"Friends don't let friends drive drunk."
As a caring Canadian, I'm asking you folks to hand over your keys. I don't know if you're drunk or high or just scared but you're definitely out of control and in no condition to be driving.
I'm not sure when your problem started. I think it was around the time Ronald Reagan ascended to the presidency and most of you forgot what being a great nation meant. Rather than focus on government programs designed to give a helping hand to those in need, all of a sudden you started handing out money to those who needed it least.
And after a decade of "Morning in America," massive deregulation and countless savings and loan scandals, you'd managed to triple the national debt and widen the gap between rich and poor.
It used to be that the United States had a national purpose and a sense of community. For years, America had a commitment to common social goals as evidenced by Roosevelt's New Deal, Kennedy's New Frontier and Johnson's Great Society.
That now seems a distant memory. After the Reagan-Bush years came Bill Clinton and another decade of selfishness and corporate greed. Although the books were eventually balanced, it was at the expense of the neediest as the gap between the haves and the have-nots widened into a chasm.
More recently, we watched as things seemed to spin out of control. Like a drunk on a bender, you folks just kept drinking and drinking without regard to the harm you were doing to yourselves and your neighbors.
George W. Bush appealed to your historical yearnings to be a community with his call to compassionate conservatism. But the truth was soon revealed as he quickly dismantled what was left of the social safety net and handed out billions and billions of dollars more in tax cuts to those who didn't need them.
"You appear to have gone on a bender that promises to hurt not only you but the whole world as well."
Then came 9/11 and the national tragedy that should have rekindled the great American spirit of community and sacrifice. For a brief time it seemed to do just that among the ordinary citizenry. But rather than use that tragedy to galvanize the American people into positive action, your political leaders brazenly exploited it to pursue their own ideological agenda.
With the election of Barack Obama, it seemed that you were taking the tentative first steps towards recovery. There was a growing acceptance of the error of your foreign policy and the damage that had been done.
You also seemed to be reverting to a more caring America, a nation that looked to provide the basics of health, education and welfare to all of its citizens. A nation that reached out to other countries around the world. A nation that favored the average citizen over the Wall Street banker. A nation that seemed to care about the environment.
It was as if there was now a true "Morning in America", not the phony one announced by Ronald Reagan but rather the legitimate dawning of a new era of caring, a kind of morning after the night before. There seemed to be a new spirit in the land that wished to disavow the old simplistic "hair of the dog" cure and seek a new sober American way.
There was talk of pursuing universal health care, revamping social welfare and restoring funding to the public education system. But now all that has changed as you appear to have gone on a bender that promises to hurt not only you but the whole world as well.
Despite the gloomy outlook, here's hoping things will change. Given your size and power, we have no choice but to give you back your keys. We'd have to do that anyway because the ultimate decision to act responsibly is yours. But if you want to turn over a new leaf and sober up -- remember, you've always got a friend in Canada.
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