After Canada Day, we tend to ignore big acts of patriotism and shield ourselves from the inevitable onslaught of American pride coming three days later. Yes, the Fourth of July is a quiet time for Canadians while we let our neighbours have their moment and silently judge their star-spangled shorts, bucket hats and bikinis. With all the American media around–and social media in particular–it’s almost impossible to ignore the cries of ‘God Bless America.’ So, we can’t help but notice that there are different sentiments expressed on the Fourth than what we hear on Canada Day. Words like ‘freedom,’ ‘patriotism,’ and ‘independence’ pepper American ads, while we usually stick to plain old ‘Canadian pride.’
John Cena, an American wrestler-turned-actor, addressed typical (reductive) American patriotism in an ad that is so inclusive and anti-hate, it almost seems Canadian. He starts off by asking his audience to picture the ‘average American’ and then proceeds to deconstruct that image through real population statistics. We are all picturing a large white, middle-aged straight man as the average American when in reality, 51 per cent of the population is female and almost half the country is made up of minorities. Mind = blown.
In Canada–the country with the highest foreign-born population–we know a thing or two about diversity and acceptance. Our Prime Minister marched in the Toronto Pride Parade, for crying out loud! Cena’s message that ‘to love America is to love all Americans because love has no labels’ is something we don’t generally see on good ol’ Independence Day. In fact, that kind of statement is scarce any day.
We’re not claiming to be perfect or even as inclusive as we should be, but it’s just nice to see an advertisement address xenophobic patriotism. Ultimately the message is: love the people that make up your country as much as you love the idea of your country, which seems pretty Canadian-like to us. We do preach ‘true patriot love’ in our national anthem.
Also, how ’bout John Cena there? We’re pretty impressed with what he had to say and a little surprised to see it come from the guy who played Amy Schumer’s mess of a side-piece in Trainwreck. Mark us down as pleasantly surprised.
So good on ya, America (and John Cena). Your northern neighbour is proud.