If you are reading this, it means that on December 27, I survived my 96th birthday and wandered into my 97th year on Planet Earth. Tradition suggests I now murmur, “and I don’t feel a day older than I did yesterday,” which would be true – but barely.
The fact is, the old machine is creaking and groaning in so many places that I need to maintain a coordinated pharmaceutical battle plan to make sure unwelcome bugs are held at bay.
So, while I may not feel any older this week than I did last week, I am. But, I can still wake up in the morning, happy to smell the coffee and share a cup while pontificating on how the fellow citizens we have elected to govern us are letting us down.
There is nothing new in that, of course. Centuries ago, emerging communities decided they would be better off with a small group of intelligent citizens developing and administering laws geared to make the community as a whole a better, healthier, safer place in which to live.
They called it “democracy,” and by and large, it has worked well – although never perfectly – in countries where the people have preferred to live under sometimes bumbling but always freely elected government rather than a dictator’s decree. In Canada, we like the bumbling way; we love the democratic right to complain, often utilize it with glee – and without too much thought.
Sometimes, in our haste to question decisions of governance, we insist on what I call a black or white answer to a sometimes very grey question. A few weeks ago, a short paragraph appeared in a long story on gun control – or the lack of gun control – in the USA. It noted that a recent “in house” notice to members of the Mormon faith had requested members not carry firearms when attending church services.
It shocked me that such a notice could ever be required of churchgoers. That worshippers anywhere would need to be asked to leave their guns of choice at home was unbelievable. That church governors would have to urge firearms be left at home, an unthinkable confession that a house of God could no longer offer what was once traditional protection from evil.
Then, just before 2019 closed its decade ending doors, there came a story out of Texas describing a shooting at a Jewish religious ceremony that involved members of the congregation “returning the fire” of a gunman bent on murders. It was later stated the returned shots were fired by an armed guard in the congregation.
It still bothers me to consider worshippers getting ready for church on a Saturday or Sunday morning being reminded to make sure their handgun is tucked away with their bible – or removed and left at home as an act of faith.
Think about it. It’s not a decision Canadians have to face – yet. But, with inexorable pressure on our living and moral standards, I fear the US of A may one day contaminate us with its steady determination to convince the world that God has been replaced with the gun.
They’ve been working on the conversion since Colonel Valentine Blacker (1778-1823) around 200-years ago urged his troops to “Put your trust in God – and keep your powder dry.”