I've had difficulty writing today's blog. It's Canada Day today, and I am a proud Canadian, so this should be easy for me. Canada consistently is listed in those lists of the most desirable places to live and work. We have a reputation for being kind. We are, often referred to by tourists, as polite and our streets proclaimed as 'so clean.' Not ringing endorsements, but we are a diffident people.
My problem is that Canada got so much of it wrong, we treated Native people with violence and disrespect, it's hard to get on the high horse about pulling children from their parents when that's a part of our history with the residential schools. Not only that, we continue to get things wrong, we don't fix what needs to be fixed in relationships with our own people. We strive but never never manage to actualize our potential for truly human and humane greatness.
We wrap ourselves in quilts stuffed with smugness and sewn in conceit. We are Canadians and that, somehow, is enough. We have come so strongly to believe our own press that we have lost the will to press forward.
Being Canadian isn't enough.
Doing Canadian is called for.
Introspection that leads to corrective action, any corrective action of any kind is all it takes. I want to be Canadian in the way that my country calls me to be.
I am free.
I have a voice.
Those two things are remarkable. It's part of what it means to have 1 part per 1000ccs of maple syrup in your blood. I live in a country that gives me power and then, sometimes, hopes I don't use it. That I will simply feel smug because we aren't as bad as other countries might be, in our somewhat biased, polite because we'd never say it, opinion.
I am called by the freedoms given to me to be Canadian to act Canadian. To DO something!
We protest our past by offering healing in the present.
We protest our past by learning it's lessons.
We protest our past by, each of us, doing something about it.
I am Canadian. I love my country, enough to see its faults. I am Canadian. I love my country, enough to do something that results in healing, in acts of repentance, in a determination to live the freedom I have, in the fearless drive to use the voice I was given.
Silence happens in Canada when smugness smothers voice.
I intend to breathe.
So maybe being Canadian is not so different than being American, at heart - acknowledging what we have done wrong, ceasing harmful acts as soon as the harm is apparent, making amends(repairs, restorative justice), changing systems to promote justice for each person, and always paying attention to what is being said and done in our names, with our shared resources, and with the implied consent of the governed.
At least, if I am understanding rightly what you write about being Canadian...I know as an American I fall short of my own definition....and I do see my country as a bit too old to be acting as adolescent(or toddler) as we are right now!
Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day!
But I don't forget that you had a dangerous and scary life when you were young, in the same place. That isn't so far back. Just as wrong.
Still, right now, I sometimes wish I were Canadian. So much depends on the people in charge, and that can change precipitously. I apologize for what our 'leadership' is doing to relations between our countries.
Flawed American here, too. I agree with Clairesmum.
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