Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Unbearable Lightness of Sunny Ways

In the Aesop's fable of The Wind and the Sun, the wind and sun argue over which was stronger. A traveller then appears on the road, and to settle their dispute the wind and sun decide to see which can get the traveller to remove his coat first. So the wind blows. And blows. And blows, and the traveller wraps his coat ever more tightly around himself, until the wind gives up and the sun takes a turn. Beating down, all hot and warm and cozy and nice, so that eventually the traveller discards the cloak.

Here in Canada, as a result of the last federal election, we have moved from the dark and stormy ways of the former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who spewed forth fire and brimstone, casting the world as a dangerous place where evil lurks in each and every corner, to the sunny ways of the newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who shines before us with a much more positive view of the world, a place in which compassion and generosity are allowed once again to emerge in the politics of the nation.

For the majority of Canadians, it feels as though a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders.  No longer do we need to bow our heads to the moral certainty of those who worship the angry, vindictive God of the old testament.  Yes, let there be light, the light that shines from scientific research that dares to contradict the received vision of those who wield power and the statistical evidence that sheds light on the actual living conditions in which Canadians find themselves.  Some how, some way, the attempt to tell the truth openly and without recrimination became frowned upon in Harperland.  I'm so glad we no longer live there.

Yet, let us not fool ourselves.  The angry white men have not gone away.  For the moment, they are beside themselves.  "How did we let power slip from our grasp?" "We own the media!"  This very thought is too much for them to bear.

As a result, we know what lies ahead.  Throughout the upcoming year, those who own the traditional media will attack the newly formed government without respite.  As well, they will do their best to cast gloom and doom upon the society.  In short, they will try to extinguish the light and replace it with the foreboding of a gathering storm, the back drop from which the soon-to-be-anointed leader of the dark forces will be cast as the only one who can save us from the impending peril.

Sounds like a script from Star Wars to me.  Unfortunately, it works all too well.

As for me, I won't be tuning in.  I no longer watch television; haven't bought a newspaper in more than five years; listen to satellite radio while in my car; and get my news from my Facebook and my personal, algorithm-driven newsfeeds.

I suggest you do the same.  We need to take the same care in how we feed our minds as we should do when we feed our bodies. Without the shrieks of those who have us believe the sky is falling, the lightness of sunny ways is a pleasure to behold.

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