Just a few years after I arrived in Canada, we had the tragedy of 9/11. The outpouring of love and support to Don and me was amazing – as US citizens, we were the symbol of the US through those trying days to Canadian friends and co-workers. Those warm feelings soon turned to curiosity and questioning, as Bush squandered the world’s goodwill. Instead of being the recipient of sympathetic thoughts, I began to field more and questions about the US political system, and how things could work the way they were working. I felt like I was becoming an accidental apologist – one who defends or justifies a particular belief or system.
I didn’t field many questions about Afghanistan, as Canada signed up for that one right away. Iraq was a different story. Then came the 2004 election, with shock reverberating about how Bush could possibily have been re-elected. These questions/concerns were particularly difficult, because Don & I disagreed with the Iraq and did not support Bush’s re-election. (Make no mistake: we didn’t support him in 2000, either.)
I will gladly shed the role of trying to explain decisions and electoral results that I didn’t agree with in the first place. I won’t have to be embarrassed for my country, or our fellow US citizens. I can be a proud ex-pat once again! I’m looking forward to that role – a role that’s been far too long in coming. Already I’ve received many e-mails, from a variety of sources, congratulating me – and, by extension – the US for its wise decision yesterday.
The next few years are not going to be easy. Lots of very tough decisions wil lhave to be made, and I won’t agree with all of them. But believe me, it’s sure nice to be proud of the US again!