Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Apology to Canada From Your Southern Neighbor

by DAVID SWANSON

Secession first he would put down
Wholly and forever,
And afterwards from Britain’s crown
He Canada would sever.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy.
Mind the music and the step
and with the girls be handy!

I don’t speak for the United States or harbor any affection for nationalism.  I’d break this country into several manageable pieces if I could.  But I think someone owes you an apology, Canada — and, much as our political leaders are accused of making apologies (as if that were a bad thing) I don’t expect any of them to get it remotely right any time soon.  So, here goes.

As a Virginian, let me begin by apologizing for the fact that, six-years after the British landing at Jamestown, with the settlers struggling to survive and hardly managing to get their own local genocide underway, these new Virginians hired mercenaries to attack Acadia and drive the French out of what they considered their continent (even if they failed).  I’m sorry, also, that this idea never went away, that the Virginia-based U.S. military still thinks as the Jamestown settlers thought, centuries of cultural progress having passed it by.

I’m sorry that the colonies that would become the United States decided to take over Canada in 1690 (and failed, again).  I’m sorry that they got the British to help them in 1711 (and failed, yet again).  I’m sorry that General Braddock and Colonel Washington tried again in 1755 (and still failed).  I’m sorry for the ethnic cleansing perpetrated and the driving out of the Acadians and the Native Americans.

I’m sorry for the British and U.S. attacks of 1758 that took away your fort, renamed it Pittsburgh, and eventually built a giant stadium across the river dedicated to the glorification of ketchup.  It wasn’t your land any more than it was U.S. land, but I’m sorry for the aggression against you by the future-U.S. and by Britain.  I’m sorry that in 1760 you were conquered by Britain.  I’m more sorry for everything that came next.

I’m sorry that George Washington sent troops led by Benedict Arnold to attack Canada yet again in 1775, and that — unlike his future desertion — this action by Arnold was considered righteous and admirable.  I’m sorry that these imbeciles talked of liberation and expected to be welcomed with gratitude.  I’m sorry their descendants have suffered from the same delusions with regard to every new country invaded for centuries.  I’m sorry that the 13 colonies sought to impose the status of “14th colony” on you by force.  I’m sorry that an early draft of the U.S. Constitution provided for the inclusion of Canada, despite Canada’s lack of interest in being included.

I’m sorry that Benjamin Franklin asked the British to hand you over during negotiations for the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  I’m sorry that Britain, in fact, handed a large chunk of you over: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana.  If it makes you feel any better, 60 years later Mexico would catch it even worse.  I’m sorry to the Native American residents of the land handed over from Canada to the United States, as if land were ownable, and as if that land were uninhabited.

I’m sorry for the Louisiana Purchase.  I’m sorry for the War of 1812, and for the idiots who’ve been celebrating its bicentennial.  I’m sorry that Thomas Jefferson, whose house I see out my window, declared that you would be conquered purely by marching in and being welcomed.  I’m sorry that when Tecumseh tricked a U.S. general into believing he had many more troops than he had, the U.S. “intelligence” “community” was effectively born.  I’m sorry that, at the end of the war, the British agreed to betray you again, handing over territory.  I’m sorry that the drive to annex more never vanished.  I’m sorry that the U.S. got Oregon and Washington by the same means — negotiating with Britain, not you.

I’m sorry that, by the 1840s, with the take-over of half of Mexico underway, the strategy for the take-over of Canada began to focus more on the imposition of “free” trade agreements.  I’m sorry for the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854.  I’m sorry for the U.S. bribery of your politicians that put it through.

I’m sorry for the U.S. support for an Irish attack on you in 1866.  I’m sorry for the 1867 U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia, which was aimed at reducing you and weakening you.  I’m sorry that the U.S. Congress condemned your formation as a nation.  I’m sorry that the drive to annex you continued.  I’m sorry for the trade agreement of 1935, and the ever-growing push for “freer” trade agreements ever since, right up through the FTA, NAFTA, and the TPP.  I’m sorry that despite its greater wealth, the United States keeps dragging your social standards downward.

I’m sorry for all the assaults on your nation by the U.S. military, U.S. industry, U.S. labor unions, and the CIA.  I’m sorry that your military has been made a subsidiary of the U.S. military.  I’m sorry for so much U.S. interference in your elections.  I’m grateful for the refuge you’ve offered deserting U.S. soldiers.  I’m sorry that when your prime minister ever so slightly questioned U.S. genocide in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson picked him up by the neck, screaming “You pissed on my rug,” and that your prime minister then wrote to Johnson thanking him for speaking so frankly.  I’m sorry you’ve progressed from there to greater subservience.

I applaud you for pushing through the land mine ban despite U.S. interference.

I know you always had your own major problems.  I know the United States has given you good as well as bad.  But you resisted destructive domination mightily for many years.  Other nations curious about the U.S. and its spreading array of military bases should ask its nearest neighbors for references.  Your successful resistance, for so long, is an example to the world, and to your current self.  You overcame internal divisions to unite and survive.  Perhaps the rest of the world can follow suit.

David Swanson is author of War is a Lie. He lives in Virginia.

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book isWar No More: The Case for Abolition.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail