October 25th, 2020

A hope that one day society will get things right


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on June 6, 2020.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

That thought is the hope of every generation – that right now things might be a mess, but one day we as a society will get things right.

It’s wildly ambitious. Perhaps one might even say naive or unrealistic given how selfish and self-serving people can be. Any species which can justify the evil of slavery and its modern equivalent human trafficking to itself can seemingly justify anything: colonialism over First Nations peoples, tribal genocide in Rwanda, or the mass extermination of innocent peoples, mainly Jews, in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. And those are just some horrible examples drawn from the last century alone.

However, Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement still has resonance, and with it comes a sense of optimism and an exhortation to this and the coming generations to make of this messy planet a better world for all who are to come.

It was with that sense of optimism that hundreds of people of all races and creeds came together in front of city hall this week to speak out against ongoing systemic racism and injustice in Lethbridge.

Will this gathering change the way Indigenous peoples, particularly, are treated in this city tomorrow? Sadly not. We are still at the bottom of the rising arc on that one. Will suddenly visible minorities in the city have equal access to opportunities or face less underlying racism as they move through their day in the short term? Likely not.

What the gathering showed is a willingness to live together. A desire to unify our city in fairness for everyone. It was a statement of what we would like to be, and not necessarily about what we have achieved to date. It was an acknowledgement that there is more work yet to do.

Or as one protester named Phobe Bird who attended demonstration in Lethbridge put it:

“Look at us,” she said motioning toward the crowd all around. “We are all here. We are all here for the same thing, equality. We are all here for justice. This is how it should be. We are all brothers and sisters here. What I hope is my kids don’t have to come out and do this. I am teaching them we are all the same. We are all people with feelings. We all have a story. We all bleed red.”

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Steve Bottrell

We won’t even come close as long as the monetary system is the root of society. People are selfish and self serving because of the socioeconomic system they are raised in. A socioeconomic system based on money, which itself is based on self interest, differential advantage, social stratification and scarcity. Until we get rid of the monetary system and the values and behaviors it generates, not much is going to change. MLK Jr. quotes don’t mean much given that he said those words decades ago and nothing has fundamentally changed. You will never get equality, or justice from a system designed to support the opposite of those characteristics.

biff

agreed, steve. quotes tend to touch those already open, sensitive and evolved; great quotes do not enter the self absorbed realm of the cold, thick, dark, unevolved.
moreover, steve is correct in noting that our socioeconomic system warps us into being petty, self serving, selfish, self aggrandising, exhibitionist and false hero worshiping dolts. i expect we will one day come to a time where can look back on our era and see our idiot behaviour and woeful value systems as at once laughable and horrific, but all the great quotes ever uttered is not what will get us there. we need to outgrow the collective age of the 2 year old that we are, where we have remained stunted for ages already. however, our current obsession with self entitlement, money and stuff accumulation as being the hallmarks of success – fueled by our economic system and the marketing and lies that underwrite it all – needs to be outgrown.