As we enter oh-five, what can Canadians do to ensure that the second half-decade of the new millennium isn't as dire as the first? For starters, let's agree to stay out of the leap-of-faith Olympics now underway south of the 49th parallel. Instead, we'll start up some doubt-based groups. We'll get together on Sundays and doubt that promoting abstinence is the best response to an AIDS pandemic that kills millions every year in the Third World. We'll wear giveaway rubbers around our necks, and our motto will be "The only way to save a soul is to save a life."
Perhaps we can find a way to extend honourary in-utero privileges to the children of Iraq and Darfur so that anti-abortionists can shift their placards from health clinics to the Pentagon. And remember, you don't have to be evil to do evil. Love ruins devils. In my father's house are many Mansons.
As for George Bush, it's true that, as he said on his recent visit to Ottawa, the U.S. is our friend "whether we like it or not." But what kind of friend should we be in return?
I suggest we allow liquor ads to be our guide. Let's be the buddy who refuses to give the sore drunk his next shot of poison. Let's be the tough-love ami who tries to take away the keys to the tank. Even if that means, as my friend Al advises, Canada out of NORAD. After all, mass non-cooperation is the new-clear weapon on earth as it is in space.
Anyway, as my friend Laurie opined, "Surrender is futile." Giving in to U.S. pressures only makes things worse. But then she went one better. Resistance, she offered, is utile. I'm going to remember that, no matter what happens in 2005.
Another warning: beware the wolf in shepherd's clothing. Good leadership is currently a rarity. So be sure your spiritual teacher, mentor, boss or priest is not preying on you. Do a thorough background check on your local coach. Don't let doctors wound or sicken you. Try to shake the spin nausea. It only hurls us centrifugally to the extremes. It only poll-arizes the polls in this bi-polar world.
Which brings me to localism. It is not impossible in an integrated world economy to fruitfully maintain here-ism. Buy local. Live local. Remember, if the world were a cube, globalism would be cubism. Let's re-localize even our own judgments - form our own opinions on movies, rock bands, news events. Forgo the usual mediums - listen closely. If god really wanted to speak to you, wouldn't she do so directly?
And let's stop saying "post-9/11." There's never been a post-9/11 world because we've never succeeded in putting 9/11 properly into the past with other catastrophes. The calendar has been stuck - kind of like in the movie Groundhog Day, except instead of trying to win the heart of Andie MacDowell, the U.S. is courting Armageddon and getting closer and closer to it. With Bush's re-election, the possibility of a real post-9/11 world retreats even further into the future. We're caught up in the loop of errorism. The record is skipping. It's emergency time. Orange alert. We keep dialing 911, but there's no one there to answer the phone.
But 9/11 must end, and hopefully not because it's blotted out by an even larger, more disastrous date. Instead, let's counter the terror era with re-couraging: mass acts of bravery by the public. Strikes like the one in Ukraine, boycotts like those in Alabama under Martin Luther King Jr., campaigns like the one that won a judicial inquiry into the killing of Dudley George.
Somehow, 9/11 must find midnight so we can move on to the next significant date - perhaps something so positive we'll refer to it ever afterwards as the "miraculous events of 2/29"! Our mottoes will be "I'll save your life if you save mine." And "We're bigger than all of us."