I am not a citizen of the US, nor have I lived there. I am a Canadian, born in the UK, naturalized as a child, and thoroughly a child of the country my parents adopted.When I was in school, I recall a number of lessons about systems of government, some of which compared and contrasted the US and Canadian modes of governance. One of the things I learned there was a hearty respect for the system established by the American Constitution. It’s not perfect, but it has stood for over two centuries as a shining light — an icon, if you will — for the principle of democracy.

I can get frustrated by our Canadian parliamentary system, which has centuries of custom behind it, but I would not want to choose between them — as long as they both work as intended.

Today, I am heartsick at the way the wheels are falling off the bus of American democracy. The events at the US Capitol building reveal the system’s most grievous weaknesses. The “American Dream” is founded on the idea that everyone should be able to dream big — and to realistically aspire to the realization of those dreams. It hits the wall when some people find others’ aspirations to be radically opposed to theirs, and then radically oppose those people as they seek to live into their dreams. Yes, I’m talking about white privilege, or racism to use a less-palatable term.

The insurrection at the Capitol today — an attempting to stop a time-honoured Constitutional process, seeking to keep in office a President who had clearly lost the election — very plainly reflects the division the outgoing President had encouraged. He did not sow it, because it was already there, but he cultivated it assiduously for the past four years.

Armed conflict at the US Capitol simply makes me heartsick. The system which I had so admired has been sorely compromised, and the state of the democratic world to which I belong has been damaged.

If the icon falls, what happens to those who revere the icon?

To my friends south of ’49: my prayers are with you, as you move through these very difficult times.

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Retired priest of the Anglican Church of Canada, living in Edmonton AB, and serving as an Honorary Assistant at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Old Strathcona.

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