As a Canadian, i have always been less than sympathetic towards my neighbours to the South: Americans. It's a sometimes volatile and frustrating relationship - Canadians define themselves against Americans and Americans, well, they rarely leave their own country, let alone the TV room, so most assume that we're "just like Americans". Numerous times i have heard this declaration from Americans whilst working in summer jobs in tourist trap boutiques in Kingston. Every single time i would cringe and bite my tongue for fear of screaming, "IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT THAN YOU'RE A FUCKING MORON UNABLE TO PICK UP THE OBVIOUS AND SUBTLE DIFFERENCES".
It's most likely our inferiority complex that leads a lot of Canadians to carry the proverbial chip on their shoulder when it comes to Americans. Secretly, however, we take private delight whenever an American film or television production mentions Canada (remember when the Simpsons went to Toronto and the fervour the episode received in the media?) ; we exacerbate our non-Canadian friends by perpetually pointing out famous Canadian people; we openly cheer whenever Canada is name-dropped in film and television; we are quick to correct someone who assumes we're American; and we notoriously plaster our backpacks with Canadian flags as if they possessed some intrinsic diplomatic immunity (something that Americans have picked up on and started doing as well - much to Canadians' frustration).
Reluctantly, however, i have to admit that in the last few months i have grown more empathetic towards Americans and how they're perceived abroad. Yes, i know that a lot of their foreign policies warrant hostility and yes, their president is a HUGE idiot but not every single American is to blame. i have become a little more empathetic because i have experienced such hostility first-hand. i've lost count of the number of times i've gotten into a taxi and the driver ask if i was American. Once i corrected them and told them i was Canadian, some of the drivers unleashed a tirade of anti-American propaganda.
Now, i've been known to be somewhat anti-American in my life (hey, it's a Canadian thing), but more and more i find myself defending Americans. Not as a country but as individuals. Just like not every British person voted for Blair or supports the war, not every American is a red-neck hick who blindly installs their faith in Jesus and Bush. Only once, however, was a taxi driver disappointed because i WASN'T American. He claimed to love Bush and what he was doing "for the world" and then proceeded to lecture me with simplistic and xenophobic ideas about how to make Scotland a better place. i was so offended that i had to remind him that *I* was an immigrant and i didn't care to hear his justifications as to why it was ok to hate immigrants and the English.
"You just don't know the history," he retorted.
"Actually, i know enough; i just have better things to do with my time and energy" i replied.
Needless to say, he didn't get a tip and never again will i call that private car hire place.
However, so long as people like Ann Coulter continue to receive airtime and book deals and so long as people continue to buy her books and nod their heads in agreement with her insipid ideas, i think it's safe to be a little skeptical of America, the corporation and nation, and not Americans as individuals.
And just for fun, watch this clip of Ann Coulter getting OWNED on the CBC! Go Bob McKeown!