I have been with my wonderful INFP/Indigo partner for almost 11 years now, and one of the interesting things about our relationship is that he is American while I am Canadian. On the surface our backgrounds are somewhat similar but it doesn’t take much below that to see that Canadian and American culture is hugely different in some ways.
You see it in the hoopla about “Obamacare” and the evils of socialized medicine. Canadians voted Tommy Douglas as the Greatest Canadian the 2004 CBC television series; Tommy Douglas is the father of universal medicare in Canada. Healthcare has been a huge issue in Canada pretty much since then but if there’s one thing we all agree on, it’s that we need universal access to medical care. To us, it’s unfathomable that being unemployed or working for a place that didn’t offer a plan, or if they have a plan your chronic illness isn’t covered because you have a pre-existing condition. We believe that nobody should go into debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars to get treatment. To us it’s unfathomable that having such access to health care providers and treatment could be denied someone due to the health of their wallet.
There are other arguments that leave us up here scratching our heads, including the “God and country” idealism where radical Christianity is a serious political issue and the issue that the world is really only 6,000 years old even is an issue. Thankfully, we don’t have any disagreement about these things.
What really surprized me lately is how we differ on the gun situation in the States. As a Canadian, as long as I can remember we’ve always had very strict gun laws. Our general feeling about guns is that yes, they are useful for hunters and farmers and people who live in remote areas to protect themselves against…you guessed it, wildlife. That your neighbours would be considered wildlife is, well, odd. I mean they may act like wildlife sometimes depending on where you live, but very few people here seem to think it’s necessary to have firearms on hand to protect ourselves against them. Handguns and those type of weapons are normally reserved for police officers and military folks, and they are tightly controlled. I for one feel safer because of that. The people here who own weapons like that or the AR-15 assault weapon type arms have bought them on the black market or smuggled them in from the US. In other words, they’re not the kind of people you’d really want to be around if you can help it. As a result, our gun related deaths are miniscule when compared to the US, and the murder rate in general is lower. Yes, we have about 10% of the population of the US, but our murder rate isn’t 10% of theirs, it’s lower.
Sweetie disagrees that the laws should be tinkered with in the US, and touts the 2nd amendment as the reason. So okay, they have the right to bear arms. I’m not sure that would allow nuclear weapons and tanks, but if it did does it mean everyone should have one? On the other hand, in a country so heavily armed there is something to be said for feeling the need to protect yourself. But assault rifles? Really? Sigh. I wouldn’t even presume to say I have an answer for this one except maybe that there should be mandatory training for all gun owners before they can own one. As for the discussion here about this matter I’ve said we have to agree to disagree and leave at that because you really can’t convince me, coming from and living in a fairly safe place that people really do need to be armed to the teeth, an army unto yourself so to speak.
All I can say is I’m just really glad I’m Canadian and this isn’t my issue.