Given all the rhetoric being hurled around and sniping aimed at one group or another, we need to pause and remember that we’re all in this together. That our similarities make us stronger. That our differences don’t separate us as much as we’re incited to believe. I say this broadly in response to what’s going on in the world – there’s no shortage of stories of religious intolerance, xenophobia, and downright meanness – but I want to focus on Alberta. Our economy is in rough shape, our government is trying to balance spending priorities with people’s needs, and Albertans are facing a great deal of uncertainty about the future.
No matter what, losing your job would be devastating. Being the target of hatred while trying to govern and do what you feel is right would take an emotional toll. Keeping your farm or business running while facing rising costs would pile on the stress. And I can’t even begin to imagine the anguish that would come with struggling to keep your family in their home and food on the table. No one “deserved it” or “had it coming.” That’s ignorant and saying it makes you sound like an ass. Consider suddenly finding yourself without a job: you wouldn’t think you deserved it. I’ll even bet that you’d do everything you can and talk to everyone you know to find a way through, especially if you have a family to support.
I’ve read a few local stories recently about people helping one another. A man donated flights to bring a woman’s family home to Edmonton after a horrific car accident in Montana. An online community tracked down a boy’s lost iPad in Sherwood Park. Thirty-five supporters and well-wishers went to the Edmonton International Airport to welcome a family of Syrian refugees. The people in our lives and communities are what really matter and where we should be focusing our time and energy.
With the holidays upon us, hopefully the break will revitalize everyone of all political stripes across the province – in industry, in government, in business, and in agriculture. We need government to lead and work for all Albertans. We need industry and business to drive our economy. And we need agriculture to put food on our tables. So instead of slamming one side, posting rhetoric aimed at a group, or trying to tear down what’s in place, tell people what you’re doing to help make a difference.