We’re going to have to talk about America at some point.

“America, I love you but you’re freaking me out…”

– America (You’re Freaking Me Out), The Menzingers

The USA is number 1. Number 1 in rate of COVID-19 infections and yesterday surpassed over 100,000 deaths from the disease. With a global death tally of over 300,000, the USA has roughly a third of all deaths for this pandemic. It should be clear to any impartial observer that America has absolutely failed in meeting this challenge.

One has to shake their head at this and wonder. How did America get to this point. While its an easy scapegoat to blame President Donald Trump for his abject failure as leader, I tend to look far broader than the Oval Office. The seeds for this failure were sown years ago. Their culture has been decidedly anti-science, fear based and less compassionate over the last few decades. One only needs to see the daily news reports of militia storming the Michigan legislature, or the partiers in the Ozarks, or the protesters marching in violation of social distancing guidelines to see America’s failure goes far beyond Washington.

I am truly thankful to live in Canada right now. Our leadership across all political lines and levels of government are focused on handling this crisis and seeing us through it. While there have been missteps, all levels of government have my confidence that we will come through this pandemic on a sound footing. I can’t say the same about our neighbours to the south. Rates of infection and death continue to rise unabated. Their mad enthusiasm to ignore basic health safety measures in favour of perceived economic reward is going to result in tragedy.

This fact is no doubt one of the reason why our border, the longest undefended border in the world, remains closed. Save for essential goods, we no longer interact with our closest ally and trading partner. Right now, this situation does not appear to be changing in the foreseeable future. It is prudent though for Canadians to begin planning for a future where this doesn’t change. Many are operating on the assumption that Democrat nominee Joe Biden will win the Presidency. However, we all operated on the same basis presuming Hilary Clinton would win in 2016. We all know how history unfolded. We cannot allow ourselves to remain this complacent again. The truth of the matter is, we should plan and expect for Donald Trump to be re-elected as president of the United States.

Should this eventuality come to pass, it would no doubt signal to the global community that the USA is abdicating it’s position as global leader. Here in Canada, our reliance on the USA for economic sustenance will be jeopardized. We will have to turn to new partners and systems to ensure our standard of life. As our allies start to emerge from the pandemic and reorganize their economies and ways of life to a new normal, we must meet them and forge a new future for all of us.

I don’t know what the parameters will be and what a consensus will look like. We will have to wait and see what systems are salvageable and what capabilities we all have to create a new international order. If America is ready and able to assist in the creation of this new world that is terrific but we cannot hold out hope for this to happen. As we look at our two counties different approaches to this pandemic, it is clear we are two very different cultures. The old myth of a Canadian is just an American without a gun and healthcare is no longer. We are on two very divergent paths of social and possibly economic development. The pandemic has made that crystal clear now. I don’t know what the future will hold for Canada, but what I hope is clear to Canadians is we cannot afford to be dragged down the path America is on right now.

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