November 24, 2004
A tribute to America
A reader is kind enough to ask for a reprint of a special column that originally appeared in this space on August 4, 2000. The request was justified because our nation has just come through a very nasty election campaign, and for other reasons we have had to deal with matters related to foreign affairs. The original column was written by a non-U.S. citizen, and I agree that his sentiments are well worth contemplating right now. Here it is:
America: The Good Neighbor
Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record.
"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
"When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it. When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.
"The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC 10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the international lines except Russia fly American planes?
"Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon – not once, but several times—and safely home again. You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.
"When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.
"Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those. Stand proud, America!"
This piece was sent to me by Kit Froebel of New Braunfels, Texas. Most of us know her better as the former Margaret Norman, as she was called while growing up here and graduating from Perry High School. Her mother, Gertrude Norman Lockett, who taught school in Perry and elsewhere, now lives in Richmond, Texas. The article is a fine tribute to our country.