I am not by nature an outspoken person or a fighter. I would rather be quiet than speak up. I would rather go along and get along. I don't like confrontation, I don't like being the object of public criticism, and as much as it pains me to admit it, I've never enjoyed having to think long and hard about topics that can frequently be dry and complex, such as governance and politics and democracy and economics and taxation and leadership and so much more.
But I've been trying to change.
And Remembrance Day seems like a fitting time to set out my revised personal code of conduct that includes both the actions I find easy and the actions that are harder for me.
Today I am promising myself ...
... to be kind to others, because we all have troubles
... to be open to what others are really saying, underneath what they appear to be saying
... to be brave enough to stand up and fight for what I believe in, if/when it becomes necessary
... to be engaged in relevant issues every day, not just when I am marking an X on a ballot
The freedom to do - or not do - these things is part of what our armed forces fought for.
I can live these things every day as a way to thank them, to honour their service, and to help protect that hard-won freedom.
If I believe in goodness and equality and fairness and freedom for all people, I must live them every day.
Not everyone can make big sweeping changes in the world.
But every single one of us can improve our small sphere within it.
For a thoughtful, concise, and encouraging essay on the results of the American election, titled "It's Going to be Okay," written by Tim Urban of the blog Wait But Why, click HERE.
|Courtesy of Pixabay|
Every sweeping change starts small. And I love your pledge to yourself.
The Wait but Why article arrived in my in-box this morning. As I read it, I thought that the names could be changed and it would apply equally to ALL democratic countries. Which is not to say that I don't find this election frightening - I do. However for the moment I am going to wait and see.
We officially call it veterans day here, but some of us do remember "the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" origin of it. I sort of have a tradition, which I've already indulged this evening, of listening to Paul Simon's "Armistice Day", which seemed even more fitting and even topical to this post, with its lyrics about trying to see one's congressman and all.
-Doug in Oakland
A sobering thought.
All worthy goals! And along these lines, I appreciated your comment yesterday on my blog, too. People definitely feel they are not being heard, and doing our part to hear is a good first step. (They could sometimes do better at hearing us, too, though!)
My grandmother would say, "Pull up your corset strings girls, we have work to do." Nothing has changed except the reason.
Absolutely, this could happen in any of our democracies. Which is why I want to stay engaged. Informed citizens are alert citizens. And also why I want to really hear what others are saying. It's our only chance to try to avoid problems, or to solve them if they've gotten out of hand. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, as always, EC.
What a cool song - I'd never heard that one. Thanks for that. It seems that politicians SAY they are listening but very few are - like the congressman who is "avoiding me" in this tune.
It's been percolating in my head for awhile, Terry. In a good kind of way.
Thanks, Steve. I actually felt like I shouldn't have left that comment afterward, because it was too soon. Peoples' grief is too new. I wasn't stopping to hear that, and that failure is on me. And you are completely right - those on both sides have to listen. I think education - not just saying we are right because look at how right we are, but true education about all the issues to running a country, or a state/province, or a town or village - is a huge component of democracy. And I wonder if any country in the world will EVER really get to a place where their citizens are not so divided. But we can only try.
I wonder if it will ever change, Joanne. (See my reply to Steve.) But we can't sit around waiting for someone else to do it. I LOVE that saying and am going to use it every chance I get. Which may not be often but it will be spectacular.
And I'm realizing that was an incomplete thought, of course. There are so many things that need worked on. Understanding the democratic process is only one link in the chain. But it might help people realize what government can and can't do, realistically, and help them choose better at the ballot box. Education is also a good start in so many other areas. And all over the world, I see people fighting the good fight, so I am hopeful. And I'll try to do my part.
I love your pledge, and your openness to understanding, and your optimism that things will ultimately turn out ok. May it be so. xo
Some days I feel as thick as two planks, or maybe just very naive - but thank you for seeing past that to my good intentions, Angella. Yes, let it be okay. But if it isn't, we are standing with you here north of the border, for what that is worth.
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