In talking with some close friends in the recent weeks and in a conversation with my wife it is becoming clearer and clearer that we have a falling faith that things can get any better. There is a fog of pessimism that clouds our horizons and we no longer know where or how we can move forward as a city, province, or country. I hear “whats the point” or “ we just have to move on” or “ I can’t change anything”. I hear a collective willingness to not do anything and to passively accept whatever comes our way. Such is the place we have come to occupy.
Our federal leaders have whittled away freedom of speech, the well being of the environment, work for the young, the enforcement of more stringent unemployment benefits, ignored the criticism of the U.N. on food security in the north, human rights, and raised age of retirement. Provincially we face short falls in revenue and so the most vulnerable amongst us will face a lower expectation for support, and the lay off and closings of many of our largest manufacturing plants just keep happening and happening.
Locally there is deep cynicism around our municipal government. A sense that input is not valued. We also lost a great champion who fought for those most of us wouldn’t even touch. There is also unprecedented growth in the gap between the richest and the poorest and the middle class, the last bastion of our collective progress toward a better society, is shrinking and increasingly silent in the face of the challenges that face us.
Friends I am sad. I am sad that we are not doing anything about any of this. I am sad that we can’t seem to pull together. I am sad that the majority of us don’t speak up or even show up to ask for the changes we want. I am sad that some will read this and only view it through the lens of “what makes him think he should get to speak on this” or “ oh there goes Quigley again, bleeding his heart all over the place.”
But we are failing. We are failing to even look up up from our lives and notice that things are seriously amiss. We are failing to care.
I don’t have any quick solutions to any of this because none of these issues will be fixed quickly. They require dedication and commitment over a number of years. They require us to stop thinking that the next election will fix this. They require that we ask everyone of our neighbours to do more than look on sadly while the opportunity for better days slides by. They require us to stop looking backward at the good old days and look around us and see where we are today. To begin to plan for 20 years from now so the same conversation won’t happen then as it is now.
I’m not sure that writing these thoughts out and sharing them accomplishes anything, but at least it is something. At least it’s a start. At least there are some others out there doing the same thing. But, dear friends, we are not even close to making it better yet. We haven’t even started yet. There will be no hero riding over the hill to save us. Nope there won’t be. But there is us and frankly i’d rather have us than a hero.I’d rather have 50 of my neighbours than a some political visionary. For me, and I hope you, it’s time to get started……again.
You’re absolutely right Sean. I don’t have any quick fixes either, but it’s high time people got together and did something. Thankfully there are groups locally, that have recently started up, that are doing just that. We need to spread that sense of “I can do something!” up to the provincial and federal levels as well.
And despite the fact that the next election won’t fix anything by itself, it’s definitely important to make sure we elect representatives that actually listen to the people/constituents they represent.