Erin's Journals

Monday, October 26, 2020

Just a thought… Conscience is the dog that can’t bite, but never stops barking. [Proverb]

First of all, thanks for your supportive comments about the new Elder Wisdom podcast we’re embarking on. This could be one of several different projects Rob and I are being considered for and, really, what an unexpected turn of events this is! Like an interviewer for hire, I’m getting the opportunity to talk with different people whose stories inspire me, and hopefully you.

But enough about that. I don’t want to use this journal just to promote things; I’m here to share moments from our lives – yours and mine – and to stay connected. If there’s something ahead that we’re working on that I think will interest you, I’ll be sure to let you know. Deal?

We had an election in BC on Saturday (a day of the week on which I think all elections should be held, so that voters who work Mondays through Fridays are able to go to the polls that day if they so choose).

Watching the seemingly interminable lines in so many towns and cities as citizens hope to vote in the current American election makes me grateful that we have the system we do, even with its imperfections. We have mercifully short election periods and no (obvious) attempts at voter interference, gerrymandering, mail interruption and the like.

While we were miffed at Premier John Horgan’s overtly opportunistic move of calling an election during a pandemic, like his peer in New Brunswick, his gambit paid off handsomely and his NDP got the majority he sought. People who were teed off, as we were, seemingly didn’t take it out on him or his provincial representatives at the polls. Score a big one for Dr. Bonnie Henry, too, there, Mr. Horgan.

Rob and I stood in line for zero minutes to vote in advance, one evening last week. Saturday, our son-in-law worked for BC Elections at our polling station and said turnout was steady but not heavy. While the total number of votes has yet to be counted (mail-in), a million of us had our voices heard before election day. Works for us; now, as long as our government follows suit….

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a ball of nerves about next Tuesday’s presidential election; many of my fears and questions have probably already crossed your mind, too. We’ve another eight days and maybe this awful chapter in American history will be over. The ripple effects and aftermath will take much longer from which to recover, if ever, but we can hope, for the sake of our neighbours, that the healing starts in 2021 – literally and figuratively.

The other day Rob asked me, “Have you thought about how you’re going to handle it if he isn’t defeated?” and I have no idea. I’ll take my cue from people like John Pavlovitz whom I follow on Twitter @johnpavlovitz and with whose thought-provoking pieces I always find myself nodding along. He’s a spiritual man with a strong moral compass, whose opinions I find in complete harmony with my own.

Like John, I will never understand how people who call themselves God-fearing could support such a deeply immoral, unethical and downright horrible man. All for the sake of their retirement funds? For a court that will support their views on abortion or gun control? Because their daddy and their daddy’s daddy all voted Republican and they will too? It’s just foreign to me.

I’ve voted almost every party that’s run for federal or provincial politics; to grow is to change, to age is to mature and to be a useful part of society is to look at the greater good instead of “what’s in it for me.” Maybe that’s socialism – and that’s okay, too.

I know that I have likely voted for the wrong person in the past and for the wrong reasons. But I always gave my responsibility to vote (and the fight that so many women before me had to wage so that I could mark that ballot) a lot of thought. I never just ticked a box because of race or gender or religion or ’cause it was just what my daddy did. (I’m not sure my father and I have ever voted alike; I know my mom and I have!)

Our government is far from perfect. Don’t get me started on how flawed our health care system is – while superior in many ways – when we can’t even beg to get a family doctor for a young foursome that has just moved here. It’s beyond frustrating: it’s frightening.

We have a lot of improvements to make in a great many areas of how our country and its provinces and territories operate and how they take care of the most vulnerable among us. But I will take our voting system every single time over that of a country whose prime modus operandi seems to be making sure that those whose voices need to be heard are kept quiet and the status quo continues. When someone like Senator Mitch McConnell can continue to hold immense amounts of power and line his fetid pockets for 36 years when his state of Kentucky is ranked fifth poorest in the United States, what does that tell you about the system?

Will that change November 3rd? Not on one day, and probably not in one year. But a “blue wave” could wash clean a lot of the stains of the past and hopefully make for a fresh start. I wouldn’t be in Joe Biden’s shoes (or Kamala Harris’s Converse sneakers) for anything – taking on the problems that have built up, the civility that has further deteriorated for the past four years. All we can do is hope that this time there is no interference from outside forces, the people are heard for a change and the country that is our closest neighbour begins to heal.

In Good We Trust.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, October 26, 2020