Thank you, Canada. Seriously, we needed that.
The US presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has bitterly divided the US electorate and put many of its least attractive traits on display. Anxiety over what’s happening—and what may happen after election day—has escalated to the point that the American Psychological Association recently suggested stress coping mechanisms for American voters.
But good friends and neighbors that they are, many Canadians are taking to social media to send a message of encouragement to the US. They want Americans to know that they’ll get through it, and they’re reminding America why it’s great.
As the New York Times reported (paywall), the campaign—started by the Toronto-based agency Garden Collective—is using YouTube and the hashtag #TellAmericaItsGreat on Twitter to collect positive messages from Canadians. “Seems America could use some cheering up right about now,” the campaign site says. “As their closest friends and neighbours, we thought we should take a minute to help remind them that no matter how bad things might seem at the moment, there are lots of reasons why we think they’re still pretty great.”
Notably, the campaign offers a subtle rebuke to the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” America, it says, is already great. It just needs to be reminded of that.
Canada is right that its neighbor needs a pep talk. The divisions here are deeper than policy matters, raising existential questions like: Is the country still a land of opportunity? Is it still a refuge for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses? If all people are created equal, as our Declaration of Independence proclaimed, why are communities of color still treated unequally, and why are women still so frequently subject to assault and harassment?
The messages from Canadians, which range from the personal to the proverbial, seek to remind us of what the US has already achieved. Many are delivered with a sincerity that should make any American feel heartfelt pride.
The US still has a few weeks to go until the election. But we’ll get through it. Thanks for the support, Canada. You guys are great.