I've always been confused as to how some people can memorize every foreign dictators name, every atrocity committed in the name of that name, and never once think about whats happening in their own backyard. When confronted with the problems of our communities, whether that be locally or nationally, they act as if I'm speaking a foreign language. They don't understand how its revelant to their existence. Quick to comment on the corporations or mass-media or other governments, they are almost offended when the focus is drawn back to the soil they're standing on.
I don't get it.
I am by no stretch of the imagination caught up with all the budgets, onmibus bills, policy changes, fiscal irresponsibility or any other issues with my local, provincial, and federal governments. I've always thought that it's almost pointless to think of a problem happening halfway around the world when we can barely hold our own here lately. That isn't to say that those things aren't important. We all have families and friends that live abroad, and human compassion and empathy allows me to care about the struggles all over the world, but I think about it this way - If a person is unable to accept their fears, judgements, and biases, look at them critically, and make active positive change to work past them, how do they expect to be able to help others? Are they doing more harm than good? I take my theory and apply it to a group of people, living within a country, wanting to help another group of people living in another country. I see people helping each other across borders, but things don't seem to be getting better. The people who are in charge of making the policies that we would all really benefit from seem only to make changes that benefit them selves, or a few people. I am by no means a pessimist, but no matter how hard it looks like others try, even if those people make a difference in one persons life (which in itself is an amazing thing to do), it doesn't feel like we're getting anywhere lately. In the grand scheme of human existence, we are moving forward as far as equality goes, and maybe I have such a limited view of history that I can only see that things are maybe getting worse. It seems to me that we are losing more of our rights and freedoms, and it seems to me like fewer and fewer people are willing to do something about it.
So what if we took all our collective caring and fact memorizing and planning out of foreign countries and applied it all to Canada. Would there be any change in our country to have all that energy invested in it? Would we be more fit, as a country, to give better service to other countries in need if we looked at ourselves and our problems critically, and made moves to better ourselves? I would imagine that our collective quality of life would improve, because most people would realize policies that work for people are much different then policies that work for business or self-interest. Maybe we'd take a stand against the companies wanting to destroy our environment. Maybe we would demand higher standards of the groups that provide us with our food and water. Maybe we would invest in technologies that were more (or completely) sustainable for our transportation and infrastructure. Maybe we would decriminalize substance abuse and work to heal those who ail. Maybe we would all be paid a living, fair wage so we could enjoy life and still interact with the rest of the world. Maybe we would research what makes people healthy, instead of of what makes us sick. Maybe we would take steps to educate our citizens on issues like race inequality, or gender bias, or fatism, or sexism. I believe that if we invested our brain and heart resources into this country first to change, heal and improve it, that we would be in a much better position to help others, even through our transition.
Of course, this all takes individuals to change too, and that's the hardest thing to do.
On a small victory note, the people who run the company I work for decided to change the language in the question they were asking us on our Toronto trip to something way more appropriate. That didn't stop an employee from another store from referring to Africa as a country. And I still had to explain to everyone that everyone has an ethnicity. Also, I had the chance to talk to the people who run/own the company and share my thoughts on how we could improve it and be more progressive in our policies. We'll see what comes of that.
Goodnight friendos. I feel strange about writing this post because I feel like I'm really putting myself out there (here) with some ideas that have been circulating in my brain. Leave a comment if you like, I'm open to a dialogue.