Just the other day, I ran across a casual example of anti-Americanism and sighed, just a little. Making fun of Americans is a way of life in Canada: it happens all the time. We’ve all heard the (true!) stories of Americans driving to the border in July with their skis and parkas, looking for igloos and open ski hills.
I’m an American but not that many people know that, living and working as I have in Canada for decades. They call us Canada’s invisible immigrants and that’s not far off. While other immigrant groups are invisible in other ways (I think particularly of women who work in the domestic programs, brought over from overseas to work as nannies or caregivers with relatively little contact outside their employing family), Americans sound pretty much like Canadians and can ‘pass’ in one way or the other.
Honestly, I like being a Canadian. I took my citizenship oath over a decade ago and still think it’s rather awesome that I can swear a loyalty oath to the queen as I did a few years back when sworn to the provincial graduate scholarship board. (Away with your wussy oaths to the political leadership: give me monarchy or give me the next best thing!) I am proud of Canada’s values of inclusiveness and social democracy. I love our healthcare system and our public education. I even think the beaver is an awesome national symbol (who needs the polar bear as some sort of upstart substitute?)!
But that doesn’t mean that I’m ready to give up on the red, white and blue even if I’ve become particular fond of the first two colours.
Tom Brokaw explains Canada to Americans for the 2010 Olympics