Freedom of the individual IS paramount, and is only freedom with acceptance of differences.
As we opened our doors to runaway slaves, draft dodgers and stranded airline passengers in 911, we remain free by offering that freedom to those most in need. A few years ago, after an accident and a nine hour hospital stay, I met a cab driver with the full turban of an orthodox Sikh, born in the Punjab, a peasant. Cab driving to him was a godsend, and being able to talk with me, in the front seat was why he was in Canada. He said: "India is where I was born, Canada is my home. I would die for her." I wondered if I would. That's what I want my country to be, where he can associate with a caste above his own...imagine that.
The socialism here is, well, true classic liberalism; social safety nets without intervention into the personal lives of individuals, small as possible, delivering the greatest amount of $ to the greatest amount of those in need. We have Conservative Harper in power now who has increased federal spending in health care more than any other prime minister, and guess what, he makes an economic, not political argument: a healthy nation is a productive nation. he had eliminated corporate welfare until Obama forced us to meet the deal with the automakers, and now we own Chrysler Canada..thank you it is netting us nice dividends. Screw loans, buy the thing.
I still have some faith in the America I knew, a nine year old kid from rural Ontario who thought racism could be ended by Louis Armstrong telling Eisenhower to knock it off and play fair. We were taught the US constitution on three fronts, and it appears taught well. And I learned the truth about those early wars years, when the right wanted war with Britain and the left wanted no war and the middle wanted, maybe, to somehow, get Hitler to stop dropping bombs on London. It was an incredibly divided nation, a president beleagured for the failures of his social agenda.
Then Pearl Harbor and a defeated nation united, rose up and became the world's most powerful force in five short years. That America can rise again. It will take a leader, a real leader who will first unite the nation and then start forwarding an agenda.
If not, mind the beaver