Date: 2003-04-26 14:12:37
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It seems to me that Canada's foreign policy should be governed by the same values that should govern relationships between citizens within any healthy local community, because we, as a nation, should see ourselves as active members of our global community & work to keep it healthy. I have been deeply involved in community building for 30 years. At 80, I see these values as fundamental for community health. Without vision, we will surely perish! These ideals cannot be imposed on anyone, but if we who see their value, live them in our daily lives (& if they are valid), more & more others will emulate them & the world will gradually become more peaceful as our current harmful ways become more healing.
We must abandon the arrogance of rigidity of stance. We must admit that we all make mistakes, often without being aware that we have till much later. We even make errors in judgment that come to light only when we note their rotten results or when we are challenged by others. To encourage trust, we must invite mutual critiquing of our convictions & our values, apologize for past errors & seek to find ways that enable us all to live together in harmony with each other & with our planet. This takes conscious effort; apathy never contributes to health. We must all, each citizen & each nation, do our best to determine the policies that might best ensure a sustainable, healthy globalocal community, but we must always stay open to questioning by others. In talking with our associates about matters that matter, we have many opportunities to confirm each other's ideas or to question them. Considering the multitude of unique perspectives among our earthmates, conflicting notions are bound to arise, but they need not lead to verbal or physical battles.
Terrorism & war (& dictatorship of the majority) are the rotten fruit of arrogance & can never lead to community health. If we believe (as I do) that we each discover bits of wisdom during our life journeys, every disagreement should be seen as an opportunity to transform our apparent ‘opponent' into a friend who can help us enlarge our understanding by benefiting from each others' diverse viewpoints. [Remember: our past experiences are fixed, but the convictions we draw from them can be changed. Even our deepest convictions should be treated as hypotheses in need of confirmation or disproof. They can never ‘proved', no matter how many times they are confirmed.]
Our institutional ways are so deeply rooted, transforming them quickly is not a possibility. But I do see hope. If we strive to live the vision that we hope for as best we can. If we commit ourselves to an all- inclusive respect for the web of life. If we freely acknowledge our own fallibility & keep searching for better ways with open hearts & minds, we may be able to transform even our political parties system, our Parliament & our institutions of law enforcement---to be much more fair & democratic in their ways.
Specifically, I'd like to suggest that our government publicly acknowledge its past errors in its treatment of our First Peoples & do whatever is needed to enable them to be as self-directed in their affairs as they were before they were invaded. This would send a strong signal to the rest of the world that we want all individuals & nations to be responsibly self-directed for the common good of all life.