I was asked a few days ago if I feel more American or Canadian. That really depends on a lot of factors I will describe below, but I think the single greatest answer I can give is that when I am in America or among a bunch of Americans, I feel the most Canadian, and when I am in Canada or amongst a lot of Canadians, that’s when I feel the most American. The differences are considerably more stark when you are in the minority. It’s like having a mirror held up to me which emphasizes my most American traits when other Canadians share the mirror with me, and vice versa.
But I digress. Time for a list!
I feel more Canadian than American because
1.) I am a big believer in allowing people’s cultural, linguistic, and national origins to coexist and remain unique within Canada, rather than compelling people to assimilate. In short, I favour the mosaic over the melting pot.
2.) I have no real problems with monarchy, and I am not really perturbed by its continued existence. I understand certain criticisms of the monarchy, but find the likelihood of it being demolished in my lifetime to be on par with the idea of Montana separating from the U.S: Highly unlikely and somewhat laughable.
3.) I get visibly uncomfortable in cities which do not have a lot of green spaces like parks, and feel compelled to pick up trash whenever I see it.
4.) I believe healthcare is an essential right which should not ever be denied based on an inability to pay.
5.) I’m in touch with the European heritage I do have, and don’t raise eyebrows at people wearing kilts.
6.) I don’t believe that freedom of speech covers hate speech or threats of violence, any more than it covers yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre or telling everyone I know that someone I don’t like is a convicted pedophile.
7.) I believe that bookstores are more important to have in a vibrant downtown area than Starbucks or a dance club. Can’t say no to a nice karaoke bar though.
8.) I consider bilingualism/multilingualism to be a necessity, not a luxury.
9.) I think that what passes itself off as mainstream left-wing ideology in the U.S is anaemic and in need of a good purge of anything related to upholding the “golden mean” fallacy.
10.) I find the “all marriage, all the time” focus of queer activism in the U.S to be problematic and short sighted.
11.) I find U.S elections to be needlessly drawn out, long, bombastic, and expensive.
12.) Religion is private, not something to discuss over lunch.
I feel more American because
1.) I don’t consider everybody’s feelings on a subject to be equally valid, and find the notion that we should be polite and respectful of the convictions of others, even when based on blatant falsehoods, to be stupid beyond belief.
2.) I love guns, I shoot for a hobby, and see no problem with a police officer using firearms in a situation where (s)he suspects that civilian lives may be in danger, and I believe in the right of someone to protect their lives and property with force if necessary.*
3.) Tim Hortons isn’t as good as Krispy Kreme, and definitely not as good as the Komoda Bakery, and never will be. Sorry Jaime.
4.) I am supremely pissed off by the fact that Jimmy John’s and Outback Steakhouse are only located in Alberta (and Ontario)
5.) I think that as far as national anthems go, O Canada could use a major overhaul in the melody and lyrics.
6.) I’m still dumbfounded over how Canadians deride Toronto as being filthy, or crowded, or a victim of urban decay. Have they never been to Los Angeles?
7.) Canadian devotion to Canadian music scares me. It’s the only truly jingoistic part about the Canadian identity, and I think it’s still a hangable offence to insult The Arrogant Worms, Barenaked Ladies or Moxy Fruvous (I like all three bands, mind you) I can’t imagine myself ever getting that worked up and devoted to say, Pepper.
* These came about because I was watching an episode of NUMB3R5 with Jaime’s family, and it involved a security guard shooting and fatally wounding a robber at a jewellery store who reached into her coat pocket. Jaime’s sister expressed shock and disgust at the idea of the security guard shooting the robber, and I explained that the guard probably thought the robber was pulling out a gun, and that in a situation like that, it’s important to make sure that civilians in the jewellery store aren’t injured or at risk of being taken hostage, so you shoot first, ask questions later. She was very shocked and horrified to hear this. Later on, we were talking about property and farms for some reason, and I mentioned “Trespassers Will Be Shot” signs, which she was again horrified and disgusted by, questioning their legality. They’re perfectly legal, and it is within the law, at least in Montana, to shoot someone who trespasses.