It's Up To Us...
Our knowledge of the world around us, in the past few years, has increased in astonishing ways. We even have a good understanding now of how the universe itself was created, including the first few moments of the creation process itself. The new space telescope we’ve developed is capable of discovering hundreds of billions of new galaxies millions of light years away and we are within a few years of travelling to nearby planets, a feat considered unthinkable until a few years ago. We have accomplished this mostly because we were curious. This is not a bad thing.
But in the meantime we seem to have become less curious about the value of human life itself - over a million people in Canada living below the poverty line, children going to school hungry, less support for essential social services, healthcare, the list goes on; all this while support for the very wealthy has gone sky high.
Those who protest this inequality are either ridiculed or increasingly becoming known by the police as “multi-issue extremists” (take this to mean some form of terrorist that our form of “democracy” does not allow). On the other hand, the harm and violence shown to the powerless seem acceptable. This is a complete turn-around to those values we were taught when we were kids.
And we appear to have little choice but to push for social change ourselves. Parliament is hardly the place to fight for a fairer society and the agency of sober, second thoughts, the Senate, seems to be completely out of it. This leaves it up to US. There is no one else. Never has been.
People will ask, What can we do?
First we need to accept that our government is not there for us. This is not being belligerent or offensive. It is simply acknowledging the world for what it is. Otherwise we can’t move forward.
Second, and assuming that we do accept this, we need to come together as one and voice our outrage – not individually, but all of us, acting together, speaking with one voice.
After all, there is only the one system that affects us all: the same system that oppresses East Coast fishers also bullies the western farmer, bankrupts the Toronto school board and harasses the EI user in New Brunswick. It is also this same system that forces hospital closures and leads to the firing of healthcare workers across the country. One system: Harper and his corporate friends.
The rich understand the power of acting as one which is why long ago they organized under one banner, now known as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). This is an organization of 150 of the largest corporations in Canada who speak with one voice…to the Prime Minister. John Manley (shown in photo) is the president of the CCCE. All these powerful corporations acting with one voice enables them to waltz in to the PM’s office at any time to voice their demands. Pass these pieces of legislation (that favour the CCCE) or you’re toast!
In the meantime, Harper and his friends take into account the fact that we are not united so it’s easy for them to divide and conquer.
Also, by acting individually we unwittingly become part of the system itself. We become part of the very system that hurts others. We do this innocently enough, since this does not in any way represent our real feelings. Still, it is a key factor that Harper and his friends count on.
An example of this took place a few days ago at the Island Airport in Toronto where a small group of union activists had gathered to support 22 workers at Porter Airlines fighting for safer working conditions. The supporters had no intention of breaking any law or creating any damage. But the police in their bright yellow jackets were there big time and at one point seemed to outnumber the supporters. They kept pushing and shoving the supporters into a smaller group with their bikes, goading them to make a false move. Yet the union reps present in the group had earlier been fighting for better rights for the police.
We’re not talking about taking part in a violent revolution here, only about speaking with one voice. Workers and groups connecting as one. That’s really all it takes. By knocking on the PM’s door as one group, the PM will understand that the jig is up. He will get the message that we want him to come up with a better system; an honest system that shows respect for human life. Otherwise, we can declare with great strength and confidence that he really will be toast. And this he will readily understand.