I have lived equal parts of my adult life in Canada and in The United States, and I have dual citizenship, Canadian and American.
Where is my heart? In both places.
But, the part of my heart that loves America hurts. My bank of outrage is in overdraft. My vocabulary for the unspeakable is exhausted.
But still, the love is there.
Marriage took me twice to the United States: For three years, in the mid 50s, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where my then husband was studying on a track scholarship. And then in 1980, i moved to Manhattan where I married a third generation New Yorker.
I did not want to live on the surface of that vibrant, cosmopolitan city, but to be engaged in its communities, to know more than Park and Fifth Avenues. As so much of making lives better is dependent on public policy, I needed the right to vote in the United States and, fortunately, I was able to become an American citizen without giving up my Canadian citizenship.
During that heady,, exciting time in the United States, I met a wide range of people who knew how to use their power – from Brooke Astor, who used the power of money, to the grandmothers in the Bronx who used the power of love to get rid of the drug dealers on their block. I dined with intellectuals like Arthur Schlesinger and Ted Sorenson, Bill Buckley and Osborne Elliott. Sitting on the periphery of my husband’s foundations’ projects in criminal justice and housing, along with my board service on the Ciizens Committee for New York, i met individuals whose lives were dedicated to making a difference. I had a wide experience in the USA. We lived in Manhattan, spent months in Maine, found an oasis on Long Island. As Ontario’s Agent General, I met business leaders as well as artists, journalists, and government officials in Atlanta, Boston, chicago, and Dallas, and met the Governors of many states.
Back home, when I met someone who said they were anti-American, I could with justification ask them, “Which American?” so varied is the country, and its people.
Now, for myself, I can answer, “Which American?” Donald Trump.
Donald Trump represents everything I abhor in a human being. Do not let anyone tell you that he is a New Yorker – he is the antithesis of everything that makes someone a New Yorker. Manhattan did not accept him socially, and it did not vote for him. Nor did I. Fortunately, everyone I know did vote in the last presidential election and none of them voted for Trump My stomach churns at the thought of those who did not vote, who let their dislike of Hilary override what was at stake.
So, back in Canada now, a widow, choosing to end my days where they began, will I join in a boycott of American products to stick my finger in Trump’s eye? Yes.
Will I continue to visit my daughter and grandson in Maine as well as friends in New York? Yes.
Will I renounce my American citizenship? No. Because that would be giving in, giving up hope that concerned citizens can take the government and the culture back. I believe they can, and that they will.
I have beside me The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Peter Jennings, who like me was a Torontonian living in Manhattan, always carried a copy of it in his pocket.
“We hold these truths to be self evident: that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness–That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government….”
The Mueller report is coming, hopefully in time to affect a Supreme Court Nomination.
And November is coming.