I don't love the idea of nationalism. The "us" vs the rest has gotten too many countries into trouble in the past (and the present) and that love of an illusion of a separate identity has led to people forgetting that we are humans before anything else. It's dangerous and can lead to huge levels of aggression, hostility and narrow-mindedness.
That being said, however, if I am honest, I would have to say that I love Canada Day. It represents so much to me - summer, time with friends, a chance to reflect of just how incredibly lucky we are and a chance to think about what means the most in crafting a nation.
Some things I love about Canada:
- that the colour of your skin almost always doesn't matter
-that a huge pride celebration was happening the same weekend as our celebrations - I may have some ambiguity about Pride, I am thrilled to live in a country in which people can safely go out and announce who they are, even when it goes against the norm, and they are safe
-our health care system
-that we don't seem to be ruled by fear or anger, like many of the countries around us
-the many (sadly, not all) Canadians can be honest about the times that our country didn't do what it should and that we want to make things right
-that to be Canadian does not mean that you were born here, grew up speaking English and hold with the religion of the majority
-wide open spaces and very distinct seasons
-that when we called the police today to help us with our shed being spray painted, the officer was not someone of whom we needed to be afraid and, in fact, he and my dh chatted for half an hour
-two languages, many founding cultures
-being able to eat the cuisines of the entire world within 15 or 20 minutes of our small town
What concerns me about living in Canada:
-our apathy towards the struggles of people around the world
-the horrid living conditions on native reserves in many areas of our country
-children living in poverty here within our own boundaries
-our living well off the sweat of others around the world
-the damage that we may be doing to the environment with Alberta oil plans
As we enjoyed the wonderful times with friends at a barbecue, time in a wading pool in the city with my parents, visiting a fair and watching fireworks (and I LOVE the fact that our town has everyone stand and sing O Canada before they begin), I pray that we can continue to enjoy freedom enjoyed by few around the world and that we can export that freedom and safety to others. I also hope that we can take responsibility for improving the lives of those around us who don't enjoy the same high standard of living.
I hope you had a wonderful Canada Day and, for my American friends, a lovely July 4th!