Dear America: Come on up, we still like you
Well, isn’t this a fine (possibly soon-to-be-tariffed) pickle we’ve gotten ourselves into?
We’re still reeling up here about your president’s whirlwind visit to Canada and its acrimonious aftermath. We feel a little like Dorothy Gale must have after that fabled tornado in Kansas. The landscape suddenly looks a whole lot different.
But here’s the thing you need to know. As Sally Fields might have put it were she Canadian: We like Americans. We really like you. Even now.
There are hardly any of us who haven’t visited the United States, hardly any of us who haven’t been treated wonderfully there.
All of us have a special part of America in our heart, whether it’s a beach in Maine, a ballpark in Pittsburgh or Boston, a winter respite in Florida.
So we need you to know that we don’t hold all Americans responsible for the recent burst of rudeness and insult bestowed on our prime minister by your boorish president and his lackeys.
We know that more of you voted for the other candidate than for him. Like many of you, we expect the distemper of current times to pass along with his temporary occupancy of the White House.
We know that many of you are as appalled by him as we are. We understand Robert De Niro’s pithy outburst at the Tony Awards. And we’d be lying if we said some Canadians hadn’t beaten him to the same line.
This week we’re particularly gratified by the many Americans who have written to Canadian newspapers to apologize and launch messages of goodwill with #thankyouCanada hashtags.
We understand close relationships. Sometimes you hurt the ones closest to you. It’s usually the speech by a weird uncle, not a stranger, that messes up the wedding reception.
Still, we won’t say it didn’t hurt to have your president treat old friends like enemies at that G7 summit meeting in Quebec, and then fly off to Singapore to embrace dubious strangers as bosom pals.
What can it mean when an American president dismisses the Canadian leader as “weak” and “obnoxious” and then gushes over the North Korean dictator as “very smart” and “talented”? We get that the president’s job is to stand up for his own country’s interests. But it’d be nice if he extended as much courtesy to his closest allies as he does to those who threaten to incinerate his cities.
But we’re trying hard to keep things in perspective. Trump will eventually be gone, and in any event our relationship is a lot bigger than any president, however loud and obnoxious.
Our true relationship was demonstrated recently when so many of you contributed to help the Humboldt Broncos, the junior hockey team in Saskatchewan involved in the devastating crash that killed 16 people.
Just as it was shown when we helped you out in Tehran in 1979. And again after 9/11 when the town of Gander took in scores of planes and thousands of passengers when American air space was closed.
Go see Come From Away. We were happy to do it then. We’d do it again in a heartbeat.
At this point, we understand the impulse some here might feel to stop going south, to stop buying American.
But throwing snits is not really the Canadian way. We know we’ve gotten a bit cocky lately at Olympic Games and such. But usually we just smother folks in niceness.
No, we’re not about to sulk up here in the attic while there’s a party going on downstairs. And as far as we can tell, there’s always something going on downstairs.
Just remember, you’re always welcome here. In fact, we’d like to invite all of you to come on up this summer and renew acquaintances if you’ve visited before, or get to know us better if you haven’t.
We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you’ll excuse our spelling honour with a “u,” some French here and there, our dearth of gun shops, and the odd fact that we pay $40 for a case of beer and nothing for a heart transplant.
We promise you a great time. Our weather’s turned. Our dollar’s low. With our diverse culture, there are few better places on Earth – no matter what country you cheer for – to watch the World Cup.
We’ve got a world-class Pride Parade coming up and more than enough urban attractions and natural wonders to suit any taste.
But let’s be clear. We’re comfortable with ourselves, our values and our role in the world. We’re not changing, any more than we expect you to.
We’re used to hunkering down in some pretty inhospitable climates. So if our prime minister is going to a special place in hell, we’re going with him.
We know you carry a big stick. The whole world knows that.
We just thought your man Theodore Roosevelt had it right when he said that kind of clout was best wielded while speaking softly.
So this is just to know we want our old friends back.
See ya this summer.