The West Coast Wire

Where has the kinder United States gone?


To the editor:

Dear United States of America,

I wanted to write to you after seeing you on the news so often lately. It’s getting really difficult to understand how, and why, your behaviour is completely out of control.

You’re not the same country where I grew up. My decision to move to Canada over 40 years ago is paying dividends beyond my expectatio­ns. We’re not perfect, mind you, but so far, we seem to be able to adapt to the many changes this modern life has thrown to the rest of the world. But the USA isn’t looking that attractive anymore.

Don’t misunderst­and me, I still have a certain pride of place that I inherited from my ancestors. The small coal mining town in southweste­rn Pennsylvan­ia where I was born and grew up instilled an excellent work ethic that has served me well. And knowing that my ancestry there takes me back to 1743, before you were even a country, is a great self- identifier. I’ve learned that nearly all societies share that pride of place concept, even the natives who suffered through our unstoppabl­e destiny.

Something is happening to you that defies logic. A country like yours that was always considered a beacon of opportunit­y and rich beyond measure is squanderin­g its good fortune. Many political leaders seem to be placing more emphasis on their own advancemen­t at the expense of otherwise common folks. Common folks have bought into the lies and deception, as more and more people are concentrat­ed on exercising both their belief in inalienabl­e rights and a number of assumed rights, and completely ignoring the responsibi­lities that come with any self-determined rights. How come?

We used to visit you on a regular basis. My brothers and their families still live where they always have. We’ve enjoyed your warm beaches on a number of Canadian winters. When one gets a little older, and a little less mobile, a warm beach is far more tolerable than a long, cold Canadian winter, at least for some of us.

But, we’re much less likely to do that again. We’re afraid we might get shot at if we accidental­ly blow the car’s horn or turn around in someone’s driveway because we got lost. Or, while taking in a show, someone decides to (enact violence). Maybe someone across the street from our rented condo sees our Newfoundla­nd plates and thinks we’re up to no good and desires to deliver some instant justice.

These aren’t unreasonab­le fears. They’re to be expected responses to the unreasonab­le behaviour exhibited by your own citizens. It’s as if the country is on some kind of medication that makes them violent. Its illogical responses to a run on toilet paper making ordinary people do really stupid things. We don’t get it. Especially when we know the majority of your citizens are just as normal as we think we are, and just as appalled at the bad behaviour of those acting out of control.

We may lose the opportunit­y to visit there, but that’s a small price to pay to feel safe and not be surrounded by people who have “the right to bear arms” tattooed on their forehead in invisible ink. My pride of place feeling may take a serious hit because of the way you’ve been acting, but that’s OK. It may be just an illusion but feeling that my kids and grandkids are safer here than they are there suits me just fine. I do, however, still fear for my family and friends in the USA.

Alex Harrold Westport, N.L.

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