America better than its politicians


The Associated Press



Canadians delivered a love note to Americans via social media, and it was basically the international equivalent of taking a casserole to a neighbor in need.

Clearly our friends to the north can tell this election season is making a lot of us queasy.

The #TellAmericaItsGreat campaign includes a video in which several dozen Canadians tell us what’s right about our country.

“We know you’ve got some really big decisions to make,” says one. But “as you think about your future, we want you to know we really think you’re great.”

Why? There’s jazz. There are the National Parks. There’s America’s diversity and openness. We dream big and when “things are tough, you fight to make them better.”

But really.

Why?

“Sometimes friends just need to look out for each other,” said Shari Walczak, a founder of The Garden collective, an image marketing agency behind the effort.

In a blog post called “A Friend in Need,” the agency spelled it out:

“It’s no secret that America is going through a hard time right now. The election has exposed some pretty scary realities that will likely challenge them for years to come, regardless of who’s elected. They’ve been bombarded with a tremendous amount of negativity and it’s likely that for many of them, the immediate future seems rather bleak. … America could probably use a little cheering up.”

At a time we’re churning out so much rich material for comics and other peddlers of satire and one-liners, these Canadians decided a little kindness might be more helpful.

How right they are.

It’s not just neighborly. It’s a welcome reminder that we, the people of the United States, are bigger and better than any one election cycle.

These pro-America messages are a necessary reminder that America is better than its politicians. And that we will get through this — with a little help from our friends.

The pro-America campaign is the nice thing to do, which feeds into the stereotype about Canadians and will no doubt provide some fodder for those comics and one-line peddlers. So what? Have at it, laughmeisters.

Kindness is the only thing we need more than a good laugh right now.

We tend to undervalue power of nice.

The Canadians who took the time to put together this Ode to the USA know us. In Arizona, Canadians have made significant investments in real estate and business, which builds on long-standing relationships with winter visitors.

There’s an endearing sincerity to taking the time to spread a little kindness. Let’s face it: The power of nice is something Americans tend to undervalue in our own celebrity-driven culture.

When things settle down — or sooner — Americans might think about a concerted effort to share some goodwill with our neighbor to the south. The U.S. presidential election has been tough on Mexico, too.

All three countries have a vested interest in taking care of the neighborhood.

Anyone who has ever gotten a casserole in a time of need knows the value of small acts of kindness.

Let’s respond with generosity of spirit.

The American family is feeling bruised and bitter, but we still share common values and a long history of getting through tough times together. One of the characteristically American attributes mentioned in the Canadian video is our generosity in the form of charitable giving.

Right now, we need to respond to each other with generosity of spirit.

Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?

Yet Americans responded to the #TellAmericaItsGreat campaign with #ThankYouCanada.

Sure. It’s a small thing — especially if you stay tightly wrapped in a cloak of cynicism.

But it’s also a kindness that speaks to what’s good in us and our international neighbors. This is a good time to look for our better angels.

This column was produced by the Arizona Republic.

The Associated Press