June 13th, 2024

Americans are fantastic people from a distance


By Lethbridge Herald on November 17, 2022.

Editor:

We breathed a sigh of relief following the ongoing saga of the U.S. mid-term election. At the time of this writing, according to a Globe and Mail commentator, it seems to have reached a “least bad” result without a catastrophe. I remember hearing a high ranking U.S. politician congratulating fellow Americans when President Nixon resigned. He said, “The system works!” Still, the former president had to be pardoned to be spared from further disgrace. The 2022 mid-term election was not a total annihilation of the loser nor was it anybody’s total victory. It is a better situation than a take-over of both houses of the Congress by the Libertarian right.

Every time there is a mass shooting or what seems like a sign of a dysfunctional political system, I say to myself, “I am glad I am not American.” And yet, I confess I like the United States of America and I love Americans. They are like siblings. News from south of the border is a constant source of irritation. Yet, I cannot hate the country which is the home for many dear friends and of my favourite cousin. They love their country and I cannot hate what they love. 

Our closeness is more than geographic proximity. We are so much alike despite the difference. I have lived in four countries to work in seven jobs. From that perspective I can say that when one is outside of Canada, one always feels more comfortable in the company of Americans. We have so much in common, therefore it is easy to hang around with. Japanese people cannot tell the difference between Americans and Canadians. They can only see we love the same junk food and pop music. We don’t know what to order except ramen and sushi.

During the several months we lived in Paris, our four-year-old daughter’s best friend was an American five-year-old girl who had lived in Paris all her life. When she heard my little girl speaking English on the street, she came running and asked her if she could be her friend. When I did volunteer work in a small isolated village of Abakaliki in Nigeria, I was in a group of 10 American and one Canadian (me) volunteers. The village people were curious about “one Canadian.” When they found who the Canadian was they said to me, “I knew Canadians would look different.” The U.S./Canada relationship is complicated. People who are not from North America have no idea about the complexity.

It is said that the difference comes from life’s goal. Americans seek “liberty and pursuit of happiness” while Canadians want “order, peace, and good government.” When we feel threatened, we call the police. Americans reach for the gun. I am not a political scientist but I get the feeling that the U.S. constitution and the political system are designed to be dysfunctional (my words). The Americans say, “I can do it by myself. Don’t bother me.” So there are many obstructions against unified collective and institutional action. 

How can there be a coherent society where every individual is free to say anything and do things on their own? It must have been designed by people who hated order and power. 

It seems to me they prefer freedom and independence rather than an orderly society created by institutions. The Wild West is the dream. Decision by a quick draw contest. I don’t understand their emotional attachment to gun ownership. It must be the symbol of their freedom and independence. The founding fathers and those who drafted the Declaration of Independence must have come to America because they were fed up with the king and his order. For them those were instruments of oppression. That’s why they are so attached to guns to guard personal freedom and independence. So they are tough and dangerous, but creative and exciting. They are so much fun to hang around with. 

I admire the creativity of Americans. Albert Einstein came to America and blossomed. Just count the number of Nobel Prize winners in all fields. Americans received more Nobel Prizes than any other nationalities. They are used to and not afraid of thinking outside of the box. They invented more stuff. Their scientific discoveries, new technologies, outrageous art, amazing literature, even new theology that are almost heretical are breathtaking. I think that is the reason why Americans are so exciting, fun, and dangerous. I feel sorry for them having to live with freedom and to pay for the damage it causes. 

Thank God for Americans. I love them. I wouldn’t get too close to them, though. I may get burned.

Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui

Lethbridge

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biff

hard to keep the usa at a distance. their regular folk aside, usa govts – dems and repubs – bankroll and provide military and “intelligence” support for the multinational the world over. typically, the decrepit power and greedmongers from the usa establish and underwrite puppet govt strongmen in nations that have strategic and mineral/agricultural wealth. the human rights abusing govts fill their pockets whilst purporting to represent the peoples, all the while just overseeing the theft and rape of wealth and environment. multinational and well placed folk rake it in.