Aug. 21, 2013
I confess that Charles Lane, an editorialist with the Washington Post, is one of my favorite liberals. He touched my heart last year when he came to Rick Santorum’s defense. Much of the leftwing blogosphere erupted in hoots and catcalls on learning that Rick Santorum and his wife had brought home the body of their stillborn child so that his brothers and sisters could say goodbye.
They all thought Santorum was a nutcase, a wingnut, for that act of tenderness. No, wrote Charles Lane. And he penned a column about the death of his own beloved son and wrote that he wished he had let his other children say goodbye. I have rarely been so touched. When I think of Lincoln’s beautiful phrase—the better angels of our nature—I think of Charles Lane’s noble defense of Rick Santorum.
Even so, Charles Lane is a liberal and he does have the capacity to shock me. He was on the panel of Bret Baier’s Special Report on FOX News. Responding to the news that Sen. Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, but that his mother was an American citizen, Lane agreed with Charles Krauthammer that Cruz was eligible to run for President of the U.S. But then he added this stunning statement: What difference would it make if a president did have dual citizenship?
Granted, we are talking about Canada, here. Not Saudi Arabia or China. Canada is our loyal friend. When all domestic flights were grounded on that terrible September 11th, the Canadians welcomed thousands of stranded American air passengers into their homes. Moviegoers probably now know the story of the brave Canadian ambassador to Iran who, in 1979, helped a half dozen Americans escape that deranged country.
But, still. Canada is a foreign country with a rich and varied history. It is not our history. In truth, much of Canadian history was made in opposition to the United States. Start with the 25,000 Tories who fled America in the Revolution and went to Canada to maintain their allegiance to the Crown. We are observing the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. Canadians are celebrating their many land victories over the invading Yankees.
On a recent vacation to Niagara-on-the-Lake, my wife and I visited the home of Laura Secord. She is Canada’s heroine of that war. Hearing American soldiers in her front yard discussing plans to attack Fort George, this brave mother of six left her injured husband’s bedside and walked thirty-seven miles through a dark, snake-infested swamp to warn the British defenders of Canada. She is rightly regarded as their “Paul Revere.” Still, when my wife and I were invited to join the museum’s support group, Friends of Laura Secord, we demurred. “I have to say, we honor her courage, but we were on the American side of that fight.
Canada’s very unity, the Confederation of her provinces in 1867, was sparked by fears that the victorious Union in the American Civil War would take vengeance on British North America (as Canada was then known) for the role Britain played in helping the Southern rebels during the war.
Charles Lane doesn’t think it would matter that a U.S. President had dual citizenship. But Canada is still a monarchy. The Canadian Head-of-State is still the Queen. And it was not until 1982 that Canada was officially permitted to write her own laws without getting a sign-off from the British Parliament in Westminster.
Yes, Mr. Lane, it matters. We can love our neighbors in Canada. And I do. But we are Americans. We are the Great Republic. Or, at least we used to be.