“Sheila, what do Canadians think of what is going on here in the USA?”
That was the question posed to me following the Orlando shootings from a coaching colleague who lives in the Pacific Northwest.
Since then, there has been more carnage. More tragedy. More insanity. The unthinkable is sadly becoming the new normal for our neighbours to the South.
While I cannot speak for all Canadians, I can speak from the perspective of the Canadians I know.
It is said that “When the USA sneezes, Canada catches a cold,” and so it is that we here north of the border are feeling heartbroken and saddened by what is happening to our neighbours.
My response to my American friend was this: “We Canadians simply do not understand.”
Basically, we don’t understand two things:
Why, arguably, the most powerful nation in the world does not take care of its citizens with universal health care.
And, even more so, we do not understand the American love affair with guns.
We, or at least the people I know, just don’t get it. Owning or carrying a fire arm is simply not part of our culture.
Although we here in Canada are not without our problems with violence, we are, by and large a culture that does embrace a reliance on guns. We don’t have a love affair with weapons. It is not now, and hopefully never will be, something we admire about any culture.
My friend was quick to point out that she and her friends do not embrace guns, either.
And, yet, we hear after every shooting and every tragedy in the U.S. that gun sales go up.
I grew up 6 miles from the U.S. border and, as a child, admired so much about the States.
I loved my frequent visits because the Americans had cooler clothes, they had Disney and Broadway, they produced great movies, and even the food was more interesting.
Pecan pie, boiled peanuts, and key-lime-anything did not exist in my Canadian awareness and contributed, somehow, to the mystique that I created in my young mind about the U.S.
I am no longer enamored with the good ole U.S. of A.
There seems little to admire anymore.
I am hesitant to travel to its larger cities, and I now perceive weakness and fear taking over the country I used to love so much.
I feel grateful everyday that I live in Canada.
If I could convey one message to our friends in the USA, it would be this:
Your guns are not keeping you safe.
These murders are calling each of you and all of us to lay down our arms.
Give up the fight.
Surrender your right to shoot and kill in favour of embracing a collective birthright to peace and love.
Everyone has access to an enlightened belief system, one which relies not on guns and constant distrust but on understanding that each of us has the capacity to care deeply for others. It requires that we put aside our self-interests (not an easy thing to do) and think about the collective we.
Enlightened leaders have a special role and a special mission.
If you would like to know more about the nuts and bolts of the enlightened belief system and how it can transform your corner of the workplace, please… be in touch.
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