Sleeping with an elephant

On Tuesday, Americans will go to the polls in what some are calling the most historic U.S. election since Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.

As the tiny mouse living next to the mammoth elephant*, Canada is holding its breath to see who will be President when all the votes are counted on Tuesday night.

There is so much at stake, but I won’t waste time recounting the issues that have filled our airwaves and papers for the past six weeks.

One thing is certain, I have never been more happy to be Canadian.

Over the past decade and the past year in particular, it feels like the great divide between our two countries has deepened to a wide chasm.

We have been physically divided by a closed border due to COVID-19. Our countries have been divided on foreign policy, racial injustice and climate change. The greatest divide, I’ve come to realize, is cultural.

If America had a motto, other than America First, it would be “every man for himself”. In Canada, it would be “all for one, and one for all.”

I don’t think it would have mattered who was President during the pandemic—the country would have wound up in exactly the same place. The culture of, I’m going to do what I want, it’s my god-given right and no one can stop me, has resulted in the U.S. having the highest infection rate in the world.

So as we hold our breaths and await the results Tuesday night, let’s collectively give thanks and continue to cherish and hold dear what makes us uniquely Canadian. We the north, all for one and one for all.

*In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, in a speech to the Washington Press Club, described living next to the United States by saying, “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

4 thoughts on “Sleeping with an elephant

  1. In Canada, it would be “all for one, and one for all.” That is so true! I visited Canada several times on business trips and that was exactly what I sensed. Canadians genuinely do care about each other much more that what I see here in the U.S. Someone there told me, “It’s because it gets so cold here.” I had to laugh, but I do think there’s a great deal of truth to that. With that much cold and snow, you never know when you might needs someone else’s help with digging out of the snow or keeping warm. The most fun thing I learned from visiting Canada was the money. “Loonies” and “Toonies”! How cool is that?!? It’s sort of like saying to me, “Money is nice, but it’s not the most important thing.” And again, that seems to be a big difference between Canada and the U.S.

    1. So true. As Canadians we get to know and look out for neighbours pretty quick after the first snowfall and one of us needs to be pulled out of a ditch! Thanks for sharing your insights John…

  2. Pingback: The year in review: my favourite happy acts from the year of COVID – Happy Act

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