The strains of John Lennon’s song play repeatedly on the radio these days, making me wonder indeed, “What have we done?”
Well, for starters John, we imploded on our own financial excess; we continued to fight meaningless wars; gas prices rose to heights that no one could “Imagine” and then plunged to where they should have hovered anyways, leaving us wondering who had engineered such a meteoric climb, and who reversed it to a slide; nature unleashed its displeasure on us by dishing out extremes of cold, snow, floods, heat and forest fires; and the terrorists found fertile new fields to cover in blood and not your strawberries, unfortunately.
Alas, we still haven’t cracked the code on cancer, on global warming, on poverty, on AIDS or on the optimum political system now that Capitalism has failed, like its Socialist counterpart did a generation ago.
So, Dear John, wherever you are these days • hopefully in your magical world with Lucy and those yellow submarines – on the surface we haven’t done much. Just drifted like we continue to do – it’s always been someone else’s problem, hasn’t it?
There are however, some bright spots, although they aren’t fully visible to us mortals yet; perhaps if you get a better view from up there in your sky with diamonds, you might be able to give us some advance warning. This year, a kinder, more intelligent and articulate leader was elected down South; in our own bumbling way the Canadian political system put a halt to our own leader’s “shoot up the town” approach to governing in a minority government; greed has taken a back seat for a while as corporate leaders fess up to mismanagement and extend their hands for a bailout – we just have to determine what conditions to attach to the monies. There is even hushed talk that we should not have gone into those foreign countries to teach them how to govern themselves – after all, we haven’t done such a good job ourselves, have we? And people will buy what they can afford this year, John, because there ain’t any more easy loans from the banks.
If we have learnt anything this year – it’s humility. The mighty have fallen from their perches just like the gas price and the loonie. And humility is the message of Christmas isn’t it?
John, the world is still far away from your imagined one, but we have learned much this year and hopefully some of it will stick this time.