Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Unity Of Purpose

In these polarized times, it seems that two age groups are often looked upon by the media in almost absolutist terms. We are told, for example, that people over the age of 65 are the most likely to vote (about 75 per cent did so in the 2011 election), and that their support predominantly goes to the Conservative Party. The youth vote is discouragingly low (about 38 per cent voted in the last election), and young people are portrayed a politically disengaged, losing themselves in social media and their various electronic devices. Such pigeonholing, of course, overlooks the wide variations that exist within all demographic groupings.

The two letters that follow challenge such narrow categorizations. The first was sent to me by A.J. Recana, whose Star letter I featured a while ago in my blog. As you will see, his commentary reveals someone very much concerned about the pressing issues of our time:
SETI, otherwise known as the Search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a collective name for scientific endeavors executed to look for life outside our world. Accounts such as NASA and their Keplar spacecraft discovering a planet characterized as “Earth’s bigger, older cousin” and the most recent confirmation of water and ancient lakes on Mars by NASA, are all great discoveries indeed. The potential for these discoveries and future ones are substantial catalysts for advancing the existence of the human race and it is unfathomable.

Here is the problem: We look for life on other planets yet we continue to abolish and harm life on our own. We look for suitable environments out in outer space yet we continue to destroy our primary home.

Let us take a step back and look at ourselves, figure out our troubles before advancing onto other regions in the universe and coming into contact with other life forms. If we cannot find resolutions to the conflicts and issues that have been going on within the history of humanity, how can we expect ourselves to sustain life outside this world? If we cannot improve our living conditions and take great care of our beautiful earth, how can we expect to do the same on planets that is not of our own?

The change starts with us; let’s make it happen.
The next piece, published in yesterday's Star, again challenges conventional perceptions.
Conservatives betting on rhetoric of fear, Oct. 5

I am 79 years old and have endeavoured all my life to vote with thoughtful consideration of the facts. In all those years, I have never seen such a patently racist campaign run by any party, as that of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. I did not think this could happen in Canada, and I feel both angry and ashamed.

After receiving the most disturbing flyer from the campaign office of Dianne Watts regarding the “Jihadist Terrorists, which only the Conservative party could protect us from,” I thought that our Muslim Canadians must be feeling dreadful over this relentless, ugly propaganda. I felt the need to find even one Muslim to apologize for this injustice and the hurt it caused. I found a lady at the mall, and after enquiring if she was Muslim, delivered my apology.

I said, “This is not the Canadian way.” Smiling at me with tears in her eyes, she agreed. I gave her a hug, and departed.

What are we doing to our country? One thing thing is clear, the new Conservative party bears little resemblance to the old Progressive Conservative Party that I voted for over a 50-year span.

Harper’s relentless attacks on our Muslim citizens, including references to “Barbaric cultural practices,” “Jihad threat,” and this endless hulabaloo about the niqab, clearly demonstrates a man who is exploiting that unworthy side of our nature, the racist the lurks in all of us. His propaganda is superb.

John Diefenbaker coined the phrase, “Unhyphenated Canadian.” A worthy goal. How I miss him and all the other prime ministers who truly valued our Canadian democracy.

Sybil Rowe, Surrey, B.C.

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