OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD
Saturday, July 23, 2022
If we didn’t have many things that hamper us, would we feel the need to create those obstacles?
Our circumstances as people – our lifestyles, relationships, career; would we replicate them if we were suddenly placed somewhere else at a different point in time/history, or would we do everything in some new way?
The reason I ask …
We are a country at war with ourselves, not over CFL rivalries or contests to win cups of Laurier, Grey or Stanley, but whether we should be wealthy or poor, be healthy people, and be happy people.
We want freedom and democracy, but our provinces can’t agree with each other or the federal government. We are deeply divided over environmental, indigenous, health/COVID, resource, climate, and political issues. One must ask: if we could turn back the clock a few hundred years, would we invent the country we inhabit today, would we structure our society as we have, would we build it the same way?
Sometimes institutions are better when scrapped – done away with, demolished, wholly rebuilt?
We don’t ask those questions very often, but maybe we should. Whether we are dismantling Hockey Canada (lately, they have a new scandal/excuse every week) or interprovincial trade barriers, we have to look in the mirror to realize two things about our country (and about ourselves): we are too often, in my view, our own worst enemy, and we are too often getting in the way of our success.
Our American friends call their democratic country a great experiment.
And while we may scoff and sneer at their many foibles, when compared to so many other countries ensnared in the same issues on trade, economics, law and order, health care, and human rights (and yes, reproductive rights are human rights as well as health rights) – they are not the only ones deserving harsh critique.
We are not immune in Canada, but on a grand scale, we are a massive country with a small population, and compared to many other countries, our problems may appear minor, but they are not insignificant.
Politics, history, unrest across the political spectrum – yes, we have them, but we smugly pride ourselves on being different/better than so many other countries.
We could easily call Canada a camping trip with not enough canoes to go around, and most countries would smile and nod. They envy our healthcare (or is it sickness care?) system and costs of which we are proud and protective. They envy our wilderness, our natural resources, and our place in the world – a democracy with plenty of flawed history that cannot be untangled or its truths be denied any longer, and we have many serious and urgent problems yet to solve. Recent turmoil in the leadership of political parties and governments here is unsettling but compared to those we see around the world (i.e. the UK, Italy, the middle east, Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S.) our Canadian troubles may seem minor or somewhat trivial.
They are not trivial, and they matter to Canadians.
Seriously, our problems on this planet are far greater than climate and environmental disasters in progress. They are rooted in a fundamental nature of our species: can we get along and cooperate for our mutual good without killing each other. I’ll wager we had that problem when we started standing up on our hind legs in the Great Rift Valley caves …
I wonder how many thousands, or perhaps millions, of years it will take to find out if we can get along and solve our collective dilemmas or if humanity will reach a point where we scrap it all and start over.
Our headlines are rife with scandals du jour, governments and corporations pushing boundaries to make changes or to resist them. At the same time, once proud organizations keep sweeping their embarrassments under the rug, hoping nobody will notice. And there is always the circus sideshow in the U.S. with Trump’s failure to accept reality and/or sound advice.
And now the tech-head-guy at Rogers is sent packing because of the recent countrywide outage, it seems somebody has to accept responsibility and leave. Much like the CEO’s departure recently at Suncor, there appears to be a culture in our country of serving up a sacrificial lambs, fall guys, or someone they want to get rid of anyway as a public mea culpa. But without fundamental change to address real problems, that’s just fast-footed PR and sleight of hand that only fools the fools, politicians and media.