A young woman laments the shortcomings of her generation.The list is full and complete ; Selfishness ,Entitlement,Lack of Respect for Values or Relationships,Contributing Nothing to Society.
Finally, she says she knows they were raised better.
Of course, she doesn't know that at all.
She only knows how she was raised and assumes everyone had the same advantage. She also believes everyone possesses equal shares of conscience, courage and intellectual competence.
In several decades of involvement in our small town's affairs, I had a front row seat to the pageant of changing generations.The list of failings is familiar.
The pattern was not even. The telling point was, when push came to shove ,too often
the majority were willing to pander. Whatever the demands,however selfish and unreasonable. however unfair to the taxpayers they were elected to serve, the easy path was the one most chosen.
Four of the last elections changed the face of council but none had the effect of altering the pattern. At every level political expediency rules the day.
Nothing makes the point more than former Premier Dalton McGuinty's decision to cancel construction of two gas-fired hydro generation plants on Lake Ontario, at a cost in excess of a billion dollars.
Partial structures surrounded by rusting padlocked chain-link fences are monuments to that betrayal of public trust.
Two of McGuinty's staff have been charged with Breach of Trust. Himself however resigned and wrote a book on successful leadership and toured the Province promoting himself and the book.
Liberals were re-elected. Because the opposition offered nothing better.
At our level, more often than not, mine was a lonely voice in opposition.
I had five hours alone with my great-grand-daughter Abigail this summer. She loves to have time alone with Aunt Stephanie. She was allowed to stay one more night and go home after Stephanie finished a work shift. She was not to go in the pool when Stephanie wasn't here.
It hardly seemed reasonable but she didn't argue. She wanted to stay.
I went into the pool. She came too and stayed in the shallow end. When we sat drying on the deck after, I asked her.
"What are you going to tell Mum If she asks?"
She took a little time to answer.
"You can't lie " I prodded.
She raised her shoulders, spread her hands, fingers like spokes on a carriage wheel and said simply and obviously;
"I didn't drown "
The answer pleased me more than I can say. Abigail is ten years old and completely sensible . If
nothing happens to take her off course, she'll be fine.
I asked about friends. She said her best friend might not be best for her. She uses bad words.
I asked where she might have learned.
Her parents fight a lot . She has brothers.
Well,I said maybe you could influence her rather the other way about.
I had no doubt she understood. If she really loved her friend and there is no love so pure as a child's, she would accept the challenge.
I did not tell her to lose the friend.
I used to think momentarily ,on occasion, there was little point in doing what I did as a Councillor.
It would be so much easier to go with the crowd.
Except, for me, it would have been impossible. I'm not bent that way. Neither is Abigail.
Nor is she alone either.