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Re: More thoughts - A Canadian View
Posted By: Dave, on host
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2001, at 00:09:20
In Reply To: Re: More thoughts - A Canadian View posted by teach on Friday, September 21, 2001, at 16:47:00:

> Of course we realize that. And, being
>Canadian, we like to think that it's *because*
>we are the United State's best friend that we
>were not mentioned. When you're listing your
>friends, it's not necessary to mention the one
>that's always hanging around. The attitude has
>been that when you offer help freely, you don't
>expect to be thanked - you just do it because
>it's the right thing to do.

I'm searching for a way to explain my feelings on this. Let me start by saying that I think the fact that Canada was not acknowledged was both a great insult and a great compliment at the same time. Let me do my best to explain that.

First, the insult part. In the grand scope of American thought, Canada plays a small roll, for the most part. The typical American, I believe, thinks of Canada as this nebulous blob that sort of extrudes from our northern border up towards the North Pole. We can name a few cities (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary) but I believe most of us would be hard pressed to name your capital (Ottawa?) and almost none of us could name your Prime Minister (?). But to be truthful, this isn't just the case with Canada. I know the name Tony Blair because I've heard it bandied about so often in the press recently. The last British PM I had any sort of handle on before that was Thatcher. I sometimes still think Yeltsin is in power in Russia, and I doubt I could even properly pronounce the name of the French President.

This is insulting to Canada and other nations, and also rather indicitive of American ignorance of other countries. But, to be defensive for a minute, it's not really that we think we're the only country that matters. It's that since we are the dominant nation in world politics, our movements and our actions get the most coverage, even in the world press. And we are such a big nation, and have only two borders with other nations. Because of this, we tend to think that all other countries are "over there" someplace and don't affect us nearly as much as what is going on at home. Besides that, most of us only know what is spoon fed to us by our media--and our media tends to gloss over anything that doesn't happen here, unless it's huge and can't be ignored.

Obviously to ignore Canada in this way is an insult to Canada. Many Americans live by the credo espoused in the South Park movie, "They're not even a real country anyway." However, let me try to explain the other thought that is rattling around in my head; that in a way, this is also a great compliment.

Canadians tend to blend in. Americans don't tend to notice Canadians in our midst until one of you says "eh" or "aboot" or gets confused with Imperial weights and measures (or in Rivikah's case, goes on a tirade about our money. ;-) We see you and we dont notice you. We treat you as if you were one of us. In a way, that is one of the greatest compliments we could pay you. If we don't notice your contributions in the same way we notice the contributions of our European and Pacific allies, its only because we don't put you in the same class as those remote countries. In essence, you're not friends, you're family.

-- Dave

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