18 March 2013

Americans

The citizens of the United States of America have a major problem: What do they call themselves? Most of them don’t realize they have this problem, but those of us that live in the other American countries can see it quite clearly. Of course, I’m from Canada, and it seems many Canadians don’t see this problem as clearly as all the American countries south of the U.S.A. The reason many Canadians don’t see this problem as clearly is that we’d almost be the 51st state if it wasn’t for our loyalty to the Crown that our neighbours to the south rebelled against.

Now the difference between a rebellion and a revolution is all in your perspective. Take Benedict Arnold for example. Depending on your perspective, he could have been a traitor or he could have been a loyalist. Since Canadians are loyal to the Crown that Benedict Arnold was loyal to, they really should see him as a loyalist. However, it’s been my experience that many don’t really know who he was and assume he was a traitor due to all the media crossing the border. As for me, I’m just going to sit on the fence for this one, or at least not tell you my opinion.

The name America came from Amerigo Vespucci who died without ever knowing that the New World was named after him. At first, the name was only applied to South America, but was soon extended to North America.

All this took place in the 16th century. A little more than couple centuries later, thirteen British colonies revolted (or rebelled) against the British empire, eventually calling themselves the United States of America. Since the revolt was successful, they called it the American War of Independence. However, it was only thirteen colonies in America that gained independence at that time, and there were many more colonies. Many of these colonies in America were not even British colonies, particular to the south where the name America was originally applied. These other colonies in America eventually gain partial or total independence from the empires that colonized them.

Now, these colonies in South America that gained independence would seem to have even greater claim to the name America since it was their part of the New World that this name was first applied to. As well, the person this name came from, Amerigo Vespucci, was part of the Spanish exploration of the southern part of the New World, even though he was originally from Italy. However, none of these other colonies that gain independence used the word America in their name. However, there is a community in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas called América, as well as a city in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina. (I think this is not too far from where Pope Francis is from. Far is a relative term. I’m from a very big province that doesn’t have very many big cities.)

This is where the problem is. There are many people that can call themselves Americans, but many citizens of the United States of America think that they are the only ones. It’s not really their fault. I mean, what else can they call themselves? The words United and States are not particularly descriptive by themselves; although, you do hear people say they're from the States. However, Statians sounds rather odd, so the only word that’s left is Americans.

So since they’ve got nothing to call themselves other than Americans, some could reason that they are the only Americans. (There are a few Christian denominations that do this.) Of course, this kind of reasoning may lead one to send food to Hungary and warm blankets to Chile. (This makes more sense if you spell as bad as I do.) I don’t know how well Hungarians are doing for food, but Chile is very far south, they even claims part of Antarctica.

Canadians don’t really care. Just give us some beer and back bacon and we’ll be happy in our igloos. The problem is with all those Americans to the south of the U.S.A. Some of them even get offended with the terms South America and North America, and don’t even mention the term Central America. To them, there is only America.

To be honest, Canadians do care, but we don’t say much. With most of the Americans to the south of the U.S.A., it’s pretty obvious they are not from the U.S.A. Canadians, on the other hand, are confused for being from the U.S.A. all the time and get called, “Americans.” We don’t really like this, particularly in some countries. We always make sure we have a Canadian flag visible on us for safety reasons. It seems there are many people that don’t like the U.S.A., but have no problem with Canada. I mean, who would have a problem with a people that are happy as long as they’ve got some beer and back bacon?



(I apologize to all Canadian about the “back bacon” comment if they are fasting from meat during Lent such as many Eastern Christians. Only a couple more weeks and you can stop eating beans. Gee, I could go for some hummus right now.)



All this stems from something I posted on Facebook a couple days ago:
WARNING: I'm feeling rather sarcastic right now and Obama's statement to the Holy Father has been bugging me for a couple days, so I'm going to post it below along with my reading between the lines. If you do not like what I have to say about Obama, please feel free to ridicule my favourite politician, St. Thomas More. However, when you do, I expect the same historical accuracy in your ridicule of my patron saint as I use with Obama.
"On behalf of the American people [even though I'll acknowledge you come from the Americas, I do not consider you and your people American], Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy.

As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us [who are being killed due to legislation that I champion], he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years-that in each other we see the face of God [but it is above my pay grade as to when to start seeing that face].

As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world [ignoring the fact that the Catholic Church completely shaped the world long before my country was ever founded], and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans [completely ignoring the millions of American Catholics that are not Hispanic], those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day.

Just as I appreciated our work with Pope Benedict XVI, I look forward to working with His Holiness to advance peace, security and dignity for our fellow human beings, regardless of their faith [except Catholicism, which I'm persecuting and trying to make illegal]. We join with people around the world in offering our prayers for the Holy Father as he begins the sacred work of leading the Catholic Church in our modern world [against my best efforts]."