It’s 2018 and I’m back

Hi folks;

I posted this on my FB page, and am putting it here for documentation purposes as much as anything.

America Great Again? Not even close.
By Dan Leger

Ever have the upsetting experience of having one crazy guy move into your neighbourhood who somehow makes the whole place crazy? That’s what it’s like being Canada these days, living next to the not-very-United States of America.
Think back one year. Until then, for as long as anyone could remember, the U.S. was just that rich, noisy, bossy family who lived down the block. They had the biggest house and the flashiest cars. They had more stuff than anyone else and bragged about it non-stop.
They could be dangerous too, with all their guns. They mostly shot each other but still, none of the other neighbours could understand how the Americans didn’t just take the guns away from the mixed-up kids and the angry ex-husbands.
The neighbours also got into a lot of wars, sometimes for mystifying reasons. They would blow stuff up, kill people, spend tons of money and take some hard shots back, often to little positive effect, like in Iraq and Vietnam.
But in most ways the Americans were great neighbours, back then. They were the best business partners you could find, who put their boundless energy into making money. The Americans always made the most but there was usually enough to go around.
The good Americans, back then, were madly proud of the country they had built and which is so richly endowed. They were proud of their diversity, of their free speech and the vibrancy of their institutions.
If you wanted to go there and share in the bounty, you mostly were welcome because people understood that your talents and energy also would help to build the country and add to its wealth.
The good-neighbour Americans had your back in a fight, too, if it came to that. When it was great, America was a stalwart ally. It knew who its friends were and cared about their security.
In fact many Americans liked the idea of having a big, friendly Canadian neighbour to the north. Some actually visited and swooned over our majestic landscape, so much like theirs yet so different.
Some Americans got to know Canada well and acted as our champions in Washington. Trade flourished and our products, companies and people found ready markets in the U.S.
And yet most Americans remained in a state of placid ignorance about Canada and Canadians. We found their indifference annoying but we knew deep down it was probably a good thing, because it meant they left us alone.
But that was back when America was actually was pretty great, before our creative, generous and optimistic neighbour grew ignorant, greedy and obsessed with threats.
We all know what happened last January. The craziest of the crazy neighbours moved into the biggest house on the street. Since then, they’ve been lording it over everyone else with their garish lifestyles, wild threats and self-pitying insecurity.
Almost everything about Americans is changing, other than the flashy cars and the bling. Even their famed generosity and confidence has been subsumed in fear and greed.
Where once stood a big brother to the democratic world, now stands a cowardly uncle. In place of Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill,” a universal source of hope, it’s America First and the devil take the hindmost. Our formerly good neighbours won’t even promise to be good traders. The equation can’t work out fairly for both sides any more; America has to “win” or there’s no deal.
Where once lived proud and confident neighbours who took up challenges with optimistic passion, now fear reigns with the perception that America has been exploited by craftier “others” whom now must be suspected.
And it’s pretty clear that as long as the craziest neighbour of them all is in charge over there, that America won’t have your back. It’s too scared to do that. In fact, it can’t even take care of itself past the land borders of the continental U.S.A.
Sadly, America is not becoming great again. It’s precisely the opposite. Cowering in fear behind guns and walls, lashing out at friends and foes, lying to cover up every fault: these are characteristics not of greatness, but of a country that has lost its way.


About Dan Leger

Journalist, broadcaster, consultant. And sailor. I've been a pro journalist for more than 30 years as a reporter, writer, producer and senior editor. Parliamentary reporter for The Canadian Press. Executive Producer, CBC Television News, Former Director of News Content at The Chronicle Herald. Gemini Award - Best Live Special Event Coverage (1999) and Atlantic Journalism Awards winner, Commentary (2007 and 2009).
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