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Are US citizens less aware? Or less concerned? Part 1. May 16, 2008

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, Canada, Coaching, Gen Y's, Offtime, Personal Success, quality of life, Satisfaction, The 3 Key Life Aspects, US, Veracity, Women.
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I am a citizen of the US by choice. A Canadian by birth, my wife and I chose to relocate to this country about 13 years ago with our children – sons Sean and Trevor, and daughter Jessica.

We noticed immediately that many typical life things were almost identical between the 2 countries. Both used the same consumer brands for the most part, many of the same TV networks we’d watched in Toronto, Mississauga, and Winnipeg were still there, people sounded the same (except apparently we said “oot” instead of “owt’ when saying “not in”, and the new neighbors said “zee” instead of “zaid” for the last letter of the alphabet), and we were now using the standard systems of measurement instead of the metrics.

We also noticed that life was, for most individuals at least, easier in the States: Most folks didn’t have to work as hard to make a buck, most had more things or better things (cars, clothes, food, entertainment, restaurants) than those living in Canada.

Except for the obvious issue of health insurance, it was pretty clear to all of us that it was easier to live happily in the US. The health insurance here made us crazy because we’d grown up with it as an entitlement and although our new friends and neighbors liked to rag us about coming from a socialist state, we all knew that the system in Canada for health was effective and had never disappointed us. Ever.

It was clear to us that our new neighbors and friends had been, to a great extent, “brainwashed” by those who sought to convince them that free enterprise was a better way to run a medical system. They were, for the most part, wrong, we knew. But they had no standard of comparison while we had now experienced healthcare in both countries firsthand. However, we had good health insurance here in the States and our concern was for those others who didn’t or couldn’t afford any insurance at all.

We soon fell in love with much of what makes America, and in particular, California, (“the most Canadian of all states”) great.

We loved the quality of life, our kids were in good schools, I had a great job with DIRECTV, Susan had another horse and was able to ride year-round at a stable within 10 minutes of our home. We made good friends here while keeping in contact with those who mattered from Canada.

Over the years, however, we noticed that things started to change. We realized that the famous wonderful and unique optimism of American citizens was going downhill. We heard and saw an increasing number of people becoming more negative about the future of their country and their own lives. They were starting to sound like Canadians actually.

When we went back to Canada we were often reminded just how tough it was to carve out a good living and bank money for the future.

And we also noticed that the wonderful Canadian sarcasm – to us it was equally a part of who Canadians are as US optimism is to Yanks – was often more focused on the country to the south. No longer as envious of what they saw as the American lifestyle and values, Canadians, especially the Gens X and Y, were now more vocally critical of what they perceived to be empire building from the US government. And, on a personal level, because it’s still tougher to get ahead in Canada then in the US, there was a growing outspokenism by Canucks about folks in the States, who’d had it “so easy”, too.

It’s always seemed to me that most US citizens are less aware of what they have that are those who watch America from afar. I’ve believe that is greatly due to:

1. a real inward focus that the news services (eg: NBC, CBS, etc) have in their reporting

2. a real inward focus of the education systems

Yesterday I came across a very brief video presentation made at TED, the conference focused on technology/entertainment/and design that often addresses issues of a global nature. I think this presenter makes a very good case for what I am mean.

Check it out here.

So here’s my question: Do you think that US citizens are less aware of what’s going on in the world, then people in other countries?

Let me and the other readers know. I’ll report back in the near future.




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