Today’s post has to open with this: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/07/03/surrender_of_cornwallis_front_page_of_a_newspaper_celebrating_the_colonists.html
It’s July 4th and that means Independence Day for our American neighbours. I thought I would do a post linking to interesting stories about the holiday…except, contrary to the stereotype, there’s little rah-rah-America being published online this year. I went to USA Today, Drudge and the Washington Post. There are a few stories, but the holiday doesn’t make banner headlines. Did it in past years? Is this a change? Is patriotism dead?
Independence Day, and this was the story that caught my eye at the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-american-revolution-was-a-flop/2013/07/03/fd077db0-e02b-11e2-b2d4-ea6d8f477a01_story.html?hpid=z3
Yeesh. Not so good. Doesn’t really hit a celebratory note, does it?
Maclean’s used Canada Day as an opportunity to publish this list of the reasons it’s better to be Canadian: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/06/28/99-reasons-why-its-better-to-be-canadian/
While the information is no doubt interesting, I actually think we look smaller as a nation every time we try to one-up the States. In contrast to many Canadians’ perception of Americans as loud-mouthed braggarts, the shoe is definitely on the other foot this year.
More American deflation of American myths: http://www.salon.com/2013/07/04/7_myths_and_misconceptions_about_the_4th_of_july_partner/
I know, I know, the Post and Salon are Democrats, not gun-totin’, god-fearin’ flag-fliers. But Drudge Report went skimpy on Independence Day links: http://drudgereport.com/
Over at the Washington Times, not exactly a Lefty paper, Egypt’s latest revolution got equal or better billing than America’s: http://www.washingtontimes.com/
The New York Post gives a little more coverage of the holiday, but still not much: http://www.nypost.com/
What’s going on here? Could it be that Canadians, who insist on sewing their flag on their backpacks when they go abroad, have finally become louder than Americans?
Maybe. No question, these are dark days in the U.S., and maybe it’s taken its toll on patriotism, or at least patriotics sentiment at publications. The economy is still struggling and their leader is under constant fire.
But wait: that’s true of Canada, too! And we just had a giant flood in one of our most prosperous provinces, and an entire legislative house has fallen into disrepute, and our splinter province – the US doesn’t even have one of those – is apparently a cesspool of corruption. Heck, we even have a terror plot, courtesy of the just-exposed bomb plot in Victoria.
I think it’s time we start facing the facts: Canadians may be on the path to becoming ugly Americans, while Americans, who never lived down to Canada’s worst assumptions about them, may be entering a cynical period in their history where waving the flag and declaring your love of apple pie can’t fix broken institutions or fiscal failures.
I sound down on Canada. I guess I am, a little. I love our real estate, but the nation state? It’s fine, even good…relative to the multitude of, frankly, crappy countries around the world. But Canada is no better, depending on your interests, than the other perhaps 20 or so successful, industrialized, democratic countries.
So let’s can the false humility. If you’re proud of Canada, fine. Fly the flag, wear a red shirt, write to this blog and tell me how wrong I am. But don’t pretend to be humble and modest and all those other ‘Canadian’ virtues we love to attach to our national identity.
I’ll leave with some American links chronicling that nation’s accomplishments: http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/07/02/100-great-things-about-america-part-1/
Click on any one of the four categories (arranged by date): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_inventions
(Yes, I’m aware similar lists could be compiled detailing the faults and failures of America…like every nation, especially those with the greatest impact on history, it’s a human record, with our species’ weaknesses and strengths writ large.)