This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it. When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.
The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States Dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas 10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American planes?
Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon - - not once, but several times - and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the American who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.
I can name you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.
Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.
HISTORY: On June 5 1973, Canadian radio commentator Gordon Sinclair decided he'd had enough of the stream of criticism and negative press recently directed at the United States of America by foreign journalists (primarily over America's long military involvement in Vietnam, which had ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords six months earlier). When he arrived at radio station CFRB in Toronto that morning, he spent twenty minutes dashing off a two-page editorial defending the USA against its carping critics which he then delivered in a defiant, indignant tone during his "Let's Be Personal" spot at 11:45 AM that day.
The unusualness of any foreign correspondent -- even one from a country with such close ties to the USA as Canada -- delivering such a caustic commentary about those who would dare to criticize the USA is best demonstrated by the fact that even thirty years later, many Americans doubt that this piece (which has been circulating on the Internet in the slightly-altered form quoted above as something "recently" printed in a Toronto newspaper) is real. It is real, and it received a great deal of attention in its day. After Sinclair's editorial was rebroadcast by a few American radio stations, it spread like wildfire all over the country. It was played again and again (often superimposed over a piece of inspirational music such as "Battle Hymn of the Republic" or "Bridge Over Troubled Waters"), read into the Congress Record multiple times, and finally released on a record (titled "The Americans"), with all royalties donated to the American Red Cross. (A Detroit radio broadcaster named Byron MacGregor recorded and released an unauthorized version of the piece that hit the record stores before Sinclair's official version; an infringement suit was avoided when MacGregor agreed to donate his profits to the Red Cross as well).
Sinclair passed away in 1984, but he will long be remembered on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border -- both for his contributions to journalism, and for his loudly proclaiming what no one else at the time would stand up and say.
Created: Wednesday, 18 September, 2002
Last updated: Wednesday, 18 September, 2002 - 1:27:58 PM
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