“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Two-thirds of Millennials do not know what Auschwitz is!
One-quarter of Millennials have not heard of the Holocaust!
Last week the esteemed Washington Post published the results of a study that revealed these two horrifying facts and, after a moment of dumbfounded disbelief, the sage advice of Mr. Santayana came to mind. It is truly terrifying to even briefly consider that mankind might be capable of repeating the unparalleled Holocaust atrocity. It is not possible, right?
Gun violence is the urban insurgency currently baffling leaders in North America and although it is on two seemingly very different levels in Canada and the USA, everyone agrees it is abominable and must be stopped. Here in Ontario, the majority of victims are impoverished, disenfranchised young black men. Police chiefs, politicians, activists and clergy alike advocate for gun control and zero tolerance of gang violence, but month over month, year over year, nothing really changes.
A product of gun violence, the modern-day St. Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, saw seventeen people killed and seventeen more wounded – all within half an hour. During the afternoon and evening of 14th February, I and the entire world watched the news in disbelief, dismay, horror, anger and fear. Not again!?! Please, God, not again!
In the aftermath of any crime or act of terrorism that takes human lives I always wonder if we have, indeed, been condemned to repeat our past, if people can or even want to change. Are we capable of and dedicated to consensus building, of uniting to make real, beneficial improvements to the laws that govern gun control and punish offenders. If not, is our inaction merely screwing up the world for ourselves and future generations?
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”
History may ultimately confirm that the Parkland shootings were a seminal barbarity; the long-overdue and necessary turning point, but… The face of change, of fearlessness and heart is not a politician nor a member of the constabulary or clergy but a youth, a boy from Florida who, miraculously, survived his school shooting. His name is David Hogg. Please remember it (and him)!
Mr. Hogg is an articulate, passionate, focussed, determined advocate for gun control and one of the organizers of the March For Our Lives movement. This week, Mr. Hogg’s mum told CNN that her son would be taking a gap year, time he would be dedicating to his activism.
After the outpouring of outrage, sympathy and support by so many at the March For Our Lives , Mr. Hogg recognized a (perhaps) once in a lifetime opportunity – to register the quickly rising numbers of young voters, those demanding changes to gun control laws, to build very real and actionable support for the Democratic Party/gun control candidates in the upcoming primary elections. It is admirable that this young man is so socially aware – “woke” – at such a tender age. It is admirable that he is willing to postpone his education and career to do what he knows to be the right thing. I’ll bet his mum is bursting-at-the-seams proud of her boy!
Rather than praising him for his civic participation, rather than commending him for his activism, rather than raising him as an example to American youth, his country, via a senior White House Official, ridiculed him on social media for taking a gap year. Ridiculed! An adult, trying (but, thankfully, failing miserably) to shame a youth. Bully tactics in the extreme.
Harnessing the exuberance and commitment of this wave of youthful voters is a noble mission. These young people have realized their influence en masse, know the power of their ballots, recognize the cause that needs their support and expect to be lead and motivated by this charismatic young man from their school, or their town or their state. Each one brave enough to stand up to power. For some that power source is in their families, for some in their schools, for others in their communities and churches. These young people know that if they’re not satisfied with their Government, they must rally and exercise their right and privilege to vote – a commitment too many in our generation have forgotten or ignored.
These young folk are brave enough to stare down their conservative Christian southern traditions – for many of them, that means their own daddies. A bravery born because they were not cowed by the shooting in their school. A bravery maintained because – insofar as they are able – they will not allow this tragedy to happen in another school, to other youth, to other students. Not on their watch!
It is staggeringly impressive.
Their excitement is empowering previously indifferent adults to take a similar stance.
Their movement seems to be motivating the Dems who have, since Hillary’s defeat, seemed aimless, unfocussed and disorganized. These kids are challenging them to be activists, leading the way by shining example.
Do we learn anything from our past?
Are we condemned to repeat it?
Not if David Hogg has anything to say about it!
Let us hope and pray it does not take a bloodbath like Parkland to affect similar change here in Ontario. Rise up, everyone, our election is mere weeks away!
‘Til next time, y’all…
Technically it’s spring, y’all! Are you feeling it? With it arriving on Tuesday, 20th March, we’re one-third through it already. What? Where I live it has snowed three times, wintery sleet has swirled around my home and freezing rain has pelted my windows twice (once, even, with thunder which, of course, terrorized poor Toby) – all of this within the past three days alone. What gives, Mother Nature? Why the temper tantrum? You’re meant to be giving us spring, that beloved bringer of sugar and all things sweet.
Instead of being outdoors – hiking, golfing, cycling, doing yard work, we’ve spent our weekend holed up inside watching television, enjoying our fireplace, eating hot soup and drinking endless hot drinks. And still we felt cold. Well… I did, that’s for sure!
The signs of spring and our own spring-like behaviours have been all around us. My squirrel-planted lawn Tulips have sprouted – they’re up about five inches already. Our Crab Apples have buds that look ready to burst. My Daisies are up about three inches. The winter tires have been taken off the car. The snowblower and shovels packed away. Our winter boots have been cleaned and stored in the basement. In short, we were finished with winter!
URGH! This morning, the snowblower had to be retrieved from beneath the garage stairs; the plough had delivered an enormous pile of snow and ice at the foot of our driveway, plus the (seemingly) miles of sidewalk around our home needed clearing. The shovel was out too – in order to move the unwanted and despised piles of wet, slushy, semi-frozen mess from the front steps and the dog run. It. Was. Heavy. We live in Canada; this weather system shouldn’t have been so surprising or hard to bear, but it was! Winter’s last (please!) hurrah was both disappointing and a little demoralizing.
Please, Mama Nature, please! Let us have spring soon! We strugglin’ here in this arctic air… It’s time and we’re ready! My skin has forgotten how delightful spring feels; so far, the April temperatures have not been sweet, or brisk, or fresh, and certainly not balmy – the air has had a frosty enough bite to take a chunk out of your cheeks. Rather than knocking at our door, spring is loitering south of the Mason-Dixon and you southerners need to cough it up… It’s our turn!
’Til next time, y’all…
My friends, it is a long time since I’ve had a solo visit to the park, a hike, and a chance to observe the park’s abundant wildlife. And I’ve missed it. Terribly. Until…
Monday, 9th April
It was an overcast weather day with a high of 3℃ and believe-you-me it felt a lot colder than that. Driving into the park, there is still a lot of ice on the pannes but – joy – frog song. Ohmigosh did it ever sound sweet and welcoming to me. A lot of my friends judge that spring has arrived by their blooming bulbs, or the running of the maple sap, or the warmth of the sun or tree buds bursting into leaf. Not me; I always know spring has arrived when the frogs start calling out to each other. On Monday morning it was loud and distinct, coming from the pannes on both sides of the road. Spring, dear readers, has arrived at Presqu’ile.
In a rather unusual move, two swans have taken up residence in the pannes this spring. Because of their obvious panache, I’ve named these two Jay and Daisy. This is Daisy:
Monday was fantastic! One of those days I’ll always remember. So many birds, waterfowl and animals were busily active, most especially the hundreds of Robins. Some of those I saw are:
A Pied-billed Grebe, flirting with me a little, getting closer and closer with each dip under the bay’s surface. Closer, yes, but only just so far:
At the lagoon a swan, serenely enduring the irritations of a horrid crow:
As always, ducks and geese galore:
(See the mama goose on her nest?)
An entirely incurious male Common Goldeneye:
Along the north shore of the spit that separates the lagoon at Calf Pasture Point from the openness of Presqu’ile Bay there was a lot of ice. Solid, firmly formed, not at all in the process of melting, and it was difficult, looking at it, to remember we are already in April.
The water, though, was crystal clear – almost drinkable. Of course, not what it appears to be, the park is only a few miles east of the nuclear plant, and the main shipping lane passes by a few knots off shore, but still, look at it:
In Jobes woods I ran into Percival – very curious about me, and chattering up a storm to boot:
Before I knew it the afternoon was well-advanced and it was time to head home. My time in the park was a glorious way to
waste spend a day.
Beautiful days are happening to me so often lately!
’Til next time, y’all…