Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm proud to be a Canadian,


Although I admit that has taken a beating the past few months as we (or those we elected to represent us) have sacrificed a few of the things we stand for in favor of a few things that (not surprisingly) are the opposite.
-We have sacrificed a social conscience that is aware of injustice for a blind eye to anything but the Olympics.
-We have sacrificed support for the little guy for corporate greed.
-We have sacrificed justice and a social safety net for the underprivileged for budget cuts to arts, education, health, and other programs.
-We have sacrificed a healthy multiculturalism and honor for cultural uniqueness for hijacking the parts of First Nations culture that look good (while continuing to dishonor the people themselves).
-We have sacrificed freedom of speech for the threat of free speech areas and billy clubs.

I realize this is a downer on the day Canada won a record number of Gold medals, and concludes a successful Olympic Winter Games. But it's what I observe.

I was walking around Victoria's inner harbor during the dying moments of the gold medal hockey game. Soon after the noise level began rising around me, the local carillon began playing 'If I were a rich man' from 'Fiddler on the roof'. Perhaps quite apropos, if the pessimism about the cost of the Olympics proves to be true.

A few minutes later, in the midst of whoops and hollers and honks, I saw a faithful group of young people again firing up their BBQ for the regular Sunday afternoon Tailgate Grill for hungry Victorians down by the 'whale wall'.
Not everyone has the wherewithal to watch a hockey game on the local pub's big screen, and then do victory laps, waving the flag. Some people are struggling just to be warm, dry, and fed.
I'm impressed with the Tailgate Grill crew for knowing which activity is most important.

I'm still proud to be a Canadian. But I hope we can regain the heart for people we are known for. Not just those with money and power, but for those with neither.


Grannie said...

Being one of the have nots, I agree with your points. Although I manage to keep myself warm and fed, along with my animals, I am far from the rich and powerful who seem to be interested in nothing but more riches and power. My OAS pension was cut by $6.00 per month this year, not a large sum, but why? Maybe that's my contribution to the Olympics, which neither interest me nor stir patriotism in my heart. I cry for the 64 year old lady who died on a gurney in a hospital corridor, just because the hallway was so overcrowded no one could properly tend to her. Where's the compassion and understanding towards the sick and elderly? Show me an improved health care system where everyone is treated quickly and appropriately, then you may consider my patriotism.........

Al said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Grannie. I'm afraid there are a whole lot of people like you that would be happier with enough to be comfortable. Instead, we got a 17 day party, and probably years of debt and cutbacks.

I was kind of thinking of Tommy Douglas when I wrote this. People like him make me patriotic. Guys like our premier and our gold medal winners, well, not so much.

Luke said...

dude, the worst part was that y'all didn't even have snow. i mean, when we USAers roll up there, we want a clear field to win our 37 medals (an winter olympic record mind you). so screw your tired, your poor, your tired masses yearning to breathe free, and make sure we have snow and a McDonald's. and a starbucks.

oh... and a shop full of culturally mispurposed images so we can act like we know what your country is all about when we return home.

oh! and so we can act like our health care system is superior because of the cuts that had to be made in order to finance these games.

your superior American friend,


p.s. sarcasm much?

Grannie said...

Hey Luke - cute!!

shallowfrozenwater said...

you were one guy who definitely spoke to me about making sure to remember the poor while the Olympics droned on. we have a different perspective on this matter because i did watch and enjoy the Olympics, i just want you to know that i often thought about this dilemma as i thought about the poverty issues that the Olympics created and/or ignores. i'm still thinking about it and i thank you for helping to challenge me on this one.

Al said...

Sorry we were a little shy on the snow, Luke. But we had to let y'all know that once you cross the US Canadian border you don't immediately end up in the Arctic!

But I'm sure we had more than enough McDs and Starbucks.

Did you hear about our going-out-of-style Olympics mittens? They were made in China, I hear.

Good luck on the superior health care!

Ian, that's all I could hope to do. Since you are slightly addicted to hockey, I couldn't expect you to not watch!

Mark (under construction) said...

Enjoyed the viewing over here but when the crowd and the noise dies down ... we look once gain upon our nakedness.

jstainer said...

Great post.

Must admit that as a massive hockey fan I have been really struggling with the cognitive dissonance going on between my love for a multi-million dollar professional sporting league, and my desire to actually dig in and enter into the suffering of others.

They seem mutually exclusive to me, and yet I love my hockey so much! Keep these kinds of posts up, they keep me thinking and challenge me to keep pushing back against my own selfishness.

Al said...

Good point, Mark. Perhaps seeing the nakedness again might rouse us to greater action. I hope.

Joel, glad to have your thoughts. I admit, it's not as difficult for me since I don't tend to be much of a sports fan. I appreciate your open heart, and I can only hope others come to that same place. I think the thing that really hurt during the Olympics was the wholesale sellout by most Christians. People who should at least be open to see the issues of injustice, etc., but seemed blind to it all. Thank God for those who are standing up for the little guy.


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