"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Two Birthdays…..

The two countries who share the largest unprotected border in the world celebrate their birthdays this week. Today Canada turns 152 and on Thursday this week the U.S. turns 243. Once again on this birthday week, M5T explores some of the differences, commonalities and oddities of the two best countries in the world.  

1. Birthdays and Pursuits

Canada’s birth was in 1867 but, in true Canadian deeply considered decision-making process, it took another 115 years to establish the Constitution Act of 1982 to formally separate from the Brits. Canada’s Charter of Rights sets out that everyone has the fundamental rights of “freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other means of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.” Americans threw some tea into the Boston Harbor in 1773 to show their displeasure of all things British, and a mere three years later declared their independence in 1776 which held “truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” In Canada, the pursuit of Happiness was a pretty good rock band.

2. Cuisine and Beer

Canada has given the world culinary delicacies of poutine, maple syrup, butter tarts, pemmican and prairie oysters (bull calf testicles — for real; go ahead, Google it). The U.S. has contributed gastronomical delights of chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, corn dogs, s’mores, Rueben sandwiches, pop-tarts, grits and deep-fried everything. I used to think Canada had better beer; touring brew houses in Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend has changed my mind.

3. Confidence and Chambers

Both countries have a senate. In Canada, many don’t understand what the Canadian Senate really does and most likely can’t name a Canadian Senator, except for retired Senator Ken Dryden, but that’s only because his real job was keeping frozen black rubber disks out of a net for the Montreal Canadians. According to a recent Gallop poll, the majority of Americans have lost confidence in the U.S. Senate. Many Americans today are also unsure of what the U.S. Senate is actually doing and would like to forget the name of many senators.

4. What’s in a Name

Canada derives its name from an Iroquois word that means village. America got its name from Amerigo Vespucci, who explored the new continent following Christopher Columbus’ visit in 1492. Canadians are led by a prime minister who was a school teacher. Americans are led by a billionaire. Canadians have a collective mindset. They are quick to apologize and slow to make decisions. Americans are fiercely independent. They are quick to decide and slow to utter a mea culpa.

5. Cups and Royalty

Canada has the icons of the beaver, a Cup that goes back to 1893 (sadly, Lord Stanley resides for a yet another year south of the 49th), and invented ice (OK, that may be a stretch). The St. Louis Blues, founded in 1967, finally won their first Stanley Cup this year. Interestingly, 20 of 30 St. Louis team members who hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in the Blues’ history are Canadian. Canada still loves their Queen despite finally achieving sovereignty in 1982. America has icons of the eagle, the Super Bowl, a World Series that only includes two countries and had a “Miracle on Ice.” The U.S. fought to leave the Queen (technically George III), but love that Meghan is a princess. A Canadian invented basketball. Americans took credit for it. Canadian dinosaur namesakes have taken Larry O’Brien’s trophy to the great white north for the first time in NBA history. And speaking of Queen, Freddie is once again musical royalty in both countries because of a movie.

Here’s to celebrating the birth of a nation, no matter which side of the border you find yourself.

© 2019 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com. Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com