-cliff housing market. It’s none of those.

It’s another insignificant sex scandal.

A congressman from Florida — how sweet is that? — sent provocative e-mails to House pages, young boys. His inappropriate actions were brought to the attention of the Speaker of the House. Following the well-trodden path of the Catholic Church, nothing was done. Now, all hell’s about to break loose and the scandal could, quite possibly, determine the outcome of the midterm elections next month.

It doesn’t matter that the men in charge have reduced the U.S. to a ghost of its former self. It doesn’t matter that the ideological misadventure in Iraq has spawned a powerful new breeding ground for terrorism. It doesn’t matter… well, let’s fact it, nothing of substance matters. Sex matters.

And that is why men are the biggest problem with mankind. No matter how old we get, no matter how wise we get, no matter how powerful we get, no matter how rich we get, we never stop thinking with our dicks. It’s a lot easier and probably more accurate to explain things like the war in Iraq, conservatism in general, racial, religious and gender intolerance, the Olympics™, fast cars and big trucks, our general disregard for what is quickly becoming an environmental disaster, and just about every other ill of mankind as the result of men thinking with their dicks than it is any other explanation.

The solution is obvious. It’s time to step aside boys and let the girls run the world.