On the heels of Braving the Wilderness, I am officially adopting “speak truth to bullshit” as at least on of my mantras going forward. Today has been one of those days! I am functioning on three hours of sleep, the joys of visiting your in-laws and sleeping in a strange bed.
So despite the lack of wine as an excuse, it feels like I have had a day long hangover. Currently 9:15 and looking forward to the pillow, and hopefully some decent sleep.
With that said, a young man I know is currently in hospital in Edmonton with a brain bleed, and his dad is having a far worse day than I. How do you deal with the reality that your son, in his tender years, will likely not pull through? Fuck if I know? My friend Maddie (my spiritual director) texted me and asked me to petition on their behalf, knowing full well that I am very much conflicted about that simple request. In respect for her, and them, I had a very rude conversation (perhaps with myself) where I expressed my frustration and anger with how unfair their situation is, and how unfair this world can be at times (well if we are speaking truth to bullshit, all of the time).
I am very fortunate, I know this. And knowing it, and living it, is part of the problem. Life all seems so random, so unfair, so fucking unjust. So for now, all I can be, at least in this regard is thankful.
Given my lack of energy today, I have been a bit of a sports lump. I have watched golf, baseball, and hockey. While watching hockey today I couldn't help but notice the pride with which the NHL, and Hockey Night in Canada is touting its very first broadcast of a hockey game tomorrow night in Cree. Let me first say how much I think that this is a good thing. Hockey is something which indeed offers hope to some of the youth of the First Nations in this land. And offering a broadcast of a game in a traditional language is a small step in the right direction.
With all of that said, it is nothing close to enough. Our Prime Minister is fond of the idea that he is THE defender of First Nations in Canada. I used to work for someone like that. We called him the “Great White Father”, not an endearing monicker. While he loves to talk the talk, his walk is severely lacking. All we have to look at is the housing crises on reserves across this nation. The lack of potable water, the lack of adequate housing, the epidemic of black mold, just to name a few, is evidence of how far we still need to go. I have many friends who are committed to addressing the needs of those in third world countries, which while noble in terms of intensions, fails to acknowledge the myriad of issues rife for address here at home.
Canadians are so easily outraged at intolerance directed at minorities, but are largely happy to ignore the injustice in their own back yards when it comes to the plight of Canada’s First Nations. I doubt many, if any of you who read this blog, have actually visited a reserve. Truthfully it has been ten years since I have visited one. I spent a lot of time on reserves while I practiced law, and what I encountered there troubled me then. When I got into coffee and started visiting coffee producing countries, my world was then filled with the poverty and injustice of Africa and Central America. The simple truth is that the world is filled with poverty, and injustice. It is overwhelming. And yet, it should demand our attention. It should require more than a telecast of a hockey game in Cree. It should demand houses that are not Petri dishes for black mold. It should demand water supplies that provide safe drinking water, in a country in possession of more fresh water than any other nation on earth. It should result in a Federal Government that actually walks the talk, and deals with their fiduciary obligations of signing treaties (avoiding wars) decades ago. The poverty and injustice in our world requires more than lip service.
I have no illusion that a conservative government led by Andrew Sheer will solve these problems. In fact, they will probably make them worse. I am under no illusion that re-electing Rachel Notley’s NDP will make the lives of First Nations better in Alberta. And I very much doubt that Jason Kenny will lead the charge in terms of addressing injustice. But what I do know is that individual Albertans, Canadians, can solve this issue. If we demanded that our leaders finally addressed the century long injustices, we could perhaps see true reconciliation occur in our life time. A pipe dream perhaps. Albertans would be required to apply their outrage at intolerance upon themselves and look into the mirror, recognize their own prejudices and demand justice. A tall order, perhaps?
Enough ranting? Well I am almost fifty, and I figure I have very little to lose. Be offended if you must, but it is high time that I started speaking truth to bullshit.