Saturday, November 8, 2008

A gentler tone and time

Now that both the US and Canadian elections are thankfully over - it has been a long, intense and sometimes alarming period - it feels like the time for forgiveness and collaboration has finally arrived. The people of both our countries as well as around the world need it. Our natural world needs it. And our future generations are completely dependent on it.

The election of Barack Obama has represented this and so much more to the majority of Americans as well as many, many internationally.

To see Obama's conciliatory approach as well as McCain's gracious concession speech on Tuesday, was inspiring and yet unsettling too. There is no question that there exists a tremendous rift in the US that will hopefully begin to be repaired in the next four years. More than that, however, the economic and ecological crises that we're now experiencing are on a global scale, affecting everyone. The US has the power and the responsibility to attempt to chart a new course - one that hopefully is inclusive, progressive and peace-oriented.

As much as I've reacted to what has seemed to be negative conservative posturing over the past few months, I'm feeling less comfortable with my own words now looking back. I have come to realize, or remember, that everyone truly is entitled to their views and their politics. Although we don't all agree philosophically, we live in a world where our interconnectedness becomes more and more apparent all the time. The need to accept our differences and work together seems more important now than ever before.

I'm hoping that everyone will accept the outcome of Tuesday's US election and move forward together. I'm trusting that goodwill for all will now necessarily take over - as is being seen in the international approach to the economic meltdown. And I'm praying that we can all move on from choosing warfare as a suitable choice in dealing with disputes, no matter how dire they are.

Today we heard of the release of CBC journalist Mellissa Fung who had been abducted a month ago while on assignment in Kabul. Thankfully she had not been hurt and will be returned home to her family soon. She was taken two days prior to the Canadian election and the decision was made not to announce her disappearance in order to protect her safety and to help in securing her release. It took international cooperation including direct contact between Stephen Harper and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, daily work by Afghani and Canadian government and security officials, and the agreement by journalists at the CBC, throughout Canada and around the world not to publish the story.

And now just days following the US election, Mellissa's worried family and colleagues - as well as the rest of us who were unaware - hear that she is safe. Thanks to nonpartisan, collaborative and wise action on the part of hundreds of people on the international stage. This one example gives me some hope. That said, Mellissa wouldn't have been put in this dangerous position if we weren't at war in Afghanistan. And we wouldn't be in Afghanistan if...

With all the promise that potentially rests with Obama and his government, there remain other setbacks and challenges - including the regressive repeal and/or banning of legalized same-sex marriage in California, Florida and Arizona during the same election.

With all that's going on for good and for bad, idealism is definitely not what's needed now. Pragmatic humanitarianism might be the ticket though.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


... comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. Every instance is a blessing. And it's always amazing how the right ones come along at just the right time - whether in a long distance call, hurried e-hello, impromptu get together or shared experience.

Whether brand new or wonderfully old, they form much of the fabric of life. And it's especially heart-warming to know we can count on each other. Cause that's what friends are for - each and every one.