Proud to be Canadian
Canadian patriotism is big in 2017. National celebrations, July 1, and the 150th projects and festivities have been inspirational, but just what do they mean to us, as patriotic Canadians?
We have our negative definitions – we’re not Americans, not Trump followers, not gun fanatics, and not sceptics of all government, as the Americans seem to be with their own largest, strongest, most arrogant of governments. What are the positives? What do we each consider our responsibilities as Canadians?
“Proud to be Canadian” isn’t quite enough. Feelings of pride are pretty ephemeral and can be trivial – “proud” of our favourite teams, “proud” of a great apple pie, or even proud of our health system doesn’t say a lot.
What is it in our everyday lives that make us so proud of being Canadian? What do we each do every day that qualifies us for the “proud Canadian” label?
Daily life is where reality shows up, where the rubber hits the road. Do we donate to a lot of good causes? Support multi-culturalism? Support peace-keeping, on and on?
What makes us Canadian (besides our passport number) in the sense that we do things differently than non-Canadians? Do we enjoy winter, is our media specifically our own, where we get our culture and news – and our news of where? – where do we work and travel, and, especially, who do we include when we use the word, “we”?
So many of us living in Canada watch American TV and news sources; we get our culture from Hollywood and New York; we travel there; we felt under attack when the US was attacked. I am continually surprised that so many here who live in West Quebec consider themselves as de-facto living in Ontario – they talk of Ontario politics, sales in Ontario, cultural events, travel and family there – and it seems similar with the US – so many of us talk of Trump, and so few about our own political affairs.
More to the point, do we Canadians even support our own economy – don’t we shop not on Main Street but on Amazon? We get news – and advertising -- from Google and Facebook. Isn’t it true that someone who gets their culture, news of the world, and even basic consumer products from another country is not quite as Canadian as they may insist? Don’t our actions betray these grand feelings?
Shopping Amazon to the detriment of our neighbourhood shops and businesses is “anti-Canadian”. There I’ve said it. Same with culture and news.
What we do with our earnings, attention, time, and our plans, what we put into our brains and memories, where we seek role models, and with whose culture we indulge our emotions (movies, TV) – all these do describe a patriotism. But a Canadian one?
What we do, not what we say about ourselves, describes us best. Do we support our national community – or another’s? Is our consciousness “made in Canada” or elsewhere? How Canadian are we, after all?