“The proof is in the pudding,” people often say, which of course makes no sense unless you have been pouring strong whiskey into your pudding.
The original saying is, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” You’ve got to taste it to know whether it’s good or bad. And there is a very bad taste in many places in Canada these days.
It’s important to be thorough in your citing, i.e. say the complete statement and read the whole document. Sometimes people don’t do that and so they can veer off course. A friend told me about a “health” spa where the workers are anti-vax and have posted a copy of the Canadian constitution up on the wall to claim that the constitution gives them the right to protest the vaccine mandate.
I guess they hadn’t read the part that connects rights with responsible behaviour: Canadian Constitution, Section 1 The section is also known as the reasonable limits clause or limitations clause, as it legally allows the government to limit an individual’s Charter rights. This limitation on rights has been used in the last twenty years to prevent a variety of objectionable conduct in which the practicing of those rights infringes on the rights of others or harms the safety and security of the society.
Many people are saying that they are shocked, appalled, frightened and saddened about the “Freedom” blockades in parts of Canada and around the world to the point that they don’t want to talk about it. Some say they can’t watch the news anymore because it’s too upsetting. But most people I’ve talked to agree that it’s only a small minority of people creating this chaos: causing businesses to close their doors and individuals to be intimidated and fearful.
Ninety percent of Canadians are vaccinated and, even if some of them question the mandates, the large majority opposes the blockades. Only a very small percentage of our population, along with a number of foreigners, are holding us hostage. Some have suggested that it’s less than .001% of Canadians blocking borders, terrorizing citizens and generally creating hardship for the 99.999%. But they are being very effective. Injunctions are being granted but not much acted upon, and it’s not clear why that is.
When I think of the swastikas that are being flaunted by these protesters, I can’t help but think of Nazi Germany. I feel pretty sure that in 1939, the very large majority of Germans did not support murdering Jews in gas chambers but they lost control. I don’t know exactly how the police became weakened and the Brownshirts took control, but I believe that if people aren’t vigilant, democracy can slip away.
These are dark times. It’s important that we don’t lose hope, and I was very grateful to a friend who dropped off a copy of Michael Ignatieff’s On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times. It’s an eloquent and inspiring new book that proposes ways in which solace can bring us hope and help us to carry on when things make us despair.
Sometimes it seems that the human species is headed for destruction, especially when we look at how we are destroying so many other species and the planet itself. But it’s important that we imagine positive outcomes.. Nobel-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska wrote about this in a poem which she called Consolation:
They say he read novels to relax,
But only certain kinds:
nothing that ended unhappily.
If anything like that turned up,
enraged, he flung the book into the fire.
True or not,
I’m ready to believe it.
Scanning in his mind so many times and places,
he’d had enough of dying species,
the triumphs of the strong over the weak,
the endless struggles to survive,
all doomed sooner or later.
He’d earned the right to happy endings,
at least in fiction
with its diminutions.
Hence the indispensable
the lovers reunited, the families reconciled,
the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded,
fortunes regained, treasures uncovered,
stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways,
good names restored, greed daunted,
old maids married off to worthy parsons,
troublemakers banished to other hemispheres,
forgers of documents tossed down the stairs,
seducers scurrying to the altar,
orphans sheltered, widows comforted,
pride humbled, wounds healed over,
prodigal sons summoned home,
cups of sorrow thrown into the ocean,
hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation,
general merriment and celebration,
and the dog Fido,
gone astray in the first chapter,
turns up barking gladly
in the last.
I too am hoping for a happy ending. We all are. As in Szymborka’s poem. we need reconciliation and healing and prodigal sons summoned home and troublemakers banished to other hemispheres,
In Britain, people often use the word “pudding” to describe the dessert served at the end of a meal. A happy ending. But, as George Eliot is said to have observed, If you could make a pudding wi’ thinking o’ the batter, it ‘ud be easy getting dinner.
There’s no way around it. Thinking and pondering the crisis we’re in is not enough. It’s going to require strong and timely action to resolve the current mess our country is in, and it won’t come easily. It’s going to take hard work. Let’s get on with it..
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