The New Yorker features a well-written piece on Canadians and our wacky northern charm. It kind of spirals into some whining about how conservative the US is, but the first half is excellent:
By sending their soldiers to serve side by side with ours in Afghanistan, they supported us in our hour of needâ€”the act of a true friend. By declining to participate in our Iraq adventure, they let us know that they sincerely thought we were making a mistakeâ€”also the act of a true friend. In matters of public policy they are often more enlightened than we are, without being snooty about it. Their health-care system is a mess, but itâ€™s a fairer, more humane mess than ours is. They have mastered the knack of having guns without using them to slaughter one another. They have a comparatively sensible approach to the drug problem: while our federal government tries strenuously to put marijuana smokers in jail, even (or especially) when the marijuana has been smoked for medical purposes in states whose people have voted to sanction such use, their federal government is about to decriminalize the possession of small amounts. And nowâ€”with a minimum of fuss, hardly any hysteria, and no rending of garmentsâ€”they have made it legal for persons of the same gender to marry each other.