I love America! Well… let me qualify that statement and say that I love “visiting” America. I have travelled extensively throughout the U.S. and last week the family visited Florida (Orlando, Hollywood and Miami). I have always found the people to be friendly and accommodating if need be. The infrastructure and other necessities for an acceptable quality of life is comparable enough to Canada to make vacationing there comfortable. However, I am always glad when I return home. Crossing the border on Saturday back into Canada I saw a bumper sticker which read: “Proud to be Canadian!” Canada is no paradise and we have our issues here to contend with, but I wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiment on that bumper sticker.

I have also been fortunate to travel to a few “third world” countries, both as a tourist and a visitor. As well, I had spent much of my formative years growing up in Jamaica. I have therefore seen and experienced to an extent, what are considered some of the characteristics which define a “third world” country. The widening gap between not just the rich and the poor, but more importantly, between “the have and the have-nots”. The segregation of communities, based on color and/or economic status, by imaginary and real gates, now fashionably referred to as “gated communities”, to keep out those who don’t belong. The lack of affordable basic health care for the poor. The shrinking resources allocated to education, so that more and more, it’s only the rich who can afford to educate their children. The function of law enforcement, including the armed forces (sometimes referred to as a sort of “national guard”), as well as the judicial system, whose primary objective is not to serve and protect their citizens, but to maintain the status quo by terrorizing, oppressing, incarcerating and indiscriminately killing the poor. Enormous national debt which has no negative impact on the rich… in fact the worse it is, the more money they seem to make. The corruption of government officials, especially those in the highest seats of power, who willingly sell their souls to corporate interests to achieve their personal ambitions, while manipulating the emotions and hopes of the masses with empty promises and slogans such as: “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can!”.        

All that being said, if I couldn’t live in Canada anymore and was forced to move to one of these “third world” countries, America would be one of my choices… certainly in my top five.