Monday, July 22, 2024


What are we to do when the world seems to make no sense. When Russia can break international law and waltz into its sovereign neighbour unimpeded and kill thousands of innocent people yet maintain its position as a permanent member of the UN security council, with embassies politely hosted in capitals around the world, staffed by people who continue to enjoy diplomatic privileges.
When neither the U.N. Security Council nor the International Court of Justice can stop Israel’s assault on Palestinians in Gaza. The issue has been taken all the way to the world’s top institutions and nothing has changed. There is nowhere for innocent civilians to be safe and the few remaining hospitals are barely functional, having to make terrible choices in their treatment of the injured as the death toll heads towards 30,000.
What are any of us supposed to do when the world seems to be losing its mind? When vast swaths of the world’s wealth are in the hands of a few multi-billionaires, harvested like grain from the work of the rest of us, used to pay for their joy rides into near space, while billions of people on this planet somehow eek out their survival in conditions of squalid impoverishment.
There seems to be a very good chance that a well-known menace to society will get re-elected to the highest office of the world’s greatest superpower, our closest neighbour and biggest trading partner. What are we supposed to do?
The temptation is to find a good hobby or sport, a novel to read, a Netflix series to watch – some immersive experience that will displace all thoughts about the state of the world.
But just as the appeal of such forms of escapism begins to take hold, it may be time to recall a hymn many of us sang as children: Brighten the corner where you are.
The message is clear: if we all do what we can to make things good in our parts of the planet, it will add up to humanity being in good shape. It is a message that has been taken very much to heart here in the Pontiac where evidence of volunteerism, community service, fundraising for good causes and support for people who need help is in abundance.
Can we do more?
At a time when the highest levels of governance in the world are wanting, what can we do to make sure our own governance is as good as it can be? Can we do a better job of pressing our representatives in the provincial and federal legislatures to deliver strong, clear messages to our capitals that we need governance that is sane, compassionate and principled, not expedient, short-term, self-serving?
Can we raise our collective voice to insist that the deliberations of our local elected officials are open and transparent, a necessary condition for a functioning democracy?
And can we look up from our good local work and see what fate has befallen people just like us who happen to have the misfortune of being born into a troubled part of the planet, who live under the control of an undemocratic, authoritarian regime?
There’s a lot going on in this world and we all need to be paying attention to it, using credible sources of information to stay as informed as we can, ready to make our thoughts known to the people we elect about what we need them to do to ensure we leave this merry-go-round called Earth in a condition – politically, socially and environmentally – conducive to peace, security and a decent quality of life for all its inhabitants, now and for centuries to come.

Charles Dickson