By Tim Kalinowski
Isn’t it nice when you hear about people disrespecting country folk? You know us hayseeds out here on the bald prairie? They call us rednecks; they call us bumpkins. They dismiss our concerns because we express ourselves more emotionally and simply than the urban elite up in Calgary and Edmonton do. Such was the case when one of us country folks just happened to phonetically spell out the French “coup d’état” by saying “kudatah” instead during the Bill 6 protests back in December. Oh what a hoot! What a riot!! Those ranch country rednecks have such problems with their vocabulistics and all! You see, we don’t have to take their concerns seriously. We can sit in our ivy tower in Edmonton and feel secure that we are the smarter ones, the better ones, the oh so well educated ones.
Well, I’ve got something to say about that. I have a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies, which I completed with honours. I have an undergraduate degree in English, Philosophy and Religious Studies, which I also completed with honours. I speak both French and English and have traveled to more than a dozen countries worldwide. I have read probably a couple thousand books in my life and have even published my own novel. And I can say this unequivocally: There is a huge difference between being smart and being wise. Wisdom is something only the world can teach; it can’t be found in books and it certainly isn’t represented by university degrees.
I can also say this unequivocally: We have too many “smart” people in Alberta right now and most do not have one lick of sense about what really matters in life.
People living in the country do not have that problem. We know our food does not come from a magical place somewhere in the grocery store. We know what the land needs and what it can take. And we understand that we can’t get through life without the help of neighbours, family and friends.
So laugh it up you snotty, urbane, sophisticated leeches who give nothing back to the world and take everything from it to live among your temples of steel and glass in the province’s concrete wastelands. I say we in the country do show them what a “kudatah” means, because it ain’t the same as the French “coup d’état;” it’s an Alberta thing.
We don’t violently overthrow our governments in the English-speaking world. We pour manure on their lawns, we protest, we petition, and in three years we vote their arses right out of those cozy leather chairs in the tarnished halls of a once great legislature. And that’s what I call a “kudatah.”