I thought nothing could outdo Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, until … The other day, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked by a reporter what he thought of Donald Trump’s words and actions in response to the protests over the murder of George Floyd. For 21 seconds of excruciating silence, Trudeau stared at the camera, before he eventually pivoted, as of course he had to do. But it was the 21 seconds that went viral.
Every Canadian knew exactly what Trudeau wanted to say. And how sorely tempted he was to say it. But by those 21 seconds of silence he spoke more truth to power – including the truth of his own powerlessness to speak truth to power – than has ever been spoken.
When people tell me they’re proud to be American or Jewish or gay or what have you, I mock them mercilessly. But, dammit, those 21 seconds of silence made me proud to be Canadian.