In honour of American Independence Day, and all our friends and family south of the border, here are a couple of (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek excerpts from an article in The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers, exposing the conflicted, love-hate and envy-disdain relationship that many of us Canadians have with the USA:
"(C)elebrate this 4th of July by acknowledging what we all, in our hearts, know to be true: Americans have stuff that we want."
...and later, in the same article...
"Canada and the United States are separated by the world’s longest one-way mirror.
look and see a slightly greyer version of themselves; Canadians survey
the landscape and see the world’s largest, best-armed shopping mall. We
might do them a disservice that way; there are things, from here, we
just don’t get.
America is a service not available in Canada."
- Ivor Tossell, "Let’s celebrate July 4th by admitting: Americans have stuff that we want, " in The Globe and Mail, 3 July 2012.
Ouch! This is all too true, in my experience. I suspect both Canadians and Americans do each other a "disservice," as the article puts it, by pinning each other down with these partially true but deceptively simplistic perceptions and stereotypes.
May we celebrate each other's independence days this year - so close together, with Canada Day on July 1st and American Independence Day on the 4th - by admitting our own country's weaknesses and refusing to point the finger at those of the other country, and by honestly assessing and appreciating both our own and each other's strengths. And most of all, by approaching ourselves and our neighbours across the border with a humble, gracious attitude. Amen.
A prayer for Canada, from the Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Church of Canada, p. 59
ALMIGHTY and merciful God, who in thy wisdom dost divide to the nations
their inheritance: We yield thee hearty thanks for thy loving-kindness
in appointing this good land of Canada to be our dwelling-place among
the children of men; for the wealth and glory of its plains and
mountains, its fruitful fields and teeming waters; for the precious
things of heaven, the dew, the sunshine, snow and rain in their season,
and the precious things of the earth and the fulness thereof; for a land
wherein there is bread without scarceness. For all this, and the
opportunities thus vouchsafed to us, we bless thee and magnify thy Name.
And, we pray thee, grant us grace so to sanctify thee in our heritage
that the world may know that thou art our God for ever and ever; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for the USA, from the Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church in the USA, p. 820
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a
people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with
honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from
violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from
every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united
people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.
Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the
authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home,
and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise
among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our
hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our
trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.