What happened to Canadian Patriotism?
Recent developments in both Canada and the United States have led me to ask the question “what happened to Canadian Patriotism?” I have often poked fun at the Americans for their over the top patriotic nature, for example when Richard Nixon lied through his teeth on public television and became a total disgrace to his “fellow Americans” and the day after his impeachment was forgiven by the majority because they felt sorry for him after his public disgrace, or the way the majority of Americans took George W. Bush at his word after the 911 attack and eagerly followed him into Iraq only to find out once again that the real truth behind the attack and the ensuing war in Iraq may never be known. I remember watching and listening to Ray Charles on a television special a few years ago as he sang “America The Beautiful” and brought tears to my eyes and wondering how a black American could feel so devoutly patriotic to a country whose government had for so long allowed his people to be degraded, enslaved and forced to live for the most part in abject poverty. I simply could not understand how people could devote themselves so strongly to a country whose leaders and political philosophy could treat so many of its people so badly. Then yesterday I watched as the first black American was inaugurated as President and I saw that same patriotism shine through in the huge crowds of all in attendance and it finally hit home, their patriotism is what makes them strong. Their patriotic nature is as powerful a feeling as the unconditional love you can only seem to get from a young child or a loyal dog. Patriotism is what makes America the strongest and most powerful nation in the world!
And then there is Canada. Here we have some (although I believe it is now a small minority of) Quebecers who want to separate Quebec from Canada and a number of Canadians outside Quebec (I believe a larger number than the Quebec minority) who wish they would. We have the oil rich Albertans who don’t think it’s fair that they should be expected to share their wealth with the rest of Canadians although they don’t talk about separation in the physical sense and we have Ontario where Torontonians seem to live with the impression that without them the rest of the province would shrivel up and die and resent the rest of us for stealing their wealth. We have some of the hardest working, heartiest and most generous Canadians doing everything they can to make a living in our Maritime Provinces and many other Canadians looking down their noses at them for it and wishing they would separate along with Quebec. Where is the patriotism? How did it get lost? How do we get it back? What do we have to do to become a country again rather than a collection of provinces?
Canadians collectively have a great deal to be proud of. Our armed forces have served and served well to protect the free world in times of need during two world wars and beyond. We live in a vast geographical area with an abundance of natural resources, wildlife, rivers lakes and streams. We have some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world; Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains, the Bay of Fundy and the Canadian Shield to name a few. Our Prairie Provinces produce food for a large part of the world and our coastal fisheries feed millions. We have one of the best health care systems in the world and even the poorest of us are rich beyond the dreams of many in third world countries. Canadian people in general are some of the biggest hearted, most caring and giving people on the planet. So why aren’t we proud to be Canadian? Why aren’t we happy to be Canadian? Why don’t we stand up and shout to the world with swollen chests and heads held high “WE ARE CANADIAN AND DAMN PROUD OF IT”? I don’t know! I don’t have the answer. That’s why I’m writing this, I’m hoping you do. I’m hoping that someone out there knows what it will take to bring back Canadian patriotism because I’m afraid that without it this great nation will cease to exist. Of course though, should that happen we will no doubt become Americans in which case they will definitely teach us what patriotism is all about.
So please, if you have the answer or answers share with us and if you don’t have the answer forward this letter along to your contacts because I know someone out there does.
A PROUD CANADIAN
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
What happened to Canadian Patriotism?