I admit I am an outsider looking in writing this piece, and to be honest I am not sure why I am writing it, but I feel I need to. A recent article written by Jane Gerster and published by Global News states that the public opinion of the U.S. in Canada has a hit a thirty-eight year low. Is anyone that has been paying attention to world events surprised? I mean really? The article states that a mere “37% of participants looked at the States with admiration.” That means 63% do not. Public opinion of the States in Canada is at a record low it seems.
I have nothing against the States; I have nothing invested in the country. I have traveled there, met some fabulous people, and made some wonderful memories. Would I ever live there? HELL NO. Frankly, I am even afraid to vacation in the States now, let alone set up a homestead. I admit it, I am scared of what is unfolding in the States and I admit as well that my own view of the States has been tarnished.
I have watched a society in the States turn on itself. To an outsider, it is the equivalent to watching auto-cannibalism. I have watched a country become increasingly polarized and increasingly disconnected. I have watched one too many atrocities unfold. I have watched a country fall from grace. I have watched the downfall of basic human decency and compassion.
Now I am not saying Canada is perfect, but we do have a damn good place to live. Yes, we have our own atrocities to attest to and our own demons to vanquish and we are far from immune to corruption, violence or crime. We have seen the carnage in Toronto, we know gang violence has a choke hold on parts of British Columbia and racial tensions have long rung out across the country. We as a nation have many things to fix and make right. However, what sets us apart is we have a country that is willing to work on finding solutions to problems, to work things out and to try and bring all sides of the political front to the table for a discussion and a debate. Even if that discussion and debate rage on, it seems most conflicts seem to be resolved over time. Like I said, not perfect, not ideal but it seems to work.
The USA seems, at this time to be so divided, that neither political party can put aside agendas and stop the finger pointing long enough to sit down and find a solution to some of the many issues that need to be addressed. They are not even nearing this point. What is even more startling to an outsider looking in is that the citizens of the US do not have a third party choice to turn to. At least we have that privilege here in Canada. Imagine being so turned off by either party’s political stance that you do not even bother to vote, this is a massive issue with no solution offered. The 2016 election saw a twenty year low in numbers of eligible voters. Look how that turned out! I have no idea how citizens become so turned off that they veto their voice. Yet here we are.
Watching from the outside, as our television screens play scene after scene of carnage, racism, bigotry, patriarchy before our eyes and as we sit and watch dumbfounded and shocked, we somehow must find a way to move past and move on. Well for me it is becoming increasingly hard to move past and move on. As I sit and watch I become increasingly frustrated and increasingly angry that what is deemed to be the most powerful country in the world has let the love for guns, money, and power overrule common sense and decency.
I hope that the citizens of the US do the right thing and take back their voice, that they vote even if they don’t necessarily want to, and I hope that they know that Canada still loves them as a neighbor and as a friend even as we stand and look South shaking our heads and wondering how it all came to be this way.