The Way We See The World – some Observations about Canadian Nationalistic Prejudices

Full Disclosure:
I’m a Canadian citizen, born and bred in a small Ontario city called Hamilton, on the western tip of Lake Ontario. I’m married to a very warm and intelligent woman born and bred in New York City. When I first invited her to live with me in Canada, it was because I was in love, and was very worried about my lady love, who appeared to be struggling with depression and finances, and needed to let go of the reins for a while.

Flash Forward almost ten years since we were married, and the only word I can use to describe my wife’s experiences in living in and becoming a citizen of Canada is: heartbreaking.

We have many dear friends: intelligent, forthright, thoughtful, sensitive, caring people. And yet, so many of even our closest friends casually and habitually hurl all manner of insult at America, on a daily basis, often without realizing they are essentially insulting my wife to her face. And it hurts her, badly.

My wife knows that American foreign policy has not always been the most humane or decent. She knows enough about her country’s history and politics to write a book. The problem is, she often can’t bear to speak up when we share our stupid-but-oh-so-popular ‘opinion’ about the USofA and its people. We hurt her a little more every day. We do it so thoughtlessly, it never occurs to us that we’re being cruel, petty, bigotted areholes. And we all do it, sooner for later. I even have to check myself and my inbred prejudices a great deal of the time.

It’s so easy to write off all of America when we hear about the cretinous oil barons and the insane religious fundamentalists. It’s often all we ever see or hear of the States. Our awkward relationship with our neighbours south of the border has been going on since before the War of 1812, and it will probably continue for centuries to come, unless a revolution in thinking overtakes North America. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as rival siblings and start seeing each other as partners, because that’s the only way either of us is going to get through the changes that are coming for the whole world. The European Union, the rise of post-industrial China, the return of Russian fascism, the resurgence of white supremacists in political offices around the world, the religious intolerance and turmoil running rampant all over the globe.

Canada has had a benign dictatorship posing as a democratically-elected constitutional monarchy for the last eight years, and he’s rapidly dissecting and selling off Canada’s resources, freedoms and sacred institutions. And yet we won’t accept responsibility for our mistakes; we blame it on America. We don’t call it fascist government; we call it American-style government, harkening back to the dark days of the post 9/11 GWB Administration as if that is all there has ever been in America. Oh sure, it’s wasn’t really their first time to the rodeo, but then, neither has it been ours. We interned Japanese and forced Native children to abandon their languages and cultures to live in manchurian schools that beat them into accepting our way of life, for all the good it did them. Canada may have enjoyed a fairly guilt-free existence post-confederation, but we are not without stain, and have no right to point the finger at all of Americans as if they personally built the nuclear missiles and ran Guantanamo Bay in their spare time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Oh, we’ve seen some unbelievable things in the news about the American political landscape in the last handful of years, since President Obama took office and the so-called Tea Party Movement (NOT the excellent Canadian rock band, sadly) was born. But the thing is, we’re not talking about all Americans here. We’re not even talking about a majority of them, despite how the voting numbers seem to paint things. It’s a vast and growing movement, to be sure, but it’s not by any means the whole of America. and even then, they’re just people, the same as you and I. and we have more than our fair share of ignorance, intolerance and ultra-conservative ‘thinking’, starting with our own Prime Minister, who has done nothing but tell us what a great job his self-named government is doing for us, while it systematically destroys everything that makes us Canadian.

We’re living in a glass house, folks. Best we put those bricks and stones down. We might hurt ourselves, next.

I’m going to get myself an American flag pin and start wearing it everywhere I go, just to spark the debate and set people straight about their so-called ‘enlightened’ statements. It’s about time we faced this head on and admit that it’s NOT just ugly kid sister jealousy: it’s out-and-out bigotry, as real as anti-negro, anti-asian, anti-gay or anti-semitic prejudice. And it needs to stop.


One Response to “The Way We See The World – some Observations about Canadian Nationalistic Prejudices

  • I’m an American. I was raised with a view of what being American meant and as you get older and I hesitate to say a word like wiser so I’ll settle for more knowledgable about how our realities match up against our expectations you come to be cynical. I’he spent time in this life debating what I as one person can do to change things. The problem is that America has never really been one ideal its many and we have created the image of an enduring spirit that will fight for freedom but so many have squandered or misinterpreted what that freedom means. People speak and act with disregard for others, they have taken our once superpower status as a might makes right initiative. So many Americans think other nationalties should bow down and worship us even though our education, dollar value and popularity has plummeted. I am proud to be American but that pride is based mostly on where we’ve been, what we’ve done and the potential I think we have but we made a wrong turn along the way. Our house is out of order. As an American I feel like I hold no power over the welfare of my country or its policies. Elections seem like a worthless exercise in picking which hack salesperson desperate to make quota you want to be stuck in an elevator with on the last day of the month. I enjoy meeting people from other places. I like hearing their stories. I’ll never be accused of being racist or xenophobic. I dislike when I see hate in any form related to that. Its blind and stupid. Sadly people say dumb things, thoughtless things. How many of say things are “gay” or “retarded”? How freely to use the word “rape” when discussing a trivial bill? Our words matter. sometimes more to the listener then to the speaker.

Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.


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