Thirty years ago, Canada was breaking up and the USA was a unified patriotic powerhouse. Things have changed a lot lately.
In the 80's and 90'sQuebec had a separatist government, there were lots of arguments over West versus East, French versus English, and free trade versus protectionism. Referendums were held to see if the country should break up. Then Canada then went through a long period of adjustment where Quebec got more powers in social areas, new political parties were formed and folded, industry adjusted to free trade, people moved within the country to areas with better job prospects, and new immigrants arrived. This resulted in a more unified country where Quebec sentiment is against separation since most people feel their culture and language is stable, eastern and western attitudes became more liberal, industry adjusted to free trade, and there were periods of left and right wing governments at the provincial and federal level without major problems and disruptions. This is why Canada is fairly united and happy. Opposition to Trump has contributed to further unity.
In the 80's, the US faced an existential threat from the USSR and communism in general. The left and right represented by two parties were united in their support for the USA against this threat. Then, the threat evaporated as the USSR disintegrated and the USA became the most powerful nation on earth by far. Things continued as before until American society became polarized between its two parties. No other parties or organizations were able to form to represent points of view, there can only be two: left or right, liberal or conservative, takers or makers, gun control versus guns for all, Democrats or Republicans. Now this dynamic has resulted in a President who does not want to unify the country, who wants to only promote himself and his side and vilify the other side. The USA is about as Ununited as they were in the 60's, and the trend is for more polarization, more enmity, less unity.
Where will it end? I don't really know. If I had to make a bet, it would be on China becoming the most powerful nation on earth with the USA in second place, tied with the European Union.
Photo credit: flickr
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