I’ve taken a break from scrolling Tinder while my wife is at Superstore to talk to you about values. Yes, values. I mean the traditional Mennonite values of free-market ‘every man for himself’ capitalism, and using politics as a tool to disseminate your religious views. It’s true that Mennonites who settled this region in 1874 taught a complete separation of church and state and an egalitarian economic structure, but when I say ‘traditional’ I actually mean, like, dating back to the late 1990s. Who says ‘traditional values’ actually have to have some tradition behind them?
Whatever their origin, the point is that our values differ from the rest of the country, and if we’ve learned anything from the United Kingdom this past week, it’s that we’re much better apart than together. In the post WWII-world, many organizations like the United Nations and European Union have sought to unite diverse countries and cultures under the naive notion that people who are different from each other can still get along. This has created nothing but trouble for the Brits. I mean how can you tolerate all these people flooding into your country flaunting their straight teeth and flavourful food?
Here in Steinbach we have trouble with different people, too. It wasn’t always like this around here, but now we’ve got Pride marches and people who believe in funding the arts. Recently I heard that some churches are even sponsoring refugees to come live among us. My Mennonite ancestors came to Canada as refugees from southern Russia fleeing tyranny and oppression, but that was a different time and a different place…well, not a different place, actually, it was right here…but the point is that somehow the situation back then when my refugee relatives came to this country is markedly different from the situation right now. The biggest difference being that I’m already here.
Traditionally Mennonites have fled to another country whenever things got rough for them, which is actually what the Bible commands us to do, but I say enough is enough. This time, we’re staying and forming our own country. The land that Steinbach sits on was stolen from the Anishinabe people, and before us, the Metis, French, Scottish, German Lutherans and others lived here as well. But, whatever the case, this is our land now. We were here first. Well, maybe second, or third or fourth, but, that should be good enough.
Therefore, I hearby invite like-minded people to join with me in this growing #stexit movement. Together (well, not ‘together,’ I mean ‘together with the particular people that happen to be exactly like me in every way’) we can create Steintopia, a world where there are no Pride parades, because we’re proud of nothing, where there are no refugees, except for all of us Mennos who are already here, and where literacy and arts are a thing of the past.
Make Steinbach great again! #stexit
(Photo credit: by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL/CC)