United North America: Part 1.
I found the United North America site a few days ago. The first page I came across was a page on Nationalism. Since I’ve come to a place in life I feel patriotism is unnecessary and counter-productive at this stage of Earth’s evolution, I was intrigued by what this guy had to say.
The first two paragraphs of the essay on Nationalism (click link to see essay) were promising:
“Nationalism unites people of different classes and ideologies. It can create harmony, link our past to our present and give a people a sense of identity. But nationalism is also a tool used by dictators, despots and power-hungry politicians alike. It can create violent and mighty forces as well as divide people from different geographies. It is used to exaggerate differences, foster generalizations and cause discriminatory thinking. These two halves of nationalism can perhaps best be viewed in the context of World War II. Churchill, Roosevelt and King used nationalism to unite their nations against brutal enemies for the preservation of democratic civilization. Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo exploited nationalism to fuel an expansionist voracity the likes of which the world had never seen before. Therefore, we observe from history that nationalism can be a force for self-preservation, heroism and honor, or for vengeance, conquest, enslavement and dishonor.
In the context of today’s North America, such polarized comparisons are silly. There remain positives and negatives of nationalism in North America that can still be analyzed, but certainly nationalist issues do not rise to the level of real life and death. They are more aptly described as a matter of taste. While nationalism is a strong force in both the US and Canada, the expression of it is quite different on people divided by the arbitrary border line. The difference is not due to ideology or culture, but should be understood in historical and psychological terms. In many ways, the imagined differences are more powerful and divisive than any true realities.”
So far so good, and I fully agree with what the authour has written. In fact he’s pretty much summed up my opinion on the matter much more eloquently than I ever could.
A little further on the authour writes this:
“But it was also fully embraced by the Tory Americans who, fleeing from the American colonies of their birth, sought to define themselves as something other than as the Americans that they were. Remarkably, this search for identity that could unite a diverse people divided by language and geography has spanned the centuries right down to our day. Although the Canadian sense of nationalism has changed a great deal over time, it remains essentially a “non-American” sentiment. Ironically, a reason why Canadian nationalism has always seemed so undefinable beyond being “not American” is that Canada still is today, as it was at its birth, a nation of people in denial of their own Americanness. ”
This I had to look into a bit more closely. At first I couldn’t believe that enough Tories moved from the 13 Colonies after the War to make a difference when compared to the existent population in the British territories that would eventually become Canada. With some quick searches, the authour appears to be correct.
This is from the StatCan website:
“Whilst the War of Independence of the thirteen colonies was being prosecuted, the Loyalists, as they were called, a large number of whom had joined the British Army, suffered confiscation and banishment, the greater number remained, notwithstanding, in their native or adopted country ; others sought refuge in England ; others, again, to the probable total number of from 35,000 to 40,000 persons, including disbanded soldiers, came to seek an asylum in Canada and Nova Scotia. Before their arrival the population of British origin in the latter Province amounted to 12,000 souls, being a decrease from the number by the Census of 1772 in Nova Scotia, which then included New Brunswick. That part of the Province of Quebec now constituting that Province contained about 10,000 souls of the same origin ; that part of Quebec, now forming the Province of Ontario, may be said to have been then uninhabited. “
Fair enough. It does appear that enough Tories moved to the future Canadian provinces to become a significant portion of the population. It’s not hard to imagine that these people did have a problem with Americans and would have passed on that issue to future Canadians.
But, that being so, I still have issue with the last sentence of the second passage I quoted:
“Ironically, a reason why Canadian nationalism has always seemed so undefinable beyond being “not American” is that Canada still is today, as it was at its birth, a nation of people in denial of their own Americanness. “
This denies the fact that Canada has evolved over all the years from then until now. When you take a look at the body of Canadian and American art and music culture over time, is there not a distinctive flavour to each? I’m no literary historian, so I don’t have the tools to make an accurate argument for this case, but a Nation — in the sense of a people bound by a type of culture — will usually have artistic culture that varies from its neighbours culture in some way. What Canadian wouldn’t be able to instantly pick out a Canadian produced television show? Or a Canadian produced movie?
Then I clicked over the the site’s front page and found this paragraph:
“Here at United North America, we attempt to answer such questions, work to further stronger integration between the United States and Canada, and promote the democratic and peaceful accession to statehood of all of Canada’s provinces. On the following pages, you will see facts, ideas and commentaries on what such a peaceful Union would bring about.” (emphasis added by me)
The statement, accession to statehood of all Canada’s provinces, got a little stuck in my craw, whatever a ‘craw’ is. My thoughts don’t run towards Canada being ‘repatriated’ into the U.S.A., whether or not I may have inherited (possibly genetically) a dislike of all things American. Which isn’t true since I lived in America for a long time and quite enjoyed my experience. This, for some reason, bothers me. I still need to work out my thoughts on it, but there must be a better solution to the dissolution of borders that has nothing to do with assimilation, as the United North Americans suggest.
What other ways may this be accomplished without the obvious bias towards Manifest Destiny?
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