Special Guest Columnist - Michael Coren

Summer 2010 CSANews Issue 75  |  Posted date : Jul 20, 2010.Back to list

All of you who spend time south of the border know that although there is always something about the United States that annoys or even provokes, it's still a remarkable country that is and should be the envy of the world. I like to think that I wasn't the only Canadian who cringed during the opening events of the Winter Olympics, when a plump white poet pretending to be black and street-wise boasted that Canadians said zed instead of zee, and that we also said please and thank-you.

Good Lord, man! Americans are probably more polite than Canadians and are some of the friendliest and most helpful people in the world. But even if they weren't, so what? If we are so small that this alleged distinction makes us somehow superior, we are a tiny nation with a tiny soul.

Americans, as usual, reacted to this insult with indifference or courtesy. Or ignorance, in that they assume that because they are kind to Canadians, we wouldn't needlessly abuse them. If only they knew.

In fact, it may well be that the ugliest aspect of Canada is its obsession with not being the United States. And to disguise this obsession, it hits out at its neighbour like some little boy with a crush who teases a pretty girl. It's pointless and says far more about the teaser than the teased. Perhaps because I have only spent half of my life here – I came from Britain in 1987 – I somehow haven't absorbed this nonsense into my DNA. Whatever the cause, I proudly claim that what every Canadian should really be saying is God Bless America.   

For leaving half-a-million men on the battlefields of Africa, Asia and Europe during the Second World War, a conflict the United States could easily have sat out. God Bless America.

For that farm-boy from Nebraska who had never even heard of Normandy or Sicily, who wanted so much to walk back from the hill, but continued on. For his determination to do his duty and for his dedication to freedom. For his mother and for the Stars and Stripes flag she hung in her window. For his life, and for the fact that he gave it. God Bless America.

For being prepared to rip the country apart in a bloody spasm of civil war because, however delayed and reluctant in some quarters, the leaders and people knew that slavery was wrong. For seeing the future dawn, when others could only see the enveloping night. God Bless America.

For the legion of Nobel Prizes won with grace, for the medical breakthroughs celebrated with decorum, for the sporting records, the intellectual triumphs, the moral victories, the glory. For embracing yes, rather than hiding behind no. God Bless America.

For jazz and pluralism, baseball and religious tolerance, burgers and equality. For inventing and pursuing an ideal that, though not always achieved, is still glorious in the making and pristine in the chasing. God Bless America.

For the Marshall Plan and Marshall Dillon, for Tom Sawyer and Tom Hanks, for New York and for the New Deal. God Bless America. For not minding when foreigners actually show more ignorance about American culture than Americans ever do about theirs. For in fact being more polite and sensitive when abroad than many other peoples, but merely smiling when described as ugly. God Bless America.

For inviting Irish, Jew, Italian, Pole, German, Hispanic, black, Asian, man and woman, all and every into the highest levels of government. For being the first nation in the world to treat the outsider as a guest rather than a problem. For being a melting pot, rather than a melting society. God Bless America.

For allowing God and prayer and faith to enter public life and for not running scared from gratitude to the almighty for all that He has given us. God Bless America.

For your comedies and your dramas, for your movies and your novels, your sentimentality and glamour, your self-parody and self-criticism. For your splendour and for your silliness. God Bless America.

For being right more often than being wrong. For being the nation that still leads the way in so many ways, still lights the path on so many days. For being you. For being. God Bless America.