Dirty pool, fa­mil­iar foe

Sackville Tribune - - OBITUARIES/COMMUNITY -

We’re in Canada, so per­haps it’s all right to use a hockey anal­ogy. You’re play­ing in an im­por­tant game, out there on left wing, and the way the lines are jug­gled, you end up play­ing op­po­site the same player on the other team. He used to be on your team; you even liked him then.

He’s big­ger and stronger than you, and he clearly doesn’t mind cheat­ing. The first time he takes you into the boards and you both end up on the ice, he tells you that he’d re­ally like to take your teeth out with the butt of his stick.

When the ref ’s back is turned at the next avail­able face-off, he slashes you above the top of your gloves, right on your bare wrists. He hooks your feet out from un­der you on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, and, while you’re wait­ing for the puck to be dropped, talks filth about mem­bers of your fam­ily, then slashes you a few more times be­cause he’s a bully and that’s the only skill he’s brought to the game.

He’s clearly try­ing to de­lib­er­ately in­jure you, and keeps chirp­ing through­out the game about how, be­fore it’s all said and done, he’s go­ing to hurt you as badly as he can.

He si­dles up to you and says, “So ev­ery time I have a prob­lem with these, you know, many of these coun­tries that we’re talk­ing about, es­pe­cially the big car coun­tries … I just say, ‘OK! Look, that’s OK. I’m go­ing to put a 20 per cent tax on your cars.’ … Ac­tu­ally in Canada, a tax on cars would be the ru­ina­tion of the coun­try.”

And you know full well how will­ing he is to cheat; he’s al­ready made up es­sen­tially fraud­u­lent tar­iffs on newsprint, tar­iffs his own team has tossed out as un­rea­son­able. He’s used his ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers to add tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum, ar­gu­ing that U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity is at stake when it plainly isn’t. You’re not the only one he’s threat­ened to hurt; you know he’s try­ing to per­ma­nently in­jure Ted China, who is just as big as he is.

And at the end of the game, you’re all sup­posed to line up and shake hands with the play­ers on the other team. Here he comes: “No hard feel­ing, hey?” he says.

Maybe, out of your own sense of sports­man­ship and the love of the game, you can bring your­self to shake that out­stretched hand and strike a tri­par­tite trade deal with him.

Con­vince your­self it’s all part of the game? Maybe you can make that ar­gu­ment.

That all’s fair in love and trade wars?

Maybe that ar­gu­ment can be made.

You might play against him again.

But when he’s treated you that badly, it’s hard to ar­gue he will ever re­ally be your friend.

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