Friday, July 01, 2016
Blessed to be Canadians
The first time I heard Barack Obama was twelve years ago, after he had delivered the keynote address at the Democratic convention as a upcoming but still largely unknown senator from Illinois. As I watched the footage of that stirring speech I thought "this guy could be president!" Well, he has been for nearly eight years, and the black hair of 2004 has become the "great white north" of 2016, to use his quip.
President Obama spoke to our Canadian Parliament Wednesday evening and he received so many standing ovations he could have been leading an aerobics class. He may have looked much more careworn than the 42-year-old who delivered that break-through speech, but he still has his oratorical chops. Forgive me, but damn he's good!
In some respects Obama's speech to those crammed into the House of Commons and to Canadians everywhere was a stump speech for Hilary Clinton. As he spoke of the shared values of our two nations and our "better selves" he was challenging Americans to climb out of the gutter of xenophobia and internal strife.
President Obama was supposed to speak for less than ten minutes and it turned into an hour. I stayed with him to the end because it was his comment at the end that we are blessed in our two countries which resonated with me most. He didn't say "God bless America and Canada" but I do feel blessed.And because I am blessed, I feel a moral imperative to be a blessing.
Yesterday our sponsorship group met to consider the Syrian households, related to our Al Mansour family, which may be joining us in a matter of months. We know that there is a considerable challenge before us, logistically and financially. On this Canada Day I think of my late mother-in-law who emigrated to this country from Britain, and my grandmother who came from the States to become citizens of a land that welcomed them and allowed them to flourish.
As a Canadian and a Christian I want to share that blessing with others.
Please share your thoughts on this Canada Day.