Dear America, a letter from your friend, Canada
I moved here in August of 2016; three months before your last election. Since then I have held back from sharing my personal political opinions; primarily because I feel that, as a guest in your country, it’s not my place and frankly, it would be rude.
I’m now preparing to leave the US to go back to Canada, but before I go, I wanted to share a few of my observations; as a friend.
Because, who are we kidding, Canada is your best friend; we know you better than any of your other friends. We’re your closest neighbor; we grow up watching your TV and listening to your music. We know you to be proud, passionate and at times a bit rowdy and rambunctious and we love you for it.
Although we know everything about you, we know that you know much less about us; and that’s ok, because we know that deep down you love us too! The truth is that when push comes to shove, we have always stood together! I would challenge anyone to find two countries who are closer friends and allies.
For the past three years, I have lived here among you; I’ve had a front row seat to all the changes that you’ve been going through. And I have to say that, as your friend, I am very worried for you.
I have friends who are Democrats and friends who are Republicans and guess what? Contrary to popular belief, you’re not that different! You love your families and want to provide for them. You aren’t looking for hand outs; you want to work hard and be paid fairly. You want to know that if your son, daughter, wife or husband gets sick, that they will get the best care possible; and while caring for them, you don’t want to have to worry about being ruined financially.
You love your country and your flag. You’re all thankful to those who serve and put their lives on the line to fight for your freedom. They don’t fight for the freedom of Republicans or the freedom of Democrats; they fight for you, they fight for America.
The core values of the majority of Americans are the same! And Contrary to what some would like you to believe, you are all Americans; no one group is more American than the other.
There are people in your country who want to make you believe that you are all so very different. They want you to believe that some of you are better than others. I think you need to take a step back and ask yourselves why? What’s in it for them?
How can that be good for you, America? Who is going to benefit from a fractured and fighting country? As an observer, I am perplexed and can’t see how this infighting is going to lead to anything positive.
I also want to talk about race for a moment, because it’s one of the ways that some people are trying to divide and break you. As a legal alien, yes, that is my official status, I think I have a unique perspective.
I am a white, middle-ish aged blonde Canadian with no recognizable accent. To those who are trying to divide you, I look and sound like the perfect American.
I was recently in a long line at the DMV and a few of us started chatting, A white, older man, asked the couple in front of me, who were of Latin decent, where they were from? They said California, to which he replied a bit surprised “Oh”. The white man wasn’t being rude, he was friendly and making conversation. But he didn’t ask me where I was from.
It made me wonder how many times they, or anyone with brown skin or a different accent, are asked that question? Would it get annoying or frustrating to feel that you have to justify or prove that you belong?
On the surface “where are you from” is not offensive; it’s a harmless question, but in my three years in Las Vegas, I’ve never felt like I needed to explain or justify who I am or why I am here.
I feel that I am automatically considered more American than a lot of real Americans. Is that a form of white privilege? Maybe in its most simplistic form? I get the benefit of the doubt automatically.
As human beings, our life experiences form and shape our views. I think some white people take offense to the notion of white privilege, because they feel that nothing has been handed to them; that they too struggle and that being a white American doesn’t automatically mean that they’ve had it easy. This is 100% true, you can be white and struggle.
We should sympathize with those of us who have been less fortunate and who have had less opportunities because of a number of different factors, black or white. But I suspect that those of color are faced with an additional set of challenges right out of the gate. Challenges that, those of us who are white, can’t fully comprehend because it’s not part of our life experiences.
As a white Canadian, I have discovered that I don’t have the same “cultural baggage” as some white Americans. This difference is apparent when the topics of Black Lives matter and the NFL players taking a knee are brought up. There seems to be an inner resentment of black Americans who take a stand; who peacefully protest, that killing their sons and fathers, whose only crimes are being black or brown in the wrong place at the wrong time, is unacceptable.
Some really nice white people, seem to go on immediate defense mode when these topics come up; and in my outsider, I don’t have a horse in this race, point of view, it’s very confusing to me.
Let’s be real, it doesn’t matter what color you are, if your son went to the store and got shot for no reason, you would be angry and want justice. So why aren’t all American mothers and fathers heartbroken regardless of the color or race of the child?
I recently asked a friend what it was about Black Lives Matter that was so upsetting? The response I got was that blue lives matter too. I agreed with them; I 100% believe that blue lives matter too. I admire people whose career choice puts them in harms way on a daily basis to protect others.
Have you ever wondered why someone becomes a police officer? I can guarantee you that it’s not the promise of fame and fortune! They sign up because they want to make the world a better place.
That being said, Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that Blue Lives don’t. Are there bad police officers out there? Yes, every profession has some people who do a horrible job. I know a few people who are in my field who are absolutely horrible at their jobs. But how much harm can a bad marketer do in the grand scheme of things?
My point is that we can and should be as outraged at the injustice of an innocent person being harmed because of the color of their skin, as we are when an officer is harmed because he showed up for work to help keep us safe. Both scenarios are unacceptable and we should be outraged. This shouldn’t be what divides you, in both scenarios, these are Americans.
The current woes of American are in no way the fault of white Americans; no more than they are the fault of brown Americans. But you need to know, that some people are trying to exploit your fears and insecurities in order to divide you. And it breaks my heart, friend, that it seems to be working.
We know you to have the biggest heart, but I fear that all the noise being bombarded upon you on a daily basis is making you hardened.
America, my dear friend, you are the most powerful country in the world; a true super power who’s slowing losing their super powers to those who are looking to divide and conquer you. Did you ever think that you could be conquered?
Your American values are being threatened, not by some far away foe, but from within. Like that scary movie where the threatening phone calls are coming from inside the house.
As your friend we need to give you a bit of tough love and let you know that you’re currently in a bad relationship. You’re losing yourself and what makes you truly great!
We need you to snap out of it; Canada needs you, the world needs you to be the strong, honorable, spirited, just and rowdy America that you have always been.
As your best friend there’s one thing about you that we know for sure; it’s that one should never assume that you are down for the final count. When times get tough, the tough get going. Well times are getting tough. It’s time to band together and show the world what we know you are made of.
Your enemies thought that crashing airplanes into buildings would break you; instead, it made you stronger! Please don’t let bots on social media divide and break you; you got this! Your freaking America for goodness sakes.
Is it over simplifying things to think that by being nicer and more compassionate to each other is going to bridge the divide that’s been created to harm you? Perhaps? But, I’m certainly not going to be betting against the power of Americans.
We miss you, your bff,
(for those reading, if you have nothing nice to say, please don’t. If you are all about positive vibes, then please leave me your comments.)