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“The Greatest Country in the World”

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?

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it.

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

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Elaine August 22, 2009

    Hahahaha I really like that post. Americans (as a general rule) tend to have over-inflated egos when it comes to their country. There's nothing wrong with being proud of the country you live it but they take it well beyond that.

    I kind of get it. Well, maybe "get it" isn't necessarily the right term. More like, "I can see what's going on". I think it's a mixture of things. It's a way for them to feel powerful (even if the rest of the world doesn't really see it that way), they have these daily affirmations type of thing. I think there's a certain amount of arrogance in the "we're the greatest country" bit and it probably pisses other countries off a bit and that's partly why they're not well liked in some parts of the world. I suspect they're also over-compensating for something. Throughout their history, the US have a few entries in their history books that show they were not the good girls and boys that they should have been and my guess is that they would probably like the rest of the world to forget. This might be why they like to say they're the best. It may be all about appearances 😉

    Being a Canadian, I'm glad I live here and realize that the country is beautiful, diverse, free, and reputable. I think most Canadians are just more quiet and humble about that, as opposed to our southern neighbours. And just because I think I live in a wonderful country, doesn't mean I'm going to ignorantly say we're the best because there are other countries out there that may be just as good, with their own strengths and weaknesses. I'm not pompous or arrogant enough for it.

    I've never been to the US (believe it or not!) but have known many Americans and have grown up with it's culture through the media. Although we're very similar, we're still in a diffirent culture here in Canada than the US. As a country, we don't think the world revolves around us, we seem to be more laid back and tolerant. Someone I knew who was living in Ottawa for a few years but was from Portugal, would say that I was American. That used to anger me because I am not American, I'm Canadian. He later said that he meant that I was from North America. I told him to say that I was North American then 😛 Saying that I was American would be like saying he was Spanish!

    Dawn, you have to stop getting me started like this hehehe

  • Dawn August 22, 2009

    LOL, sorry to get you going, but I enjoy your posts! Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  • Anonymous September 19, 2009

    Dawn, you can have your opinion. Us US citizens will still pay for the defense that allows you and the rest of Canada to enjoy that privilege.

  • Laurel Regan September 19, 2009

    Dear Anonymous Commenter,

    I fail to see how the US starting needless wars around the world does anything to allow me and my fellow Canadians the "privilege" of having an opinion. If anything, it puts us in more danger. Thanks, but no thanks.


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