Well, fuck. I hate this side of politics. Isn’t there anything more important we could be thinking about? Me, I’m far more concerned by the idea of us getting nuclear subs than I am about an official animal that doesn’t even appear on our coat of arms. That being said, this totally sounds like something a 10-year-old would propose if she won a Senator for a Day contest. Yes, polar bears would win in a Cute Off, but they aren't the right choice for us.
The beaver has a strong historical significance. It was a driving force in the settling and expansion of this country. Polar bears, while gleefully hunted I’m sure, did not. I’d suggest cod (to collective sighs and eye rolls, and a chorus of “we know, Ellie. You like cod, geeze”) as an alternative emblem because it played a massive role in the initial settling of
North America’s east coast. Although, whether we
should be celebrating any animal that made it easier/gave us an excuse to
invade a foreign land and claim it for our own is a whole other
|Resourceful little scamp, isn't he?|
The press release, which in the future will be reprinted in the dictionary under “anthropomorphic” said:
“The polar bear, with its strength, courage, resourcefulness, and dignity is perfect for the part [of national animal icon]…. The senator said the polar bear is more noble and rugged.”
Let’s deconstruct this impressive list of polar bear qualities, shall we?
The strength is genetic, it’s not like polar bears are really dedicated gym go-ers. Also, they have brute strength which isn’t typically regarded as a “Canadian” quality. Unless they mean moral strength or strength of character, then they're still wrong (see Dignity and Noble below).
Do animals have courage? I mean, when, say, an elk is afraid of a wolf, it doesn’t stop running and face the wolf to defend itself, you know? So how do polar bears demonstrate courage? By calmly mauling humans? They aren’t afraid of our giant guns? Courage in the face of extinction? “Look how the polar bear goes on in the face of impending death: making babies and trying to hunt, as if it thinks it stands a chance. What courage! Let’s capture that one for the zoo.”
In what sense? In the way that polar bears utilize alternative food sources by going into human settlements to forage in dumpsters because they are increasingly unable to hunt like they evolved to?
The hell? I give you the dictionary.com definition of dignity:
1. bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2. nobility or elevation of character; worthiness: dignity of sentiments.
3. elevated rank, office, station, etc.
4. relative standing; rank.
5. a sign or token of respect: an impertinent question unworthy of the dignity of an answer.
Come on! Polar bears don’t have comportment! They don’t have self respect, and they wouldn’t know the right way to receive the Queen unless you spent months training them.
Does that mean that beavers are refined? They’re just too damn posh to be our national icon anymore?
Let’s also address the irony of a senator in love with an animal doomed by myriad bad national and international governmental policies. If I thought for one second making polar bears our animal would help them at all, I’d probably be behind it. The truth is, though, that polar bears (and polar bear babies) are about as charismatic as Canadian megafauna gets, so if that won’t help them, nothing will. When the last polar bear dies in the Calgary Zoo (the zoo where animals go to die), maybe then we can change our animal to the polar bear as a reminder of how horribly we failed them.