Thursday, April 9, 2009
A few years ago I had the privilege of hearing Justin Trudeau speak at a local school event. For those of you are aren't Canadian, he is the eldest son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. He is following in his father's footsteps and in recent years has entered Canadian politics. He is an environmentalist, an avid youth advocate and a true man of ideals. I will certainly support his political career particularly after hearing his views that day.
The topic of the day was character building and he touched on many of the ideals that I espouse, personal responsibility, respect, compassion, empathy, basically, the virtues. He also related these ideals to his personal life and occasionally mentioned his well-known father in his address to us that day.
The statement that affected me most however, is when he related a story of how as a little boy he said to his father that there was another boy he knew who couldn't afford something he needed. I believe it was school supplies, a book or pencils, something along those lines. He went to his father and asked him if they could help. After finding a way to help his friend he said to his father about the situation "that's not fair". His father, instead of saying to him as many parents would have said "well that's the way life is" his father said "no it isn't but it ought to be". He then went on to talk about how they were privileged and it is the responsibility of the privileged to help those who don't have it quite so good, to level the playing field so that life is fairer and everybody whether born a Trudeau or a John Doe has the same opportunity in life.
Today I was reading this blog, Life in the Second Half, and the premise of the post was "what do we want this world to look like after we come out of the transition we are in right now"?
I think I know what I want. A just society, not just in Canada but in the world, where people of all colour, religion, sexual orientation, economic backgrounds, every child of the world has equal opportunity to be a fully actualized person in life, to reach the goals they set and to not have limits placed in their way simply by virtue of who their parents are or the country they were born into. And we have to make sure all people of the world have enough to eat, shelter and security and freedom to be all they are meant to be. There is nothing but good to be gained from this goal. And I want the governments of the world to share the same principle, ensuring that their population is fed, that their environment is protected and that the people are able to grow and prosper regardless of their different opinions and status in life.
Then I want all of the people who are able to adjust their lifestyle so that we heal this planet we are living on and start to live in a way that enables the people to inhabit this rock in the universe to sustain its population.
Yes, I have lofty ideals, but even as someone who isn't a Trudeau, someone who is just a Jane Doe, simply being born in this country has given me automatic privilege. I live in a place of peace and abundance and I think it's incumbent upon me to share that as best I can. If I don't have ideals then what do I have? I may not always reach them but I have to strive for them. I have to reach out, I have to express understanding and strive for the just society the former prime minister spoke of so often.
I can't do this alone but a collective effort can make the positive change needed. I feel the rumblings of change and revolution. In addition, I'm hoping this time humanity revolts against injustice and disharmony with peace, not violence, because in the history of our existence violence has never brought peace. Peace cannot be enforced, upon the people, it has to be inspired by the people through positive actions and words. Your positive actions and words.
No, right now, for a lot of people, life's not fair, but it ought to be. Let's look around and see where we can pick up the slack for those who haven't had the chances we've had. Let's do our little bit and see if together we can't make things a little more fair for the world in which we live. Let's imagine it can be done and it will be done.
And for your listening pleasure Imagine by John Lennon