According to Benjamin Franklin, there is nothing that can be said to be certain in this world, except death and taxes. The year has already set itself right in, and now that it’s February, people should be feeling a bit more sure and settled. Unfortunately, it’s not the normal February that we are used to having, and this could be for a number of reasons.
First, the snow. We’ve not had this much snow in a few years, and what makes this one so different is that people weren’t ready for it. While other provinces think our snowfall is lame compared to their six long months of it, Vancouverites think we’ve had too much of it. Being used to milder winters and sunnier springs and summers, the snow is welcome at first, especially when the nice, white fluff makes its way onto our yards. However, when it gets hard, muddy and unreasonable, we start disliking it. Plus the fact that our city governments don’t know how to handle a lot of it compounds our worries and pocketbooks, as well as our inability to put elbow grease into the mechanical plowing we need to do on our sidewalks. People have become impatient and have lost a sense of awe, like children, at the sight of miracles, like snow.
Second, Donald Trump. Whether we Canadians admit it or not, US politics is much more exciting than ours, and when The Donald stepped in, it became a full blown circus, a much better show than the Cirque Du Soleil. His recent Executive Order on banning visitors from seven Muslim countries is his nth attempt at infamy, and restlessness followed one after the other, and so did crimes against Islamic people. Canada wasn’t spared, as Quebec saw its first violent attack on a Mosque for the year. Thousands of Canadians gathered together, Muslim, Catholic, non-denominational people alike, banding against an a insidious plan to discriminate against one group the world has identified as “terrorists” in general, as did Americans who rallied against the illegality of the EO. With families being separated by the EO, people wait helplessly and cheered on the judge who said the move was unconstitutional. Although people have shown a sense of empathy, anger has mastered their emotions.
And then there is Duterte, who continues to beguile the Filipino people with his speech, rhetoric and seemingly good nature. When the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines came up with a pastoral letter, Duterte spins off with another round of foul ammo, joined by his side kick Bato, seconded by their minions who continue to attack the Church. The funny thing is that none of our Muslim or Jewish brothers resort to name calling, yet our so-called Christian brothers from the same fold t are quick to offer a word or two about the clergy. The fact that the issue at hand is the abominable extra-judicial killings which, in any religion, tenet and moral society, is wrong in itself; however, it becomes secondary to what is an attack on an institution that only aims to tell us the truth. Sadly, our society does not want to hear the truth. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that “Wrong is wrong, even if everyone says it’s right; right is right, even when nobody says it’s right.” People have lost their sense of right and wrong, and have succumbed to what is popular.
What is happening to our world right now is that we’ve lost one thing we used to have when not everything could be googleable – our virtues. Virtues are what makes us human, and our sense of humanity comes from virtues. The truth is, and no one wants to hear it, is that we will never be in control of any situation, and everything is temporary. We can always distract ourselves from reality, but it will always come back. While I agree with Franklin that death and taxes are the only two sure things in this world, I hope that virtue would make a good third – for humanity’s sake.