Between Canada Day and Independence Day in the United States there are few days to contemplate the different histories that together make up the North American experience.
We are all one people in many ways, along with Mexico, bound up by a ruggedness and vastness that typifies our nations. Our people all have a pioneering spirit and sense of getting things done that was born out of the empty spaces that surrounded more genteel notions of civilization. What we value on this continent are the skills that allowed us to survive in spite of constraints from afar.
The United States won its independence in a bloody revolution that required every ounce of our commitment and cunning. Canada achieved independence gradually, through a series of agreements that were only logical at the time. Mexico saw Father Hidalgo climb a hill and proclaim independence, which was the start of a peasant uprising that eventually filled the vacuum of a weakened Spain. How are all of these the same?
What matters in each case is that the soul of the nation was carried in the people before the politicians took up the cause. Mexico and the US are closer in this spirit, but even in a Canada of Peace, Order, and Good Government the cries for self-rule predated Dominion Status in 1867. We each had our own path, but the origins were the same. Our continent is a place apart from the machinations of afar. The people are as rugged as the land they became a part of.
As we celebrate Independence in the United States it is good to understand that what happened was, in many ways, inevitable. Our governments have always had to find some way to reconcile themselves with the people. We don’t take crap from anyone. While Mexicans may be more willing to simply look the other way at their government and Canadians may be more likely to organize around righteous indignation, our instincts are the same. We are a people of our land. We are Independent. Not because our government said we are, but because our land demands it of us. It’s a tough continent, but it provides to those who are at one with it.