Canadians, and their leaders, must stand up for what’s right

There is an adage that goes something like: “I would rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.”

There is an adage that goes something like: “I would rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.”

You see evidence of this in people all over the world standing up to dictators, religions, regimes, military, bosses and numerous other wrongs. There is evidence of it in news by the average citizen in our neighbourhood.

But it is seldom seen in our political leaders of all levels and stripes.

Our political members are more enthralled with the perks, power and parties than honour, justice and serving the people.

Governments around the world did not unilaterally decide to be corrupted, to become dictatorships; it was done in incremental steps. Every leader just wanted a bit more power, a bit more prestige, a few more perks than his/her predecessors. They bent the rules just a little more, they brought down a slightly bigger iron fist a few more times.

The people gradually became forgotten and regarded as just a formality but a nuisance.

Then a small thing happens, and someone stands up and then his neighbour and before you know it, the leader is given a reality check.

A lot of small things have happened in all levels of government and I think we are seeing people stand up but very few of the political class.

There are trustees, councillors, aldermen, legislators, parliamentarians and even senators looking around and not liking what they are seeing.

Parents, spouses, children and friends are starting to question their ethics and actions as they are starting to question those of their leaders.

Heads are down, eyes are turned, voices are quiet, and despair is evident but will they stand up for what they were elected to do or stay on their knees? Re-election perks, pensions and power lay heavily on their shoulders, keeping them on their knees hammering down honour, respect and decency, trying to unbend those knees.

Canada is a young country compared to most, and if we do not learn from the mistakes of others we are bound to repeat them. Do we need to allow our leaders to pursue their self-serving agendas much longer? Are we strong enough to stand up to overpowering weight of greed, anger, hatred and fear?

Are we so territorial that we as provinces, communities and political parties cannot co-operate with each other? Are we so blind that we cannot see the events unfolding before us?

In the last year, there have been many events, groups and individuals who have stood up, walked, protested, marched, starved, cried and begged for attention from the political elite.

A few politicians have moved, walked, responded and/or tried to implement change, but not enough.

How many politicians, of all levels, can seriously look deep inside themselves and say: “I would rather die on my feet (even just politically) than live on my knees”?

I do not see very many.

Garfield Marks

Red Deer