Not so many years ago I considered the United States the best friend that Canada could ever have. I love Americans and most things American, except for Monday night football. :-D In fact, there was a time when I thought I wanted to move to America and become an American. Well, all that has changed and I really miss my dear old friend, America.
Since 9/11 I have watched in horror as America has changed from an open, caring country to one that is self-absorbed and living in fear. I have watched as politicians have used fear to convince the American people that they must go to war and more. It makes me so sad to see buildings with snipers on them and police with huge guns walking the streets. Recently I was watching something on CNN and they were showing snipers on the roof of the White House. Good grief, Pennsylvania Avenue is blocked off and the White House is treated like a fortress. I also understand that it is difficult to get into the Capitol Building.
I contrast that with a visit by the Queen to Alberta recently. She was attending a farewell concert at Olympic Stadium (seating capacity about 19,000). When the Premier of Alberta arrived he and his wife got out of their car and strolled among the crowd. No body guards or extra cops around. There were about four mounties at different points along the line of the crowd but that was all. Then the Prime Minister and the Governor General arrived (the two highest ranking government officials in Canada). They too got out of their cars and strolled among the people. The biggest shock of all was when the Queen and Prince Phillip arrived. They did the same thing!! That was quite amazing. They had no body guards nor extra cops at all. They simply strolled and shook hands. What a contract to the hords of cops and secret service needed when anyone of any importance in US political circles goes anywhere or does anything. In fact, sometimes when I watch these events on television I have to remind myself that this is the USA and not the former Soviet Union. It has really gotten that bad...and I as an outsider can see it whereas many who live with it every day might not see that.
This event probably was the catalyst for my change in thinking about the USA. It made me realize the stark difference between the way lives are lived there now and the way Americans used to live and how we still live here in Canada. And I could weep for the people of America who value and prize their freedom above all else. I want to shout at the politicians, "Can't you see that in your zeal to protect yourselves and your country that you are becoming a police state?" "Can't you see that you are losing your precious freedom?"
I wonder what anyone can do to help bring back the America I love. I wonder how anyone can help the American people to feel safe again. I wonder how we can rediscover the spirit of America...that singing, uplifting, brave and life-affirming spirit that I have known for so long. I miss that spirit. I miss the American can-do attitude that has been overshadowed by the fear. I ask "Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave 'or the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE?" That's the America I know and love and that's the America I hope we can find once again. I miss my old and valued friend...the country that was such a shining example of democracy. I want it back. Don't you?