|by Alice Cherbonnier|
Not all of us are like that, of course. But too many of us are. How bad is the situation? Well, when Canadian Robert McDougall forwarded us a raging letter to the editorso hot it almost burns off the pagewe wondered: Will this resonate with anyone besides us? And we posted it in the op-ed section of our August online edition.
To our astonishment, the Open Letter to America from a Canadian was quickly linked all over the Webby conservatives, progressives, libertarians, even a parent education site. We have received over 500 letters about it, from all over North America, plus England, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and Finland. A printout of the first 450 letters takes up over 200 typeset pages. The shortest reads Decaf; the next-shortest (three different submissions) told us to F*ck Off. On the other hand, we received several heartfelt rejoinders that were Open Letters to America in themselves.
About 30% of the letters are more vicious even than McDougallsand use even more rude wordsbut in disagreement with him. These generally informed all Canadians that they have no business criticizing the US because (a) the US protects Canadians; (b) Canadians are weaklings who are US wannabes; (c) The US is the strongest nation on earth and doesnt need anyone telling it what to do, so butt outeh? (Heres a short one: Hey, McDougall. Bite me. What did Canada ever do, anyway?)
Another 5%, mostly Canadians, agreed in principle with McDougall and expressed concern that our Neighbor to the North suffers from many of the ills Mr. McDougall attributes to the US. (...The only difference is that Canada is not under global scrutiny because nothing happens there that anyone gives a damn about.)
Another five percent questioned in the strongest possible terms our editorial judgment in publishing McDougalls letter.
But then there were the 60% of letters that agreed in whole or in part with McDougall. One reader from Minnesota called his letter amazing and said I feel that the solution to this embarrassing ignorance is for American media to pick up editorials and articles from critical outside perspectives in order to enable Americans to see ourselves as we truly are. Indeed.
Overwhelmed with responses, we will gradually publish the letters we have received at http://baltimorechronicle.com. Please drop by and learn what people really think.