Monday, October 27, 2008

Cowboys versus Mounties

Sarah Vowell compares the American and Canadian way of life in Cowboys v. Mounties. She uses the symbol of a cowboy to represent a typical American and a mountie, or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to symbolize a typical loyal, caring, and peaceful Canadian. Vowell brings up valid arguments including the issues of patriotism, coexistence, personality differences, manners, and individualism to compare the two types of peoples. Although I know very little about Canadian lifestyle, I agree with her notion that Americans are more negative when it comes to patriotism; they tend to put others down and act as the dominant force in order to make themselves look good or feel superior. According to Vowell, Canadians do not display this “swagger or hate.” I had an assistant principal in high school that was Canadian and was brought up there. I can truly say that if all Canadians are as nice, polite, patient, and understanding as he was, then Vowell’s general statement that Canadians have a more likable personality and a nicer way of life is completely true. It takes a huge incident, as for example 911, for Americans to come together and show patriotism for their country, where Canadians, according to Vowell, show love for their country in open public. Vowell also speaks about coexistence and peace based on individualism in comparing Americans and Canadians. I agree on her observation that Americans tend to be more aggressive and impulsive. After all, America is an individualistic country and people tend to chase their own goals and aspirations while not really caring much for their neighbor. After September 11th happened, America was in great determination ready to seek revenge, simply because it was the great power of America, and how could anyone disrespect America like that??!?! Instead of talking problems over, as Canadians would do, Americans act on impulse and fight instead. One last difference between the two that Vowell points out is the fairness of law that Canadians supposedly have and America is trying to reach. I admire Vowell’s views on this issue because I strongly agree. While Canada can peacefully coexist, Americans are to date still racist, hateful, and disrespectful to many minority groups. Southern states still see confederate flags in racism against the blacks. What was a part of American history has not been able to be separated from today’s society. My only concern on Vowell’s proposals is exactly how valid her statements are. Nowhere have we received information that Vowell actually experienced Canadian life and knows so much about their lifestyles.

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