Staying Canadian

Looking South

I look to my neighbors down South and the trouble and tragedy they are having down there with the radical right and the radical left fighting.  Hate spilling into the streets, violence and acts of terror on both sides of the political spectrum.  I look at them then I look at my own country and my own people up here.  I want to believe that we wouldn’t fall to that level of hatred and violence but I can see cracks starting to show.  I see both sides going from reasonable debate to utter hate and I have to say that we need to get this under control before it’s too late.

There was a time when people could have reasonable discussions and debates in public without it dissolving into violence and murder.  We need to do our best to make sure that we return to that, that we still remain proud and free.  Free to discuss and debate while being free from violence and threats of violence.  I look down to the States and I see democracy on the precipice.  I see an election that turned a country on its head.  I see a total 180 from even a few years ago and I have to wonder why.  If you find out why, you can stop the same from happening here.

The internet.  As much as I love it, the internet has played a huge role in all this.  With the rise of fake news, facts loosing meaning, people living in echo chambers and others socially stunted by it, I have to say that the internet is one of the major forces to blame for this mess.  It’s an amazing tool, but like any tool it can be misused and can cause harm.  In the case of politics and news the internet has become a force that helps amplify the negatives of people.

How do we stop that?  Like any powerful technology it all comes down to the user.  I would never call for censoring the Internet, but people need to be responsible.  Never in human history has a tool like this existed and we need to treat it with the respect that any dangerous tool deserves.  In order to do that people need to research things on their own, seek out opposing voices, engage in calm and reasonable debate and get offline every once and a while.  We live attached to our screens and insulated in our echo chambers, we need to make an effort to escape that.

Fear of the other is another major factor that has resulted in all this.  We are scared of what we don’t understand, that’s normal, that’s human but we need to get past that.  We need to challenge that fear and learn where we can.  Fake news (be it an internet source or a major source like CNN) preys on this fear.  It stokes the fear because fear gets views and views get money and that’s what it’s all really about.  People need to be aware of this fear and be aware of how others are feeding off of it in order to change the game and turn things back to where we are in control and to where we love one another.

That’s what it really comes down to in the end, love in the face of fear.  Loving people despite their differences.  Loving people even if they scare you.  Loving people and challenging the hate.  Countering it with love and understanding.  Never turn to violence, even in the face of violence.  If there is one thing we should have learned over the years it’s that violence only breeds more violence.  Change can only come through love, violence will only breed more hate and more violence down the road.

The world is crumbling around us.  Oceans are rising, species are dying, famine is on the uptick, we are on the brink of global epidemics and shortages the likes of which we have never seen.  All this political bickering, all this hate is a distraction.  A distraction from problems that we might think are too hard to solve.  A distraction from the fact that we have surpassed greenhouse gas levels from which we can never reverse the damage.  A distraction from the fact that we are living on a planet that we have done our best to make uninhabitable for us.  That’s why we need to stop all this fighting, stop the stone age bickering we are so prone to and start focusing on the real problems.

Us up here in Canada need to look to the States and see a lesson on what not to do.  We should be doing our best to not imitate that madness.  We need to focus on the real problems we face both here and on a global scale.  Problems beyond ISIS or BLM or the KKK.  Problems beyond hate that is stoked by the media and the internet.  We need to use these tools for good and in this case that good is fixing this planet.  It’s the only place we have and if we let ourselves get distracted from these real problems by fake ones we are going to be left sitting in a pile of rubble wondering how it all went wrong.

Sorry for the disjointed rant.  It’s been a long weekend for me, lots going on in my world as well as the world at large.  I wish you all the best and thank you for reading.

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