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Social Responsibility

I have been averse to politics and to the divisive effect of nationalism for most of my life, yet I find myself often involved in discussions about the sorry state of affairs in the US. I am a Canadian, but we all know that the US has a huge influence on the rest of the world and I can’t help but be concerned about the upcoming election. It is not the concern about one team losing to the other side. It has become quite obvious that both the reds and the blues have seriously compromised their founders’ principles and those that control them have chosen dangerously dysfunctional leaders to represent their interests. The familiar situation of trying to figure out which is the lesser of two evils is nothing new, but now the prospects are especially worrisome whatever your inclination may be. 

I have often heard myself tell people that there needs to be an alternative to the paralyzing polarity and corruption of US politics, a third party.  As it happens a credible third candidate has presented himself and because he was rejected by the Democratic party that he and his family were a part of for generations, he has formed his own party. He is Robert F Kennedy Jr,  the son of Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of John F. Kennedy. What I heard about him in the past was mainly his work as a lawyer effectively advocating for environmental rights and a little about his research in the area of vaccines. More recently he was painted as a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer by the Biden administration. However, over the past few years, I have watched many podcasts in which he has been interviewed by prominent and mostly well-informed and intelligent hosts, some of them supporters, some neutral, and several critics, and have been duly impressed by his articulate knowledge of history, world culture and politics, science, his wisdom, his compassion, his balance of humility and confidence, and his courage.

I am not going into how much I agree or disagree with his views but I will say that he inspires me with new hope. His non-partisan and comprehensive agenda to restore sanity to America is also inspiring many others. If you research recent polls you will find that he is rapidly winning over many followers and is a viable candidate in the presidential race. What amazes me is how little many people know about him. The reason I am writing about this is that I have been aware of my own passivity as a spectator of what is happening to our world and seeing this reflected in those around me is triggering in me a reaction to get off my apathetic ass and do what I can to contribute to a resolution. What I have found is that most people have resigned themselves to waiting to see what happens rather than participate in the process. 

What can you do? First of all, Inform yourself with an open mind. Don’t just read or watch the boring and repetitive mainstream propaganda that is fed to you by your usual sources. They are mostly sensationalist fear-based efforts to get you to hate the bad guy rather than unedited discussions with the candidates that allow you to make your own conclusions about what kind of person they are, what kind of track record they have, and what they want to do as President. Look up interviews where candidates reveal to you what they are all about rather than the soundbites and opinions about them or their parties by the dominant media. There is an abundance of great podcasts on YouTube for example. 

Secondly, speak your truth. Don’t worry about offending others who have different views. I don’t like conflict but I am grateful that I can often find common ground with people who I did not agree with at first or have my mind opened to a broader perspective. Also, I avoid dealing with prejudices by just referring people to the podcasts so they can make their own conclusions.

I was a teenager when John F. Kennedy made his inaugural address. His words “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” made a lasting impression on me. We each have a responsibility to inform ourselves and then stand for what we really believe in. 

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