Well the obvious answer is that I’m not Canadian. I’m American.
I don’t always feel like I agree with the majority of Americans. Nor do I think the world view of Americans represents who I am. But who does?
I love my country. Not with blind national pride, nor with the false idea that living elsewhere wouldn’t be as satisfying. I love my country because it’s what I know, how I was molded, and what I recognize in my core as home.
I love to roam as far away from home as possible, but I equally love to return.
Many Americans at any point on the political spectrum feel our system is broken. But I believe in it – not that it’s without corruption or imbalanced persuasion, but I don’t believe that any other system has perfected governance either.
I like that I can challenge my neighbor, my congress, my judicial system. But I also recognize we have serious inequities and humanitarian dilemmas.
Still, what bothers me the most in my travels is when my fellow Americans tell me they say they are Canadian when they travel. “You’d be amazed at how much better you’re treated if you wear a Canadian flag on your backpack,” a traveller told me on my first trek through Europe in 1998. I have heard a similar sentiment throughout the nearly twenty years of world travel I’ve done since.
I LOVE Canada and Canadians!
I’m not refuting the notion that Canadians are better received as guests in other countries, but why not be the best American I can be and make a good impression as I leave my footprints on the world’s surface?
Why deny who I am? Where we are from sets the foundation for our lives. It is paramount that we all rise above the labels we’ve been given without any reason other than it’s where we are from or it’s how others have behaved that came before us.
Maybe instead we should reflect upon why we may be received negatively and try to develop a better cultural understanding to move beyond the stereotype.
I am an American. I am my own unique person. I am a citizen of the world. I am proud of all these things.