I was sitting waiting for some food today in the Philly airport, when I looked down and noticed that my wallet, both of my bags and my jacket were all made by Canadian companies. It sparked a feeling of Canadian pride.
It then got me thinking to a moment from last week, when I was sitting at Town Hall in Cleveland, and the bartender was telling us about his passion for various craft brews across the US. I asked if he had tried some Canadian craft beers, as we also had a thriving scene, when he responded that they ‘prided themselves on all-American’. I felt a bit taken aback by the comment.
A bit later that evening, I was talking to a colleague about the music festival I’m involved with at home – the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival – and he asked me what type of music I listened to. As I started to name some artists, I realized that most of them were Canadian.
It struck me, as I was sitting looking at my Canadian apparel in the Philly airport, that while I prided myself on being a proud Canadian, I also was simultaneously a bit offended by a bartender’s ‘all-American’ statement. Patriotism is an interesting thing. The good parts of it are to be celebrated – a shared identity, the desire to lift each other up, to build something together – to be held alongside the not-so-good parts – the parts that create ‘others’.
They are opposing views, and I happened to hold both of them.
Like most things, pride and patriotism require some critical thinking and recognizing that finding balance is delicate.