Several years ago, I trained myself to stop using the word "our" when referring to the United States. It was a change of habit I picked up from Allan and from other peace activists. I despised the way Americans referred to "us" in military terms: "we bombed Baghdad". You know the old punchline, "Who you calling 'we', white man?" That's how I felt. That's not me. Don't include me in that us.
Old speech habits are hard to break, but I got accustomed to referring to the US as that: the US. "We" might be women, or working people, or progressives, but not the country, and certainly not the government.
Obviously, it was something I felt very strongly, because here I am.
Now I've noticed how Canadians use the same word, and how different it sounds. There's an ad on the CBC right now for a show about Canadian comedy, and several times it says things like "our brand of humour" or "our comedy". I also hear hockey referred to as "our game".
And you know what? I really like it.
Part of it is that the population of Canada is so much smaller. It has a cozier sound. Like we're a family of 30 million people.
But it must be more than that. It must be related to my feelings about the Maple Leaf, as opposed to the Stars & Stripes. I suddenly don't mind the "us" - because I'm where I belong.