A Letter To The Editor
by Chris Hibbard
Published in the Lethbridge Herald
October 26, 2015
Let’s think about values.
In Canada, we have clean water, free education and health care, individual rights and freedoms.
These things should not be taken lightly. Yet even with the privilege that our country affords us, we seem happy to watch a lot of it fall apart.
We are happy to drive to McDonald’s, but are reluctant to invest in energy that comes from the sun, the wind and the tides.
We are happy to consume levels of sugar that we all know are bad for us, leading to “epidemics” of diabetes, obesity and cancers.
We are happy to spray our crops with pesticides proven to damage health, and we’re OK with mistreating animals, as long as we can eat them.
We are happy to feed coins into slot machines and wait in line for lottery tickets, investing in imaginary futures while we rack up debt on credit cards.
We are happy to smoke our cigarettes and drink our booze, knowing full well the harms they cause to ourselves and our families.
Our southern counterparts seem happy to amass automatic weapons so they can imitate the violence we witness on prime-time TV.
These things are the new normal. We’re no longer surprised to hear about them. Meanwhile, groups in the big business and political realms get wealthier – as long as we remain happy.
Yet millions of us are on anti-depressants. Suicide rates are just as high as ever before. Many Canadians struggle with poverty and addiction, while good manners and open-mindedness seem endangered.
Experts confirm these things, yet such big, ugly issues provoke deeper questions.
If all these things are so bad for us, why do we permit them? If the system is broken, shouldn’t we try to fix it? While these issues might not affect you personally, shouldn’t you still be concerned?
The truth is that these issues are frightening and make us uncomfortable.
So we rest on our laurels and hide behind our phones; millions of people seemingly happy to poison ourselves and our planet – dispassionate, distracted, and content to see things deteriorate.
Now back to the subject of values.
Do we still have them? Have our values been corrupted, co-opted, bought and paid for?
If so, why aren’t we angry about it?
And if not, aren’t those values worth fighting for?
I think they are. And that’s why I wrote this letter.