Monday, July 1, 2013

Bah humbug

Canada Day is here again.  Time to drink, play, shoot off fireworks, and loudly and raucously yell about how great Canada is.  I mean, sure, Canada is a pretty good country.  If I was given the option to grow up in a totally random country or Canada I definitely choose Canada.  We have our problems including a government that wants to solve the rest of the problems by implementing strategies that failed miserably in other countries in decades past but overall things are pretty good.

What bothers me is that it is still the same old blind patriotism that leads to no good.  Why should we celebrate a particular chunk of soil that was decided upon mostly at random by powerful men centuries ago? Why love those who happen to be born on the right side of those arbitrary lines better than anyone else?  Why spend our energy proclaiming how great we are instead of talking about how we can be better yet?  Patriotism is a useful tool for recruiting cannon fodder for wars and isn't much good otherwise.  Whether or not you think it is good to have a tool to recruit young folks to send off to die is perhaps worth considering also.

I am not proud to be Canadian.  I am not ashamed to be Canadian either.  It is just a thing that exists - much like I am not proud to be born in 1978 or to be 193 centimeters tall.  They are just things I am and are devoid of emotional impact.

Hooray for everything somehow lacks the same charm as nationalistic chants.  Somehow it is so much easier for people to get behind a slogan that portrays their own group as amazing rather than everyone.  It is a little sad but has always been true and probably always will be.


  1. How's a good excuse for a summertime, outdoorsy party? With fireworks. And a day off work to work on our tans. A little reward for surviving 10 months of winter. I'll take it.

  2. Well, I like the idea of a random summer party. I just don't feel it is necessary or useful to base it on nationalism.

  3. Totally agree. Nationalism is poison. Living in another country really helped me get me head around this.

    Think about how I feel at work every day when we all stand and sing a song about how great our country is and how it's all up to god to keep it glorious and free. I have big misgivings about that whole thing. I often wonder how First Nations kids feel about Oh Canada.

    That being said there are many Canadian institutions and customs that I'm very proud of. Our health care system, progressive income tax, gay rights, the parks service etc etc.