Petros responds to markpinetree and others regarding the name of the Isaac Brock Society.
I have read with interest the comments on the thread, Whatchamacallit, which recalls James Fallows calling into question the name Isaac Brock Society; Fallows wrote:
For what it’s worth, if I were organizing a group whose goals include changing mainstream American opinion and ultimately changing U.S. legislation, I would not name it after someone who was a hero for fighting against U.S. troops. Good symbolism in Canada, perhaps — but not so effective here south of the border. (I guess “Tokyo Rose Society” was already taken? Just a little joke — but how about the Thomas Paine Society, or something?*)
I wish the Isaac Brock Society would change its name to Americans Abroad Society. Because the issues that Canadians are trying to face apply to all Americans Abroad regardless of where they are living and working. I am pleased that you are accepting Americans who live in countries other than Canada to share common problems. We live in fear that is affecting our lives, well being and even work,
I am the founding administrator of this website. I started with five others who were at the time contributors to the Expat Forum (Bob Sheth), when the censorship of the discussion began there. So I suggested to one or two others that we start a new site. Then I was introduced via e-mail into a group of five who were among the first to use informally the name “Isaac Brock Society” for their association. We discussed the name of the site and our common intentions at that time, and at my suggestion, we decided to retain the name Isaac Brock Society for this site. I have responded to James Fallows, but here are some of further thoughts.
I eschew names that turn into acronyms. I personally avoid “ISB”. I prefer to call the site “Brock” or “Isaac Brock” for short. Americans Abroad Society would become “AAS”, another meaningless, insipid acronym. This is typical of a government with its impersonal acronyms: IRS, CIA, FBI, ATF, DHS, FBAR, FATCA, HEROES (not to forget UNIRNASS): these are utilitarian names that lack inspiration and do not capture a vision or a mission. Our Isaac Brock captures the imagination: a man who gave his life to protect the future of a country for which many of us here are grateful; the image of a man defiantly holding a sword up to his enemies as he dies at Queenston Heights.
We now have name recognition. The top search item from search engines is “Isaac Brock Society” or its derivatives. It would be a step backwards to change brand names at this point.
Isaac Brock was not just a Canadian hero. He was actually a British hero. He represents, in my thinking, a man who knew it was necessary to fight against the imperialistic attitudes of United States Americans for whom the annexation of Canada was an inevitability, and who undoubtedly thought that the people here would hail them as liberators. Thanks to Brock, Canada exists today as an independent country. Yes, he is a Canadian hero, in an anachronistic sense, but he is not thus disqualified from being a symbol for all who feel that the United States is overreaching in an imperialistic, extraterritorial manner.
Besides, this website isn’t here to ask the Americans to be nice to “United States persons abroad”. The Amercian Citizens Abroad has tried for over 30 years to lobby the United States, explaining how the United States persecutes its citizens abroad. This has been to no avail. Thanks to increasingly draconian bipartisan legislation and a particularly zealous Obama administration, things are worse, despite all of the good faith efforts of ACA. Roger Conklin, a member of the ACA board, contributes regularly here in the comment stream–and we are very grateful. But his comments lead us to bleak hope that lobbying in the United States will get us anywhere. The United States no longer listens to reason but only to demagoguery.
So no, the Isaac Brock Society is not here to ask the United States to be nice. It is here to help people to stand up for their rights and to seek mutual protection from the United States–our strength is in our numbers and rallying together. Thus, those outside Canada, like markpinetree, Mona, Geeeez, Eric, Just Me, Moby, Victoria, Don Pomodoro, Uncle Tell, Jefferson D. Tomas, Avowd, and others are welcome and will hopefully benefit from the discussion. We need everyone, not just those in Canada.
Mark thanks for your stimulating suggestion. We welcome you and all the others from across the seas. We have changed the tagline to be more inviting to our international contingent. Yet I don’t think it is a good idea to change the name.