I have this complicated relationship with the States. I have family who live there; I always enjoy visiting the States; I’d even like to live there (in the south, of course, far away from this Canadian winter). I sometimes tire of over-the-top patriotism. I occasionally wince when Americans don’t seem to recognize excess (yes, this applies to Canada as well). There are many things wrong with the culture that, to some extent, we share. But then I hear the comments that are just over the top. Our Prime Minister’s aide calls Bush a moron, and for the longest time, she keeps her job. Mandela accuses Bush of having no foresight, wanting a holocaust, and Americans of being the country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world. A bishop says that America is hated and loathed around the world. And on it goes. It’s not like the US is above criticism, but so much of it seems to be overdone and unfair. No wonder Americans tire of the barrage of words against them. When the Columbia was lost yesterday, I felt the same way I did on September 11, 2001. I felt like the American tragedy was my own. There are days that my status as a non-American doesn’t seem to matter. There are days that I would be proud to be called an American. This is one of those days.