Monday, April 20, 2009

'The quiet heroism of getting along'

David Manicom
We live on the edge of the Empire, at a great hinge between eras. Do you ever feel like the Enlightenment is slipping away, and the age of superstition is making a comeback? Perception is not reality... People want to come to Canada. I sometimes think, and dare to hope, that they want to come to a place where holy warrior is an oxymoron, where there is no city shining on a hill, where the truths aren't black and white, and where perceptions have some explaining to do.

Canadians might be forgiven for being the last to know that in many ways we're on our way to becoming the planet's leading experts in the quiet heroism of getting along... I believe Canada's success in welcoming newcomers can be largely attributed to the absence of national chauvinism in this country. Instead of expecting newcomers to conform to some already defined ideal of what it is to be Canadian, Canada seems to say, 'Come here and we'll build Canada together.'... 
I see the paradox of our chauvinism as the idea that Canada is the greatest country in the world because we don't think we're the greatest country in the world.

John Geddes, Maclean's: Ignatieff ends his new book by asking us to consider a radically changed world order (or disorder). He suggests that centres of power might have ceased to exist, at least in the ways that would have been understood by past generations... He says we are 'living the end of the American nigh noon.'... The best thing is not to be big and powerful but to be smart and well-governed... Now it seems more like Canada might be that rare thing -- a country that still has enough going for it to lift the merely talented toward the accomplishment of real service.

Image: Lindsay Yates, 'Seeing Canada' -- Mathieu Da Costa Challenge, Winning Artwork Ages 9-12, Regal Road Public School, Toronto.