Ruth Hill sends along these thoughts. Ruth is a poet living in Canada.
Hi, Michael. Thoughtful interactive conversation can heal great divisions. It is important to air out concerns. Anyone who studies zen knows there is seldom only one right answer. I am an American by birth who is living and working in Canada. I refuse to be called an ex-pat, because I have never lost my love of, or loyalty for, my homeland and what it stands for, or used to stand for. In both countries, value priorities have polarized in different areas and in different media choices. This has created exclusive sub-cultures who are not serving the whole.
In Canada, there are many who are still British Empire Loyalists. Rejection of Monarchy is one of the founding principles of the US. Yet the false faith in inherited ability to lead has been revealed repeatedly with the John Adamses, the Bushes, the Clintons (by marriage), and the Trudeaus. I am always shocked by how many Canadians erroneously think they have the same Bill of Rights coverage as in the US constitution, but they do not. Another gaping misunderstanding among Canadians is that they are fully dependent on the US to defend them, allowing them to pretend peace, under-fund their own military, and downplay its importance. Yet they do contribute in many unseen ways, rescuing hostages, intelligence, and recently rescuing immigrants stranded at Canadian airports by Trump’s ignorant travel ban.
I am equally shocked by how my US friends and relatives know absolutely nothing about their closest neighboring country and best friend. Currently there could be better collaboration among environmental groups for west coast salmon, cross-border pollution, and pipeline concerns. Th US is not making any friends here. Thirty years ago, we had a cross-border friendship, but it has been ruined by the softwood lumber dispute and other one-sided trade agreements. There has been a lot of bigger, richer, more powerful bullying, and not enough respect communicated to the average Canadian citizen. In this void, anger and resentment accumulate. This can affect future mutual security.
It is a challenge to dialogue amid opposite points of view. The points of view do not matter as much as mutual respect, listening, educating, fact-checking, weighing options objectively, considering consequences, compromising, and moving forward together towards overarching goals. When these goals are missing, both points of view are wrong.
I would add to my comment that I try to do my part by public participation in uplifting and inspiring art and poetry that expresses tolerance, diversity, political wisdom, and environmental responsibility. I espouse a moral stewardship of one another and all aspects of the world. This includes financial patronage or boycotting, and trying to minimize my consumption of the planet, while encouraging others to do the same. I believe creative people provide the most important thought leadership in all cultures. Evidence of this is the frequency of their suffering coercion, suppression, torture, and martyrdom.
Ruth says this about the following poem:
This poem, “The Difficulties,” won Honorable Mention December 2013 in Anita McAndrews Poets for Human Rights. The poem focuses on the brainwashing of children as leading to war. Education is a counter to this. It is interesting that those who brainwash their children to hate are those who most vigorously oppose liberal education for all and secular government.
Certainly anyone is free to repost anything I have submitted anywhere.
The difficulties in trying to save
your enemies’ children
— the innocents, collateral damage —
is that they belong so thoroughly
to your enemies
Handing candy to them in the refugee camps
you see it in their eyes
they have already learned to throw stones
waggle their tongues at you like wild turkeys
to repeat the irrational rationale
of why you are their enemy — ‘infidel’ —
your food and your kindnesses,
their rightful plunder
© Ruth Hill 2013