I often give our American friends a hard time about the differences between our new home, and the country I (mostly) grew up in. Truth is, we quite like it here — I’m not a huge fan of its current government, as is probably pretty obvious — but this is still a pretty great country, filled with pretty great people. Also, American employers pay so much better than their Canadian equivalents 😉
In honor of the independence of the United States of America I’m at work… I’m the only one here, but working today allows me to take Friday off, so its worth it. I figured though, that I could take a break and list some of the things that are awesome about living in the States — some things we wouldn’t enjoy if it weren’t for the passion, dreams and even blood of its founding fathers…
– We love U.S. healthcare. I haven’t seen SiCKO yet, and I plan to, because I’m not convinced that Capitalism is the right solution to every problem (the love of money being the root of all evil, and all that.) But I know for a fact that it works on health care. The concept of the patient being a customer means that you get treated better and more quickly than you ever would in a government funded healthcare system where you’re only a number. I imagine I’d have a completely different take on this if I were unemployed, or didn’t have healthcare, but the truth is, if you have a plan, this system works. We’ve had lots of opportunities to try it out in the past 18 months, and trust me, the hospitals in Canada pale in comparison to the treatment we get here.
– We love the American dream. It may have been diluted in the past century or so, but the fact remains that this is a place of opportunity, of entrepreneurship and of dreams. Its a place where if you work hard you have a good chance of succeeding. Its a place where you can dig into whatever you enjoy and find continuous challenge and reward. And while not everyone lives it, everyone understands it.
– We love that this is a Christian country. Sadly many Christians have forgotten what it means to live like Christ and spend more time spewing hatred and vitriol at their political opponents (Ann Coulter, I’m talking about you) than sharing God’s love with others. But nonetheless, there is no negative reaction to telling people you believe in God. I talk freely at work about going to church and being involved in ministry, and no one looks down on me or suggests that I’m wasting my time — more frequently I hear support and encouragement, sometimes from other Christians, sometimes from people who don’t profess it, but still respect it.
– We love that this is a beautiful country. We drive 30 minutes north on the highway from where we live and we’re in the Adirondack mountains, surrounded by trees as far as you can see, the landscape interrupted only by peaceful lakes. New York City is an amazingly full and bustling town, vibrant and alive and yes… polluted. But you travel 2 hours outside it, and you’re surrounded by healthy, beautiful country. We spent our Sunday afternoon on a beach on a lake enjoying a truly gorgeous day in a very beautiful and safe country, surrounded by good friends, and we were very content.
– We love the people here. We love that they share common ideals and a common hope. We love that they are free, that they are passionate about what they believe and that their country grants them the resources and the opportunity to pursue it. We love that they believe in the principles their country was founded on, even if sometimes their government loses track of those things, and that they’ll fight with all they have to keep those things alive. We love that they treasure their freedom and wish it for others, and that they’re willing to fight for those people too. Canada has plenty of good things about it, but I really believe that it lacks the shared vision that the USA has. I watched Transformers last night in theaters with 6 American friends — it was a very patriotic movie (although they did throw some wry social commentary in there at the end) and you could almost feel the solidarity in the theater. Everyone here treasures what they have — even when they’re politically opposed to each other, they all know what their freedom is worth, and that common theme is embedded in practically every American you meet, regardless of whatever other differences they have.
I’m very proud to be Canadian. Its great to know that my country has gifted me with a good education and reputation. But I’m also very proud to be working in a country like the States. That our countries share enough in common that free trade allows me to easily travel back and forth between two great homes, and explore my career and grow our family. But on July 4th, I’m particularly grateful for for our current home and all it stands for.