Monday, June 04, 2012

Symbolizing The Maple Leaf

Canada is the maple leaf, the United States of America is the stars, one is modest and pragmatic, the other is idealized and constant. National symbols are chosen to represent countries, but somehow countries cannot help but represent their national symbols.

For the religious and industrious United States of America there is no better symbol than the heavenly yet geometric stars and stripes. The inherent, inalienable rights of man upon which that country was founded seek to be as lofty, as constant and as idealized as both the astronomical objects in the sky and the mathematical principles that form their design.

The stars symbolize an unchanging nature that reflects both the ideals of heaven and the universal theories of geometry, holding much in common with the unmovable beliefs of the people they represent. The oldest constitution in the world, appears to approach something eternal or at least as permanent as those objects in the night sky. The perfection of those stars are always pursued by the American people, be it by unhindered ship and boundless rocket, or unhindered liberty and boundless capitalism. The United States of America represents the stars as much as they represent it.

For Canada, it is hard to distinguish between it and its symbol, not only are both themselves formed by nature, but both derive their modesty and pragmatism from it.

The maple leaf does not exist in some idealized realm or heavenly kingdom, its importance does not come from perfection, but from its realness. Canadians do not resemble the impressive supernovas like their neighbours do, they are instead earthly and organic. The maple leaf grows from the land, and with others  not only provides light and sustenance to something bigger but also gives cover to others from the blazing sun and pouring rain.

Like leaves, the Canadian constitution has changed and will undoubtedly change again. The unwritten conventions that underpin our government provide flexibility and an ability to move with nature and all the changes it brings. The Canadian political spectrum, much more moderate, only offers a movement between earth tones, establishing a beauty brought on by the necessary changing of seasons.

The maple leaf represents Canada just as the stars and stripes represent America and those symbols provide inspiration to both nations.

Though a lowly maple leaf may not be as impressive as the idyllic stars, just as Canada may not be as impressive as the United States, when one looks at the world with all of its extremism, fundamentalism, and environmental degradation, there is nothing it needs more than the inspiration that the maple leaf, and Canada, can provide, and that is the inspiration of modesty, pragmatism, and nature.

We chose the maple leaf to symbolize us but from its inspiration, we symbolize it. And Canadians shouldn't want it any other way.

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