“May Selfish Pride Not Divide Us…”

I have never been sure if the Gods hear our prayers or even listen to them. I am sure that I, and my fellow humans, often hear prayers spoken, but all too rarely do we really listen to the words.
I felt that way Thursday afternoon when Rabbi Harry Brechner from the Congregation Emanu-El synagogue in Victoria opened the First Session of British Columbia’s 41st Parliament with the traditional prayer for guidance in forthcoming deliberations.
Some of his words echoed a prayer said every Saturday in his Victoria synagogue; others were from a prayer written by his predecessor Rabbi Victor Reinstein.
They are worth repeating, even reciting, but only if we hear what they are saying.
“Divine source, we call to you using many names that reflect our divine understanding of you and our individual and collective relationships with you. We ask on behalf of our great province of British Columbia – a shining place of beauty, goodness and abundance – to guide our provincial government in compassion.
“May selfish pride not divide us. May pride in one another unite us. Banish hatred, despair and cynicism that together we may work towards peace and harmony creating prosperity so that all who call British Columbia home may flourish.
“May we honour with humility those who first dwelled in this land and learn from them the sacredness of earth, sky and water. May we come to know the blessing of unity through diversity.
“Sacred source of life, in our rapidly changing and evolving world, we ask that you provide our leaders with clarity, compassion, strength, wisdom and resolve to ensure that British Columbia is an influence for good, a voice of conscience and a leader in seeking peace and justice.
Chazak ve’ematz – Strength and courage. Amen.”
A long list of attributes for legislators old and new to seek. Banishment of hatred, cynicism, and the conversion of selfish pride to pride in one another. Not impossible goals with or without divine guidance – but a tough learning curve for a legislature steeped more in the desire to harm those with different beliefs than in the desire to embrace compassion, peace and harmony.
Premier Christy Clark’s Throne Speech – read by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon following the Rabbi’s prayer – was, as forecast over the past two weeks, loaded with promises of benefits, including two or three NDP-Green favourites. The new alliance has indicated it will have no difficulty in voting against those inclusions as outlined by Clark’s Liberals when it moves its anticipated non-confidence vote to end her life as premier.
Last week I forecast that the House – having missed a mandatory deadline for framing an agenda for a Private Members’ day Monday June 26 – would adjourn until Tuesday the 27th then miss a second Monday Member’s day July 3 courtesy of the Canada Day long weekend.
However, at the conclusion of Thursday’s sitting the government tabled a motion that adjusted the mandatory agenda deadline to all allow for Private Member’s Day on the 26th. The government motion was unanimously approved thus inadvertently maintaining my reputation as a less than reliable political events forecaster. Such a minor setback will not deter me from future prognostications carefully disguised as questions as our ping-pong “who’s in charge” contest continues.
Like, will Christy Clark – tied to the railway track as the NDP express with its Green baggage car threatens dismemberment – rejoice in last minute salvation? If she survives pending disaster, will she proceed with her spending program challenging the Opposition to deny the people the benefits they have earned?
Or, if she is retired from the premiership, will Ms. Christy regret she didn’t shovel money off the back of the truck sooner?
Then, will the new Premier John Horgan launch his brand new government with a throne speech equal or even better in spending promises than his predecessor’s? In addition, if he does, will he remember to say his big spending was made possible by the Liberal’s often parsimonious spending that balanced budgets for years and stashed the fortune the NDP could spend at will?
What will Andrew Weaver’s role be if Clark retains premiership? A reliable, articulate critic? And if Horgan takes over? Future unknown, but as even the most amicable coalitions can have only one leader, and Mr. Weaver doesn’t have a reputation for enjoying the game of tag-along, it would be unwise to make large bets.
Talking of bets, it would be wonderful to wager that our newly assembled legislators heard and listened to Rabbi Brechner’s prayer and will surrender to divine or human guidance. I fear the distrust, and the lust for power, among politicians worldwide is too entrenched to be eliminated in one precariously balanced BC parliament.
And, I would love nothing better than to be proved wrong – again.

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