From some of my earliest grade-school recollections, I remember more than just one of my teachers telling the class how Americans have no culture. But Canadians do. And in these lessons, we learned about our “steep culture”, including our colonial past and membership in the Commonwealth. I even recollect singing “God Save The Queen” every morning. How utterly Canadian.
When I was in highschool, it was more of the same, especially when it came to any discussion of the war in Vietnam. To us, America was the big bad North American bully boy. Even though, if it wasn’t for the Americans during the time of both World Wars, the world would be a much different place than it is today.
I recall WW II stories told to me by my late father, of finding American front line military camps, where there were tents, places to warm up and dry out, and hot food dished out by a cook. Much of which was unavailable to Canada’s fighting men by our own government. He never told me these tales with envy. Only with gratitude.
It seems, that to the Americans, an allied fighting man was treated as one of their own. And as such, they shared their wealth.
To many Canadians however, the American soldiers were soft and pampered. Yet; it was these same soldiers fighting under the Stars and Stripes who stormed the beaches at Normandy, and eventually liberated Europe. It is also these same American soldiers and their leaders (a generation or more beyond) who kept the world safe from Communism until its final inglorious defeat.
The USA is a huge machine with more cogs, gears and wheels than we can count. And it just keeps on grinding forward. And with its momentum, it carries the whole world along with it. And to many, even though the benefits created by the American machine are huge, the Americans are more often than not resented for their success and contributions.
The Islamic world hates America and Americans for its innumerable successes. And so it appears do we. We don’t hate Americans to the degree that we wish them real harm as do the Islamists, only to the degree that we feel pretty smug when they get egg on their face. Or when someone takes them down a notch or two.
I guess, what bothers many Canadians about the USA, is that next to them, we are a pretty insignificant country which does extremely well only because of our friendship and proximity to America.
More than that, for Canadians to really make it big, means that we have to make it big in the USA. Very few people have ever heard of most of our Canadian “famous” writers, actors, musicians and business people until they’ve made it south of our border.
Making it in the USA takes excellence and competitive dedication. And when you compete in the USA, you’re usually competing against the world’s best. It also means that you’re in the big league opposed to the minor league. And that you’ve proven your mettle beyond doubt.
When my teachers used to tell us that Canada has a real culture, unlike the culture of the USA, these teachers were not only lying to their students, they were also lying to themselves, and fabricating something they wanted to believe, as opposed to what was real.
The American culture is so powerful and pervasive, that it can be found everywhere in the world. Including Canada. And frankly, many Canadians resent it. But; these same holier-than-thou Canadians who are so quick to take cheap shots at the USA, are also usually at the top of the Canadian “intellectual” food chain, enjoying the largesse that rolls our way courtesy of the US of A.
No one has ever heard of Canadian culture with the exception perhaps of hockey, but ask about Movies, music, food, fashion, medicine, space exploration, business, military might and on and on, and you’re talking about the USA.
In the past, I have written many critical arguments against the USA and many of its leaders. Because that’s the way I was conditioned from my earliest recollections.
But that said: I have written positively about Democrats; mostly because they more or less reflect Canada’s Liberal views.
I have also been guilty of taking cheap shots at Republicans and their Presidents, mostly because they see the world in far fewer shades of gray than do their Liberal counterparts. But over the past few years, my views have changed significantly. Now, I too see the world in far fewer shades of gray.
I clearly see, that it has not been the Liberal Democrats who have kept the world safe from Communism and tyranny. It has not been the Liberal Democrats who have guaranteed that earning money meant that you could keep and enjoy much of what you’ve earned by paying less in taxes.
But, it has been the Republican Conservatives, with warts and all, who have stared down the enemies of the democratic West. And it was also the Republican Conservatives who bailed out a fiscally bankrupt USA from the Carter presidency. And have carried the world along with it.
I like the clear-speak of the Republican Conservatives. I like it when George W Bush calls the people who terrorize the world “Evil-Doers”. I understand exactly what he means. I have had it up to here with the eloquent Liberal left, and their rose colored glasses, where everything is foggy, in an unlimited number of shades of gray.
Much of life is really not all that complicated. There are good guys. And there are bad guys. It’s as simple as that. There are people who really make a difference. And there are people who pretend to make a difference. There are people who will stand up for decency, honor and the pursuit of justice. And there are people who will find countless ways to obfuscate what is right, and what is wrong, to the point where you can’t tell the difference.
It appears to me, that as far as the Democrats go, they can very much “talk the talk”. But as for the Republicans, they indeed know how to “walk the walk”.
Canada is a decent little country where the people get along pretty well. But we are not the USA with all the glory that goes with it. And as such, we never have to pay the price to keep what we have, simply because the Americans pay it for us. And we can be as jealous of our neighbors to the south as we want to be, but that will not change what is.
As of 9/11 and the undeclared Islamist World War against modernity and democracy, I have chosen to place all of my trust in the Republican controlled USA. It is only the Americans, with limited help form a few of their friends such as England, who can save the day, and keep the world safe from the Islamist fundamentalists.
If you were to ever visit our home, you would see a 22 foot flagpole at the front of our property, flying the Red Maple Leaf and the Stars and Stripes. And remarkably, in this tiny agricultural community where we live, ours is not the only flagpole sporting these two flags.
There is only one USA in the entire world. And as Canadians, we can thank all of our lucky stars that there is. And we should be even more thankful, that they are our neighbors, friends and just like family.
It’s time for Canada and Canadians to realize who were are, and how little significance we represent on the world stage, and how fortunate we are to be living next door to the USA, which might not be the only yardstick by which we should be measuring ourselves. But it’s a hell of a good place to start.