Americans love to mythologize their history. That proclivity has played a vital role in maintaining their cherished notion of American exceptionalism.
Witness the myth that they won the War of 1812, the war the United States declared for the specific purpose of conquering and annexing Canada. Oh sure they had ten times our population and vastly better lines of communication and all sorts of tactical advantages but we drove them out, repeatedly, didn't we? We're not still here because they wanted it that way. Remember that when you get the great barrage of triumphalism from south of the border when the war's bicentennial arrives in just two years.
Canada was America's first war of aggression and conquest, its very first foreign war, and it ended the way a lot of their foreign wars have been ending lately. I guess when you get your ass handed to you on a platter a little mythological salve is okay. We'll look the other way. But only up to a point.
For some strange reason, American politicians since 9/11 have repeatedly clung to the myth that the 9/11 terrorists got into the U.S. via lax security at the Canadian border. Now, with the midterm Congressional elections nearing they're at it again. Naturally it's coming from the shallow end of the gene pool, a Tea Partier.
The Chicken Lady, Sharon Angle who is running against fellow Nevadan Harry Reid came up with this zinger: “what we know is our northern border is where the terrorists came through.” Ambassador Gary Doer has written to this ditz to set the record straight. Yet it's become a bit tedious. Other prominent Americans who've spewed this same nonsense include Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, John McCain and Newt Gingrich. I'm sure there have been others, plenty of them.
When will Americans figure out that it was their government that issued visas allowing every one of the 9/11 hijackers to come right through the front door?
By the way, I'm dusting off my own collection of War of 1812 artifacts in preparation for the bicentennial. To me, that was the most important war Canada ever fought and won. If we had lost it, I or my brother might well have been drafted to fight in Vietnam and you and I might now be living with the likes of Glenn Beck, the Patriot Act and the Tea Party. When you think about it, you owe a real debt of gratitude to those British regulars, our Canadian militiamen who fought with the Voltigeurs, the Canadian Fencibles, the Glengarry Light Infanty and smaller Canadian forces and heroes like Isaac Brock, Charles de Salaberry and the "Green Tiger" himself, James Fitzgibbon.