“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” – Seneca
Welcome 2018. I really had no intention of seeing the New Year in but after lying wide awake in bed for the past hour and a half I decided what the hell. I had a few ideas floating around in my mind so decided to put some word to paper or in this case keyboard to blog.
I stopped doing the whole New Years resolution many years ago. To me New Years resolutions are right up there with political campaign promises. They sound good when you are making them but they become pretty misty when it is time to actually act. However this year I have made a commitment to myself to avoid the dismal experience of repeating the mood altering process of 2017. As I indicated in my last article 2017 was pretty dismal and I have to hold myself responsible for that. I spend too much time focused on CNN, CBC and other equally political news shows.
The politics of the past year has been very disheartening and really highlights the shrinking middle ground of North American society. There has been a major upswing in the polarization of current ideologies and as a hard core centrist I felt battered by the tsunami of negativity. I think the best strategy I can adopt to counter that is write more often but say less. More articles but short bursts. Most people I know don’t want a lot of detail but something short and to the point. That is my commitment for 2018. Not to be overwhelmed with political drama (I won’t be ignoring it) but to produce more personal observations based on my historical involvement of todays society.
I can link this type of thinking to my childhood and the cognitive development of my beliefs. Growing up in the children’s hospital involved short bursts of activities which had a major impact on my development so why not delve into that.
This current state of polarization is destroying the middle ground for a large part of what is generally referred to as the silent majority. One of the things I have heard repeatedly throughout 2017 was the reluctance of family get togethers to introduce political discussion. I remember a time where that kind of discussion could happen regularly with some form of compromise being reached. Today compromise appears to have disappeared. It has become hard core right or left ideologies. Negativity abounds and too many good people have just abandoned any opportunity to an open discussion out of fear of resulting hard feelings. I have seen more families ripped apart in the past year due to this polarization.
I have personalized too much of this as I watch hard fought for gains being eroded by so many who believe history began in 1980. By 1980 I had almost fifteen years of activism under my belt and remember things like the 1963 peace march, the assassination of Medgar Evers, the same year John F Kennedy was assassinated, the 1968 killing of Martin Luther King, and the equivalent of the North American Arab Springs, the Kent State Massacre. These were all results of the advancements being challenged by the civil rights movement.
Canada was not innocent either. We had our own “October Crisis” involving the FLQ and resulting in the murder of Minister of Immigration and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte, We are not innocent but so many people born after 1980 are totally unaware of these events. They seem to prefer a more simplistic approach and avoid detail. That needs to stop before all of the advances made since 1980 including the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedoms only work when they are acknowledged and practiced
These were not black and white events but they did open the door for the middle ground required for effective civil rights. The polarization we are now seeing is allowing these events to start creeping back into our society. All of these things happened before I was twenty so to me they are not history, they are experiences that have molded me and I can’t in good conscience afford to abandon them now.
My commitment to improving 2018 is to write more but say less. I hope you find it informative and helps give you the strength to speak out or question me. I would also like to share some of what I call my “social awareness poetry”. This one was a short statement about the environment. Please enjoy and if you have questions leave it in the comment section and I will get back to you.
Instant this and packaged that,
Designed to save man haste,
Landfills growing and air polluting,
Creating a poisonous waste,
Energy sources and expanding technology,
Helps man extend his life,
Waste and pollution all around,
Causing harm and strife.
The love of nature moves along,
New grass growing, old oaks strong,
Crisp snow melting on mountaintops,
Clouds above create raindrops,
Undoing man for what it’s worth,
Mother Nature cleansing the earth,
How can nature keep pace with man?
While we poison the earth in all ways we can.
Terry Wiens August 2005
Happy New Year not maybe I can sleep…