Viewpoints

After Goolsbee-gate, should we invade Canada? Hold off, for now

Photo: Tom Tian/The Chicago Maroon

Oh Canada, say it isn’t so! All of North America is in turmoil over the revelation that a Canadian bureaucrat told the press that Barack Obama is a politician who sometimes says things he doesn’t mean.

The controversy began when Barack Obama sent his senior economic adviser to explain to the Canadians that, despite speeches to the contrary, the Illinois senator actually understands economics. The details of the advisor’s private remarks were leaked, and now Canada and the U.S. are pitted against one another. The U.S. has accused Canada of interfering in its domestic politics, and Canada has responded by pointing out that the U.S. interferes in everyone’s domestic politics. Tempers are high, opinion polls (presumably) show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support an immediate invasion of Canada, and John McCain has warned that we may have a military presence in Canada for the next thousand years.

Admittedly, it’s hard not to get swept up in the war hype. Invading Canada would be as fun as it sounds and probably quite satisfying. And yet, it’s worth taking a step back to make a sober evaluation of the situation. Upon close inspection, it becomes clear that there are legitimate reasons not to invade Canada. In fact, my fellow Americans, we need a boring, autonomous Canada in order for us to continue to bleed red, white, and blue.

Indeed, without Canada, Americans would probably succumb to depression. Pew Global Attitudes reports, “Since 2002…the image of the United States has declined in most parts of the world.” In 2007, for example, only nine percent of Turkish citizens surveyed had a positive image of the U.S. Normally, such negative opinions would prompt a crisis of confidence: Americans would be forced to take a long, hard look in the mirror and probably embark on the difficult process of changing the way their country operates.

Luckily, we have Canada to mock. No matter how unpopular our country becomes; no matter how embarrassing or nonsensical our president is, we have an important fact to fall back on: Canada is completely lame. Canada’s nondescript populace, boring politics, and stupid flag make it an obvious target for derision, allowing Americans to channel their doubts and negative feelings into something fun. Mocking Canada saves us from the potentially depressing process of introspection and helps improve everyone’s mood. Canada is like that complete loser in high school you made fun of when you were feeling sad. Sure, you didn’t actually have good reasons to make fun of him, but it sure made you feel better about yourself!

Of course, there are some problems that Americans can’t avoid. For example, why is Larry the Cable Guy so popular? It’s disheartening that he exists, and downright terrifying that he makes so much money by starring in bad movies and saying things that aren’t very funny. What does this so-called comedian’s popularity reveal about the true character of America?

The answer seems like it would be quite frightening. Luckily, Canada prevents us from having to even ask the question. Canadians look, and often sound, exactly like Americans. While this makes it difficult to appropriately discriminate against them, Canadians’ outward resemblance to Americans is actually a blessing in disguise. If they are superficially identical to us, then any American could secretly be a Canadian. Thus, we can assume that every American we don’t like is actually Canadian and avoid explaining how our country could produce and support the more enervating people in society. Find Larry the Cable Guy tiresome and obnoxious? He actually got his start as a Quebecois standup comedian named Laurent the Satellite Gentleman.

Upon further review, then, Canada is actually necessary for our survival. If there were no Canada, the U.S. would face a scary world in which we were responsible for a lot of bad things, including Larry the Cable Guy. With our neighbor to the north around, we can forget our worries and, as the South Park movie put it, “blame Canada.” Of course, I’m not advocating letting Canada get away with interfering with a U.S. election. It’s profoundly offensive that some Canadian would try to scuttle the presidential campaign of my preferred candidate. We should demand an apology, and economic sanctions are probably in order. But we would be wise not to punish them too much. After all, they’re Canadians, and that’s punishment enough.