The Unraveling of “The Unraveling of America”

I have a rebuttal to Wade Davis’s hit piece “The Unraveling of America” over on Medium. Patriotism, grocery prices, health care, chagrin—read all about it!


30 thoughts on “The Unraveling of “The Unraveling of America”

  1. Well, sounds to me that someone has an ax to grind With “Canada”. To just consider the complete destruction that chasing profit has caused our country capitalism and globalization. Corporate $$$$ in our elections And grinding work load and no safety net for the ever rising working poor.
    Welcome home however you picked a state that is one of the most self deprived in the country. And it seems more then some of that has rubbed off on you. Hey I live in Florida and now the biggest pastime is counting the dead due to the virus. The intent of the Davis essay to me was based on history and I get it, hope I’m not alone. But I’m old so who cares.

    1. No argument at all with the wrongs and ills of the States right now. My beef with Wade Davis’s hit piece was not with his claim that things here are problematic, to put it mildly, but rather with his gross generalizations about “Americans” and the “American people,” as if we were some sort of monolith, when a majority of people here are unhappy with those wrongs and ills. Well, that and his inaccuracies and unfounded/unsupported claims. I would not call his essay “based on history” when it presented no evidence beyond his impressionistic “sense” of the country.

  2. Deanna, much of what you say about Vancouver is entirely correct- the gross inequities, absurd housing costs, apparent coldness. I would also add a lack of ‘soul’. Nobody is really FROM Vancouver, it seems- they just either end up there or it is a stop along the way. I live on Bowen Island (have done so for 48 years), just down the road from Wade Davis, who, btw, lives in what can best be described as an oversized Russian Dacha replete with an onion dome.

    I attended/taught at UBC for 11 years, and realized that other than with colleagues and students, I had almost no contacts, and no friendships from then survived beyond my time there. That says something to me about the transience of the place…That said, I was born in Alberta, but have spent my entire life on the West Coast, and benefited by arriving on Bowen in the early 70s and buying a10 acre old abandoned homestead with a falling down house for $38,000. For a young person today, home ownership is largely a pipe dream.

    However, Bowen is different, being v. small at around 4000 people, and populated by an odd mix of ageing hippies, young professionals, weekenders, and a large influx of daily visitors. One tends to recognize and greet many people on walks in the regional Crippen Park, and the local Facebook page devoted to Bowen issues has 3700 members. Post something, and the next day you will be assailed and lauded for your comments.

    I LOVE Americans, really do- and part of that is because of the collective friendliness of the people. The other part is that the USA has been, and still is, a great ‘leader of the free world and a ‘can do’ nation’, despite its obvious shortcomings.

    I am a skier, with Whistler being my ‘home mountain’ (our family were original investors and I was on the ski patrol up there for years). Yet the ambience there is very much like Vancouver- glitzy but without a lot of substance, and on the slopes there is little human engagement (riding a lift up is akin to riding an elevator- the difference being that people are thumbing their cell phones, not looking at the ceiling, nor out the windows either). I just don’t feel Whistler is ‘my mountain’ anymore.

    So my twice-a-season road trips to other ski areas usually take me to Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon. Even though they obviously don’t feel like home, I feel welcome everywhere. Whether in cheap diners and motels, at ma and pa ski hills, there are always people to talk to. Riding up a lift with a stranger usually converts to having a ski buddy with my ‘host’ proudly showing me around their favourite off-piste powder stashes. I’ll buy lunch, exchange contact info., send pix and get sincere invites to come back next year. That just doesn’t happen north of the border, and it stems largely from an American trait of confidence in self and country.

    My niece is starting grad. school this year in Anthropology, COVID notwithstanding. She has read everything Wade Davis has written, I think, and has referred to him as anthro. royalty. She also says he is not always well respected in academic circles. Perhaps partly from jealousy (he arrived at UBC as a full professor without having to climb the rungs as everyone else has). But more importantly, he is prone to generalizations and weak on creating arguments for his views. He is an amazing speaker; he told me he can hold court in TED talk type settings unrehearsed for about 90 minutes at a time without missing a beat. I have seen him do that, and been transported from one thought stream to the next, then brought back always with some kind of underlying unifying theme. Yet afterwards I realize it is more entertainment than scholastic.

    Thank you for expressing what you did. His grand pronouncements about America are simply unsubstantiated, mostly a collection of notions and presumptions. He is not the person to declare the end of USA preeminence.

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply, Peter. I only visited Bowen Island once in my 13 years in Vancouver, and it did indeed seem like a special place. I found folks outside of the city (on the Sunshine Coast, the islands, Victoria, etc.) to be very different from those in Van — maybe it’s the transience you refer to. At any rate, I very much look forward to visiting some of those places again when travel is possible; the Sechelt area is one of my all-time special places. Best of luck to your daughter in grad school!

  3. Former Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “No generalization is worth a damn… including this one.”

    Wade Davis could benefit from considering this…you are quite right when you take him to task for that failing in his writing. Specifically, even when considering a society as large as the U.S. I think we need to distinguish between Donald Trump and his minions; America as a nation; and Americans.

    I lived in MIchigan for a year. My reaction to the above was that I cannot remember an American that I met and didn’t like. On the other hand, as a Canadian, The American nation sometimes scares the ^&*)% out of me. Donald Trump is something totally different again… so amoral and self-absorbed that I cannot fathom anyone supporting him.

    Like the majority of Canadians and Americans I remember fondly the America which saw its strengths in the moral leadership it displayed after WWII throughout the world. And I join you in fearing a Trump-led “…country devolving into a state of facism.” Avoiding this will require enormous effort and will. I wish you all the best in the upcoming struggle and will encourage Canadians of all stripes to help as we can.

  4. Quite right to add a moderating and corrective return to Mr. Davis’ volley. I am a true blue (red?) Canadian with many friends and family in the USA. It is indeed not as cut and dry as Davis makes it out to be. I will not debate whether the demise of a great nation and empire is a present reality. I would guess the answer is yes. But certainly as far as Canada goes you are quite right to point out there is some high ground from which to boast but in general we have many many of our own demons and are in many ways mediocre when it comes to fairness, justice and forming a “better society”.

  5. Wikipedia states that Wade Davis has Canadian-Columbian dual citizenship. However, at 8:15 in a PBS interview (see, he refers to himself as a naturalized American. So, all three nationalities?

    He emphasizes his various American connections to validate his claim that he is criticizing Americans in a loving way, as a member of an “extended family,” probably to deflect criticism that he is engaging in gratuitous America bashing while downplaying Canadian deficiencies.

    Wade Davis, our northern Dutch uncle, who, despite his stern criticism of our failings, is doing so only for our own welfare? I’m not convinced. More likely, given his many American ties, wife, education, in fact his entire career, as he admits, Davis feels, like many other Canadians, deeply ambivalent toward his southern neighbors and unsure of his own cultural identity.

    A pity that this intelligent and likeable man has nothing profound to say about that ambivalence.

    It makes for sensational headlines and sells newsprint, but this viral nightmare in which we find ourselves presently is not the end of American exceptionalism, as Davis proclaims. Personally, I look forward to its end, at least in the Reagan and neo-conservative sense. Perhaps, in a post-Trump America, it will grind to a halt, but while Covid-19 may accelerate its departure, it is still very much with us. Regarding Davis’s originality, truth, and insight, nothing to see here, one should move on.

    The Dutch uncle persona also permits Davis, or at least he thinks so, to contrast Canada and the U.S. with Canada coming out on the winning side every time. Fairness and balance are nowhere to be seen. Canada’s “few problems” are nothing compared to that southern hellhole inhabited by devilish barbarians. You give good examples, Ms. Kreisel. What struck my attention was Davis’s misuse of Robin Williams’s quip about Canadians having the apartment above the meth lab: according to a UN report, Canada is a major supplier of methamphetamine, with much of it crossing the border.

    Davis’s actual statements belie his avuncular mask of concern for Americans. His “Americans-are-X” generalizations and comparisons are not merely inappropriate in this pandemic. It is troubling to see such a lack of empathy. This is not the time to wave the Canadian flag and lecture Americans while they are suffering and dying.

    Not to be unfair to Wade Davis. He is right about universal health insurance, among others. But the Canadian narrative of moral superiority and attacks on Americans simply for being American have always struck me as unjust bigotry. So I’m grateful to you, Ms. Kreisel, for publishing your convincing rebuttal.

      1. Since I last posted above, the Wikipedia entry on Edmund Wade Davis has been re-edited to read not “Canadian-Colombian anthropologist” but “Canadian-Colombian-U.S. anthropologist.”

        It will be interesting to see if the re-editing will be re-re-edited, and by whom.

        In his interviews, Davis uses the pronoun “we” interchangeably, referring at times to U.S. Americans, at other times to Canadians. Perplexing ambiguity. Is he sitting in the Canadian, U.S., Commonwealth (“my Australian cousins”), Colombian chair, or, more likely, between chairs, when he criticizes the U.S.?

        Is it not so much the unraveling of the U.S. as the unraveling by Wade Davis of the personal identity puzzle that Wade Davis is to himself? Gratuitous speculation on my part, but still….

        The source for the U.N. methamphetamine report is “The Globe and Mail,” June 23, 2011, which states that Canada is “a leading exporter of meth to the United States.” A CBC report by Nicole Ireland on January 14, 2020, claims that “Canada is preoccupied with opioid addiction, crystal meth is on the rise.”

        Drug-free, law-abiding Canadians residing peacefully in their apartment while their raucous downstairs neighbors are snorting crystal. Not the whole truth.

        This sentence in your post resonates; an entire novel could take it as a point of departure:

        “…pretend it didn’t matter to me, or — if I was at a social gathering or work event — rearrange my facial features into a rictus of a smile and attempt to move on to the next topic.”

        I wish you would elaborate, that is, describe specific instances, insulting e-mails, jokes, outright hate speech, etc. that you may have experienced as a U.S. citizen in Vancouver. On the other hand, for obvious reasons you might prefer to let it rest.

        Other U.S. Americans have had similar encounters in Canada, as Google reveals. Noteworthy is Nora Jacobson’s “Washington Post” editorial “Before You Flee to Canada, Can We Talk?”

      2. Thank you for the reference to the meth article. And that is a very interesting detail about the Wikipedia editing. Hmm. I do have to thank you particularly for reminding me of the title of Nora Jacobson’s editorial! I read it shortly before moving to Canada in 2006, was disturbed by her characterization but still moved there with an open mind, and a few years later went frantically searching for it again when I found all of her complaints borne out in my own experience. I have literally Googled it dozens of times but never been able to find it. Having re-read it just now, I have to say that Yes, that is pretty much an exact description of my experience. Of course many, many individual Canadians are lovely people who really like Americans. But I did have many of those same experiences that she did, multiple times. I will share just one, because I think it’s kind of funny. I was once a member of a French conversation group, working on getting my fluency back, and was having a lovely chat with a woman after our meeting while we waited for the bus together. When she learned I was American, her face closed up and she pursed her lips and started saying a bunch of nasty stuff about the States, while I struggled to defend against her rudness — all in French! Needless to say I wasn’t at my most eloquent, but at least I could then say that I had experienced the full, rich range of Canadian anti-Americanism, in both official languages. 😉

  6. As a Canadian, and former Vancouverite, (born there, and now living in eastern North Carolina), I found a great deal of truth in your article. The main reason I left Vancouver (for Kelowna, and later Calgary) in 1989 was that I had grown weary of the cold, unfriendly, and ethnically-separated atmosphere in Vancouver. Of note, and by comparison, Calgary is a much friendlier city, and the people there seem much more willing to blend in, rather than isolate themselves in their enclave of people from other countries. My wife and I moved to the southeastern USA in 2015 to be closer to her again parents. Living in the USA, I have witnessed, firsthand, the destruction wrought by the Trump era, the divisive nature of his politics, the way people are unwilling to even discuss politics anymore lest a discussion quickly escalate to a flashpoint. We live near the east coast, and purchased a lovely, 1500 sf home for $150,000. Try doing that in Vancouver! Our healthcare costs, under Obamacase, are very reasonable. I find the people I meet (granted, they are southerners) to be friendly, and there is little to no class disparity in evidence. The humid summers are a challenge, but so were the long months of rain in Vancouver, and the insanely long and cold winters in Calgary. I’m note sure if I can speak to the article you are referring to. I have noticed, via Facebook, that Canadians seem to really enjoy kicking the USA while it’s down, and Trump certainly is deserving of their ridicule. However, I take exception to the generally negative attitude towards all Americans that seems to be expressed by Canadians in social media. Hopefully, we will see a return to sanity in November, and the nation can begin the slow process of healing. Perhaps then and looking forward, Canadians will again come to appreciate their neighbour to the south.

  7. I grew up in Vancouver and went to school at Northwestern in the early 00s. I actually loved my time in the US. America is very diverse-politically, ethnically and in everything else.

    My partner is American and so are my kids. We have also lived in Edmonton which I found to be a much more typically “Canadian” place. We are back in Vancouver now. I think the coldness of Vancouver can also be extended to west coast cities in general. Seattle and San Francisco (where my partner is from) are also known to be “cold”. Maybe it’s the liberal elitist attitude. I had a friend in school who was from New York who had gone out to Berkeley for her undergrad and hated it. She had the same complaints you had-gross wealth inequality, materialism everywhere etc. And this was coming from someone from New York!

    I think a lot of Canadians only get the view of America from the media. We get a lot of US media up here and everything seems to focus on protests, shootings, COVID and all the negatives right now. It doesn’t help that Trump keeps saying outrageous things.

    I hope America can heal. But one of the things that makes America great (diversity) also I think contributes to its image of a nation in crisis with polarization, divergent and extremist viewpoints that drown out the voices of ordinary Americans.

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful reply. I did my PhD at Northwestern! Small world. I did used to wonder if the coldness was more about Vancouver/Canada or the West Coast in general. I’m inclined to think the latter, as I met many, many Canadians from elsewhere in the country who had the same complaints about Vancouver.

      1. Thank you for your thought-provoking response to Davis’s article. As a Canadian, I extend my hope-full wishes across the miles as you navigate the election and beyond. I am confused about your last comment reply (above) re: “coldness” in relation to Vancouver specifically or west coast in general. If you are inclined to think the “latter”, are you not endorsing “coldness” as a west coast trait, as per your phrasing? This doesn’t seem to fit with your statement about “many, many Canadians from elsewhere in the country who had the same complaints about Vancouver”. So, is it West Coast cities in general or Vancouver specifically? In either case, I’m curious, why generalize when this was one of your main issues with the Davis article?

      2. Good question! I don’t think I was generalizing in the same way that Davis was, because I didn’t suggest that were something about the character of “Vancouverites” that leads to the city being unfriendly. It’s a problem that most people who live in Vancouver acknowledge themselves. My theory is that it actually has to do as much with darkness and rain as anything else! And perhaps the beauty of the surroundings. But for whatever reason, people in Vancouver seem very focused on individual, rather than community, pursuits. It doesn’t mean that they’re individually unfriendly, but rather that there isn’t a strong sense of group identity.

  8. Seriously, how insipid do you think people are that they will extrapolate what he says to an entire nation of 350 million citizens? The mere fact that he lauds the history of the US to the extent that he does would suggest that there is still a considerable portion of America that embodies those qualities. That is why the word “systemic” is so much in vogue these days, because it encapsulates the fact that unsavoury characteristics can come to typify a collective that individually may not necessarily exemplify them. In the end, he hits the nail on the head in so many ways, while your response mostly splits hairs. That does not stop you from questioning his observations of Canada by stating your observations about one city in Canada. I’ve read his article twice and got no impression that he was “vaunting” Vancouver as Edenic, so you harping on it is lamentable. He was talking about a national social identity which is less evident in major urban centres than in the country as a whole, You also insist on comparing social statistics between Canada and US in order to question that Canada is better, but he didn’t even imply that. Rather, he drew comparisons between Denmark and the US in these categories. He observes that Canada is far from perfect, but that could be easily understood by the extent to which Canada has absorbed American-style capitalism and culture – one of the ugliest realities of this nation. In the end, your smoke screen soon dissipates.

    So much of what is going on in the US is so well documented in so many circles that he does not have to live down there in order to know of them. And yes, it is mostly read by liberals and lefties, because righties and tighties are so in love with their own nostalgic hallucinations that they would never acknowledge that anything is wrong (except for what they can blame on Obama).

    I think it is safe to say that while his essay has gone viral because it resonates with common understanding, yours will go evanescent and only be noticed because of its association with his title. Better luck next time.

    1. Not sure what you think you mean by the word “insipid,” which you’ve used incorrectly, but I think his piece speaks for itself in making sweeping generalizations that are patently unfair — not to mention unsupported by references or other evidence. My objection to his using Vancouver as an example of social equity and justice was because, well, he used Vancouver as an example of social equity and justice. If you have a problem with that, take it up with him. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say in a lot of this comment because your wording is confusing and imprecise (e.g. “He was talking about a national social identity which is less evident in major urban centres than in the country as a whole” — ???), or I would respond directly. Do you have a lot of experience with “the country as a whole”? Maybe you could write your own blog post about it! Better luck next time.

  9. The Rolling Stone piece was a bit trite. I live in the Interior (Kamloops) where housing is still relatively affordable (I am able to live in a comfortable home within walking distance of the university ….something I agree is wildly un-affordable near UBC). If we are making a fair comparison of Vancouver, we should look to places like San Francisco which is also very beautiful and expensive. I have a couple of degrees from UBC and while I like Vancouver in many ways, I find it too expensive and dreary and, like any large city, a bit impersonal. Smaller cities here are like smaller cities everywhere (including the US) People tend to be a bit more relaxed and friendly.

    At the same time, for you to assert that Vancouver’s real estate market is purely a product of money laundering and organized crime is also quite trite. As you know, Vancouver is highly constrained by its geography and has a steadily growing population. That will naturally put pressure on the locations closest to the centre (as it does in San Francisco) and the paradigm will have to shift away from the detached home and towards the multiple family unit. You wouldn’t move to Manhattan thinking you would be purchasing a detached home with a two car garage. Vancouver does high density reasonably well with decent urban public amenities.

    You are correct in that Vancouver (and Canada) has problems and challenges but we Canadians generally enjoy more freedoms, a higher quality of life and overall better healthcare outcomes. There is some thing there worth paying attention to. I hope you do your part to improve the outcomes in public education in Mississippi. Any comparison of it and educational outcomes in British Columbia should trouble any resident.

    Canada is no utopia and has its share of problems. It is in no position to wag its finger at other nations and I can certainly point to places taking better approaches to social ills than we are. With that said, here is my friendly advice to my American friends.

    First, public schools have to be premised on the concept of equality of opportunity. There is no such thing as faking your address to get your child into a “good” school district here. All school districts are funded the same. The teachers are paid the same and the schools get the same capital support. Every kid in every school has an equal chance. One would think that Americans would embrace this….not sure why they don’t. Poor kids in the US go to underfunded schools while kids in wealthy neighborhoods get better schools with better facilities and better paid teachers. Not the stuff of nation building.

    Second, every American gets medical care. If you have to choose between your money and your life, you will pick your life. So….the very poor get it, the very rich get it and the working poor or those without insurance go bankrupt. That just doesn’t happen here. You can easily find stories of stressed out American parents who drive to the parking lot of their local emergency department with a sick kid in their car. They know that an ER visit could mean not being able to pay the rent or their other bills and so they wait to see if the child’s condition improves or deteriorates. That happens in a total of one developed country in the world. It’s a staggering concept to a non-American. The author of the article was right when he said the grocery clerk’s kids have access to the same care as the Prime Minister’s (or my kids). Medicare for all works, it costs less money and produces better outcomes.

    Third, what’s with the guns? Seriously. I’m not remotely close to being an expert in policing. However, if I were a police officer facing a large crowd of angry protesters and was offered assistance by a 17 year old kid toting an AR-15, I would not thank him and give him a bottle of water. How could that have possibly ended well? If you did that in Canada you would be arrested on the spot. Your gun (and all your other weapons) would be seized and you would lose your license to own firearms. Likewise, allowing a caravan of “patriots” to drive around Portland shooting protesters with paintballs while pepper spraying them is a recipe for disaster. How on earth could the police allow that to happen? Far too many citizens of your country are dying at the wrong end of a firearm. Again, it happens in no other developed country. Canada is more violent than a lot of places but you guys are literally quadruple or quintuple our rates.

    Canadians can be a little to passive-aggressive and smug about life in our country. In the balance I think it’s a great place (although I wouldn’t choose Vancouver as a place to live either). I’ve lived there a well and I have two degrees from UBC. Love to go and visit it, not interested in living there.

  10. Interesting articles by both you and Davis, but both flawed and wanting. Each of you can point out the mote in the other’s eye without acknowledging the plank in their own (Matthew 7:3-5). However, you do acknowledge the utter disaster of the President while Davis stays mostly clear of confronting Canada’s own sins.

    While you settle largely in on criticism of Vancouver’s property disparity, which is true and regrettable, you push your argument into a very questionable realm that borders on slander and litigious action. You put forward the astounding statement that Vancouver is, “literally run by organized crime”. If I was the mayor or a councillor I might be tempted to ask you to prove your allegations in a court of law.

    But continuing.

    Why do you begin the article with a statement full of resentment? (I notice the same very personal, angry, snide and negative respond to Jim Murray and others.) I would have thought that to rebut Davis whom you accuse of seeding his article with emotional biases you would have kept to the facts. But you are righteously indignant and standing up to what you think is an affront to most Americans when you see them painted with the same brush. And you do have the right to do that, but it gets in the way of actually finding a way through the situation.

    When you state that you, “ simply couldn’t stand living in Vancouver any more. It’s shocking wealth disparity; the cruelty of its housing policies; and the isolation, loneliness and cold unfriendliness of many of its residents eventually became too much to bear”. You could have added: ”So there”. Now I am being petty.

    So to get away from all that what do you do? You moves to Mississippi. And why Mississippi? Perhaps it is a state within the great chaos where there is a state, i.e., Mississippi that exhibits great equality, where there is no, or little disparity in housing, where people of all colours mix and mingle on the basis of trust and respect and so on; but look closer at the facts and we are left puzzling on your real reason for moving to Mississippi.

    Mississippi leads the US in childhood poverty, obesity and cigarette smoking which makes it the unhealthiest state in the nation (2017 America’s Health Ranking Report).

    Mississippi experiences an inferior standard of living relative to other American states. It is below every state except Kentucky and West Virginia.

    Mississippi is considered the poorest of all states with 50 out of 82 counties living in extreme poverty.

    Mississippi according to Education Week is rated a D- Plus on State Report card rankings; 47th out of 50.

    Mississippi is one of the most racist states in the US.

    I could keep on going but you get my drift. Why Mississippi if you are longing to get away from the disparities and inequities of Vancouver?

    I understand why you are angry with Davis and his “holier than thou” attitude and I think you, as an American, are rightly tired of being castigated for what some Americans do to wreck havoc on the Constitution, as well as social and racial justice. It must be very painful to see such gross misdeeds within your country. There are fabulous Americans (as there are Canadians) and to cast aspersions on a whole country is egregious and harmful.

    Both your article and Davis’s are based on deep frustrations and the desire by both you and Davis to have a better world filled with kinder people; that really comes across as a psychological subtext in each other’s article, but both of you striking out at each other’s country and each other only adds to the fatigue, frustration and feeling being caught up in the blaming game that is already reaching a frenzy. And where are the proposed solutions?

    Both of you are highly educated and could contribute to helping reshape our societies.

    There is more than enough blame to go around, but what we all need are people of good character who can communicate in a fair and reasonable way and who can show compassion so that people of good will can work together to find our way through this most regrettable stage in our separate and combined history.

    1. A response is not always a response to the writer; sometimes it is addressed to the imagined readers of the piece. Such is the case with my response to Mr. Davis. I have no interest in engaging in a debate with him personally, but was very interested in addressing demoralized Americans who fantasize that Canada is some kind of socialist utopia. Nor am I interested in spending lots of my precious time on earth trying to move those who come at me with anger, wilful ignorance, or disrespect. Such was the case with the commenters you mention. In a similar vein, I do not have the time to try to convince you, or anyone, why one might want to live in Mississippi. I hope you understand how insulting your disingenous question is. (“We are left puzzling on your real reason for moving to Mississippi” — really? I suggest you take up a hobby instead.) And again on a similar note: “Both of you are highly educated and could contribute to helping reshape our societies.” Thank you for your extraordinary condescension. I do consider myself to be contributing to reshaping my society, and every second I spend responding to comments like this one is a second taken away from that work. If you really want an answer to your question about the tone of my responses, take a closer look at the pattern of comments. People who comment with openness, curiosity, and respect get an answer in kind, even if I disagree deeply with them politically. I wish I were a saint who reacted with generosity to everyone, no matter how condescending or angry their posts. But the tone of my responses is not a great mystery.

    2. ….your argument into a very questionable realm that borders on slander and litigious action. Oh, my. Mississippi is one of the most racist states in the US. Oh, my. Thank you for your acclimation of highly self-held opinion of motes and planks. I’ll take the loaves and fishes any day. Canada, USA, Mexico, Central America, hmmm. It’s too cold, and this is fanning a winter fire. Smells of academia.
      Go get ’em. It’s great theater here in Oregon, USA. ..our separate and combined history. Look to the future. Be kind.

  11. I’m a Canadian who taught at American international schools for 14 years.
    The American teachers and administrators were the salt of the earth.
    They were so kind, inclusive, and supportive of me, even when I was a crappy second
    year teacher. My American principal mentored me and always made me feel
    special. We just had a Zoom reunion for the current and former staff at Country Day School Costa Rica. I worked there between 1996 and 2005. Fifty-nine people showed up from all over the Globe.
    It was nice to reminisce about a time when we were surrounded by happy, uplifting people. I miss that.

  12. I am a proud American. Proud, frustrated, scared, anxious. While I see your points about the ills of Vancouver and Canada, and perhaps, Mr. Wade’s convenient overlooking of same, here is the Occam’s razor of things: We HAVE lost our currency in America. We ARE a laughing stock — I didn’t vote for the imbecile — but he’s driving the bus, and I’m in it, and enough people in this country are happy to head for the cliff while Trump has no hands on the wheel, one in our pocket and the other grabbing a p-ssy. What’s worse are the sycophants he surrounds himself with, who are gleefully “following orders.” If Mr. Davis’ article doesn’t one thing, I hope it’s to remind us of who we once were, what we were once capable of, and for us to put our big boy and girl pants back on as a country and climb out of this shit hole.

    1. I beg to disagree. I don’t need Mr. Davis’s article to remind me of who we once were or goad me into bettering things. His article, in fact, does the opposite: by resorting to sweeping and unfounded generalizations, it implies that our current ills are the inevitable result of some flaw in American character. That way lie despair and paralysis, not hope.

  13. Totally unrelated to Wade Davis’ comments on the USA, but very revealing of his intelligence and mastery of good communication is this CBC documentary on Mallory’s preparatory trip for the first ascent of Everest. It tells the story of a man named Wheeler who surveyed the Everest approaches and mountain. The film starts with a drone flyover of Davis’ modest abode….

    Note how Davis can rattle off the names of each gorge and watercourse as he and Whittier’s descendants trudge across the Tibetan access to Everest. And his natural empathy. Good stuff.

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