Dear U.S. Citizens,
I don’t claim to speak for everyone, of course, but from the perspective of this particular Canadian, I thought you might be interested to know that at least a few of us north of your border are alternately confused, offended, amused, and turned off when we hear you and your politicians refer to the U.S. as “The Greatest Country in the World.”
I totally get that you love your country. And I understand that you’re proud to be an American. I don’t necessarily relate to your particular brand of patriotism… here in Canada we’re much quieter and far less demonstrative when it comes to that sort of thing… but I appreciate your fervor and passion (and, if I’m honest, wish we had a little more of it here in my country).
But… the greatest? Honestly?
I’m very happy living in Canada, and I love its unique character, attributes, and benefits. That said, I think I could be equally happy living elsewhere and appreciating that country’s particular ethos. But no matter where I lived, no matter how wonderful I might think it was, I can’t imagine being either naive, insecure, or arrogant enough to presume that it was the greatest country in the world. Pretty darn wonderful, yes. The most familiar and comfortable to me, yes. Preferable to me over another country, even. But… the greatest?
We live in a big, beautiful world, my friends, where there is no need for superlatives like “greatest” to label one particular chunk of land or group of people. Be proud of your country, yes… but at the same time open your minds, expand your horizons, and be secure enough in what’s great about the land in which you live to appreciate, accept, and acknowledge the greatness in others.
The rest of the world will thank you.
A (quietly proud) Canadian
(originally posted August 21, 2009)