Plaidneck

People vs Person

A comment on a radio program this morning kind of triggered a thought.

Today, there are two know people retained by their opposite governments. Both are known names. Media coverage has been extensive. The comment triggering this item was “there are people involved”. Because of these identifiable persons (a conscious change) we should care. Yes we should, but why should we care about a situation because we can identify the people?

Why do some people matter more than others without any discernable difference other than one is easier to write/comment about?

These two are individuals influential in their field, commerce. It is easy to search their lives, connections, family, foibles etc. There is much discussion of why they have been retained and the machinations performed to justify particular situations.

Somehow we have been manipulated into believing that identifiable persons are worth more time and effort than people not easily identified but are in at least as much and probably more peril.

We send purposefully arm, train and send young fit able young people to far away places to further our particular aims and often just forget them. They are not in as grave a situation as many of the young men we sent on “expeditions” in the mid 20th century, but their situations are serious. Around the world, families receive notice that their son or daughter has been killed in the service of their country with very little media coverage. They too are important.

There are people living in areas where population pressures, lack of work, lack of law, lack of food has made them desperate and often seriously oppressed. There are people living in locales where humans were not meant to live; low land, unstable land, unproductive land. These people are relevant, but because it is not easy to put a face and a story to them, they don’t become the people in “there are people involved”.

It isn’t easy to expand the mind to encompass these people who are in suffering en masse but in order to actually address major problems. We must.

The Plaidneck
(with apologies for the huge gap in putting my thoughts together for you)

Judas Goat

Here in the Province where I live, we’re in the final throws of an election.

Our system is to elect a local (riding) representative to represent us in the Legislative Assembly (our MLA). In order for us to make our decision, most candidates identify with a party (group of people with similar beliefs). Here is where we start to fall apart

The party (prior to an election) gets together and selects one of their members to be their leader. It seems that in most cases, just over half of 12,000 party members selects the “leader”.

Now we have the candidates with their leaders.
• listen to the local media coverage. Do you often hear their opinions or is it the leader’s
• how many times do you hear someone say I’m voting for [name of the leader] when they are not in that leader’s riding. (Only about 120,000 people will get to vote for any of the leaders).
• our general media also feed the illusion by asking and talking about voting for the leader, not the party or the local candidate.

Watch people faun over “their” leader. All too often, the comments are party talking points without any individual thought.

We’ve become sheep. Follow the leader.

With this leadership devotion, seems to come a concentration of power in that office. Where cabinets (elected members who are chosen to oversee certain tasks) used to be the leader’s advisors, paid staff chosen by the leader now provide that advice. If the leader chooses badly, should be blindly following?

Maybe the leader is a judas goat. Look it up.

The Plaidneck (I know, it’s been a while)

On Being Tolerant

I recently listened to an op-ed on cultural diversity. Although mentioned now and then, it never truly addressed the cultural change many of us have gone through and are continuing to go through.

Some background:
• I am a white, retired, professional living in a long settled rural part of Ontario. I hope I take people as they come, but as with many humans, also seem to have a tendency to be leery of groups that aren’t mine.
• I was brought up in what most would call a small town. At that time, the town wasn’t too diverse.
• I attended university in a medium sized city and there started to meet people of different cultures. Luckily my parents fostered an ethic of listening to everyone so these 4 years were a great time of learning. My understanding of differences grew.
• I first worked in Toronto, joined some different groups and again, broadened my knowledge of differences.
• Marriage; often a huge look at a very different ethic.
• My longest working stint was in one of the oldest settled parts of Ontario where two (possibly three) cultures live in relative harmony.
• My profession was heavily male oriented but about half a generation after I began, I had many respected, capable, business friends from all stripes. I served on a number of committees (provincial and country) where we were working through common problems. The membership was very diverse but the aims were the same.
• By the time I was raising a family of my own, the diversity of names on the backs of team sweaters had expanded well beyond that of the area’s original settlers. My children’s friends added to the variety.
• My daughter chose my profession.

Humans live in groups. Our groups are fluid and situational:
• my (children’s) school vs the next school over;
• my town’s local team vs the neighbouring town’s team;
• my marching band vs the band to the north.
• my church vs the one in the next county

People in one “vs” group often are in one of “my” other groups so the group isn’t based on anything other than it’s another group.

Humans developed in small groups and have always used caution when approaching another group. That caution is deep within our makeup.

The nearby city (again what many would call small town) is much more diverse than you’d expect.

• the two official languages are spoken and understood.
• there is a first nation presence
• more recent settlers wear all the vestments of their former home.

We’re getting there.

To truly become an accepting society requires work and time. Discussions on accepting diversity can turn into rants by those demanding full acceptance now. This is quite often coupled with some scolding.

We need time to learn – all of us. In the case of different cultures, that means mixing and understanding. I believe our challenge is to become part of enough diverse groups to become familiar with differences. By dealing with others, we can overcome the distrust of any differences.

In other words it is a journey and journeys take time and effort.

 

The Plaidneck

 

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