In our day and age, the one conclusion I’ve come to is that it is possible to interpret the present times as one where there is no authority higher than ourselves. With existentialism being passé and Romanticism being junked for cold, hard reality, we are living in a Zeitgeist where the individual self-references. Is it good for me? What do I think? What do I believe? Isn’t God’s Word just so boring and irrelevant? Wait a minute…that is existentialism and Romanticism. Eh?
We live in a world full of rhetorical questions. The oppression we see across the world countered by our own “do-what-feels-good” makes the intelligent woman or man question the validity of rules, laws, regulations, commandments, and even truth, itself. “Fake, fake, fake!” cry the counter-media. But there are deeper questions than what can be tweeted in 280 characters. The question might be, if our border allows all those within it to do this thing, then why would I be persecuted when crossing the imaginary line to the next country? Aren’t there absolutes? Aren’t there any fixed points of reference? What exactly is a universal, human right? When does it apply when the “authorities” of the land says it does not? Or what do we do and whom do we believe when the very Nobel-winning face of a champion of human rights allows for so many deaths, so much suffering, and reprehensible ethnic persecution? Are we being fooled? And how do we know when to trust a leader, even if she is a “Canadian” three times over? But as we will see, such questions most likely will not find answers. The media (pro-, con-, or alt-) not only does not see everything; more precisely, it does not see all angles, and it does not present objectively all of the time.
I had the same problem when watching what was touted as objective reporting. I still don’t know when our civic and national news centres are feeding us a spin or exaggerating the sins of important people. I mean, how much of the truth can you really pack in a sound byte? We all know that recording a history of something, someplace, or someone is fraught with problems about its veracity. People forget. People lie. People have an agenda. People have loyalties. People have no loyalties. People are patronized by certain groups or by the wealthy and the powerful. People might have a gun to their head or their families in jeopardy. People are misguided. The list of possibilities continues. The point is, history itself isn’t objective, and nobody knows what really happened since we take it by artifacts and theories and hearsay. Even historians can’t tell at that moment of action because of the vast scope of unknowns, of which they only know their own point of view. Sure, we can synthesize, but synthesis implies “artificially” stitching disparate parts together that overlap somewhere, at times. Reality is not knowable; we simply weren’t there, nor at all possible angles.
It is the same with reporting. Nothing is knowable. Well, ok, that a man was shot point blank in the chest, while being pinned down, and that he was black and the officer who shot him was white, we can literally see that, nowadays. We can even watch little white guys in sunglasses gang up and choke a big, black man to death even when he’s done nothing criminally reprehensible or provable but have a short rap sheet of petty crime and saying he couldn’t breathe. We can watch systematic racism in a democratic nation as people of Hispanic and African origins are deported, while the British, the French, the Italians, the Slavs—all Caucasian races—breathe a collective sigh of relief. After all, as one policeman put it while being recorded by his own dash cam while stopping a frightened Caucasian couple for speeding, they weren’t to worry; they should know from the news that “we only go after blacks.”
Is God interested in our lives? Furthermore, is there something inherently wrong with that paradigm? I experimented, for about half a day, with the thought that perhaps no leader, no authority figure, no clergy or family member, is above me. I am my own highest authority. I felt very uncomfortably out of my skin while trying to live that out. By the end of the day, I was back in my shell, begging God to please forgive me for erroneous thinking, much of which was influenced by seeds sown by my betters and by the situation of the free world. We can depend on “sunny ways”, yet the law is the law. We have tremendous freedoms, if we stay within current mores. We have a nation rich in tolerance and diversity, but now a PM has appointed his childhood chum to have vague and overarching powers over the “misinformation” espoused by “third parties and advocacy groups.” Then he appointed enough friends of this friend’s to be members of the Supreme Court Justice to ensure his brand of justice from the highest and entirely “independent “ level: the judiciary.
Does anyone else see how much power has slowly been sucked up by the PM and his cronies? Within a social democracy and constitutional monarchy, we are guaranteed freedom of speech. It is still touted, but it is no longer as a Canadian reality. Slowly, we are experiencing the erosion of this Canadian value as cronyism does its dirty deed to concentrate the ultimate powers in this land into the hands of the ruling few. It is an oligarchy. No Canadian is guaranteed the contents of Charter of Rights signed in the last century by Pierre Elliot Trudeau in front of then Her Majesty The Queen. We do not have a true democracy. It is a muted, tone-deaf democracy that may be well-meant, but not well-expressed.
You know, at the end of the day, we can witness for ourselves by the wrangling on the international stage that it is the man, yes–man–with the most powerful gun/nuke who is the ultimate authority figure. By extension, I can see the day when all hell breaks loose and we devolve into tribal warfare. This world is not heading into a very good way. I hope most of us still remember to say our night-time “Now, I lay me down to sleep” prayer, because it looks like now we’re going to need it more than ever.
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