It is traditional that when this time of year comes around, we are supposed to pause, to reflect, to gaze into the mirror, to whittle away at the perplexing issues of life, big and small, and the changes that were both great and insignificant. It is a time of re-assessment.
We remember some of the headlines, some of the stories of interest and the stories that got scant little attention but meant something to us personally. In the past year there has been a cavalcade of digitally formatted information, both good and bad, some of it judgemental and some of it merely misinformation. The headlining messages are always bundled as “news, or “breaking news” when it is in fact old, history just merely repeating itself.
We seem to be in a cycle of loudly expressed frustration and immobilizing constant stress, however, we also need to remember that this is also a time of great exaggeration. We are being inundated with the latest apoplectic event, a rain storm is now an “atmospheric river”, a snow storm “a polar vortex.” The press has become irresponsible and driven purely by a need to inflame and agitate, to warn you of constant impending doom or crisis. It is clearly an effort to remain relevant to the phone obsessed and relevant to the attention deprived general population. We as humans have allowed ourselves to be transformed, we are now an extension of those phones and logically therefore under the command of the persons that control them. Children in strollers now work their little fingers on an i-pad with the dexterity of a programmer, a constant presence disguised as a babysitter.
It is indeed a confusing time, a time where the economics doesn’t seem to add up, a downturn in the economy and upward inflation apparently not affecting the Xmas shopping, the lines at the airport, or the constant updates on Facebook by all those booked into the the all-inclusive sunnier climes. The look-at-me beach pictures are juxtaposed over longer lines at the food banks and growing tent cities. A recession predicted, but it does not deter Federal employees from threatening action over having to go back to the office, clearly not concerned for a loss of those jobs. The teens and the early 20’s now boycotting all the lesser paying jobs, somehow able to be comfortable with not working at all. Inflation not seen since the 1980’s not deterring every unions demand and every government in response giving greater pay raises then ever seen before, thus fuelling the same inflation. But the over-hanging cloud of complacency may be the most un-settling; a careless disregard combined with un-precedented narcissism.
This Christian holiday period is our time of escape, our safe room, despite most of us being non-practising Christians ironically or not Christians at all. But it does give us this chance, when we should try and look below or above all the overflowing narratives. To be thankful in our ability and outright luck to live in the 1st world. It is also time to thank those people who are continuing work with dedication and resolve regardless of acknowledgement or thanks. Also to those that live and who still gain pleasure in giving and receiving the simpler things.
In this vein I do have some random thoughts and general wishes.
To those past officers, who policed in different times, and have now left us. You were part of a disappearing policing history, one that seemed simpler, one which seemed to be more about human interaction and less about modern tools of containment and restraint. I salute you and will always remember that there were others that went before.
I hope that one of these days we can find the humour in life, to not take everything so seriously, and able to withstand minor slights. Humour is all around us and it will often provide greater insight than that found in the academic journals.
I do hope that soon we will be able to announce people without including their gender or race as a primary descriptor and that we return to some level of measurement by merit.
I hope that common sense becomes more fashionable.
I hope that someday everyone will be open to try and see the other side of the issue, to understand that every view has a right to be heard, as I truly believe that our very democracy depends on it.
To those that I took aim at over the past year– those policing senior managers such as Commissioner Lucki, those sometimes unfathomable politicians such as Justin Trudeau, and Chrystia Freeland, and other entities such as the National Police Federation, and the Indigenous; to name just a few of my favourite targets. I hope you too have a good Xmas. Most of the people behind these issues are well-intended and even though I often heatedly disagree with the policies, or what they are proposing, or the job that they are doing, I do not dislike them as individuals. In the end I am only trying to report, trying to propose or unearth facts, nothing else.
I hope that sometime during this season you too are allowed some time to be alone with more gentle thoughts, or to just be allowed to take it all in. It seems trite, but I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy. Vaccinated or un-vaccinated, I don’t care.
I would like to thank those of you who have been faithful readers of the blog, allowing me to vent and tolerated me when I sometimes overstepped the line. You know who you are.
Lastly, I would like to thank those police officers who on Xmas morning find themselves sipping on the bitter 7-11 coffee, in the quiet hours around sunrise, too early to head back to the office, when the only distraction is the crows bouncing around the parking lot for that tossed wrapper of grease. Enjoy that time, you’re only one call away from it possibly getting worse.
So a Merry Xmas to all of you, thanks for reading, thanks for being at the other end of this blog.
We will see you in the New Year….when we will go back to all those other issues.
All the best,
Photo Courtesy the Library of Congress via Flickr Commons – Some Rights Reserved