Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I'm sorry to be bringing this up again, because I know that to most of the rest of the world, Canadian national concerns are not sexy. I mean, we don’t have leadership candidates feeding us crazy-interesting sound bites like: hurricane Irene is god’s wrath at our spending too much money on our people. (Seriously, I read that today. Is that true?) Our leaders are just not that interesting, even when they lie. Anyway, for the most part, we don't care about your disinterest.
But I am compelled to write about the events of the last week because I think they're really significant. These events have triggered an expression of the desire in us to know a different public reality. In this video you'll see the power of a message perpetuating that desire, from the only politician in the room who was dead.
Find in the video below a former politician and current humanitarian delivering that powerful message of hope and encouragement. The message pissed a whole bunch of people off, but it inspired a whole bunch more.
If you’re not Canadian, there are some things you should know before you watch:
This was a state funeral. Jack Layton was the leader of Canada's official opposition to the government. Our biggest dignitaries are all there. The Queen is represented by the Governor General. I make note that it's a state funeral because you might not think so seeing all that clapping and standing and cheering.
You also need to know that the reaction in that room is not just representative of Layton's party supporters who were present. Thousands had collected outside and along the route of the funeral procession. People showed up to City Hall in Toronto and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and other cities to pay personal tribute all week.
You need to know that everybody knew how sick Jack was, but when he died everybody was shocked anyway. Nobody anticipated the reaction to this loss because Canadians just don't act this way.
What I see in this eulogy, and in the response to it, and in the response to Jack's death in general, is that I am not alone in my rejection of the anger and ugliness that has permeated our social and political realms. What I see are people that are finished with it; we don't want to be held apart anymore.
Please watch; it’s Stephen Lewis, one of the most gifted and passionate orators alive, paying homage to a man's life work and ideals. You'll be glad you did.
(And if you do I promise to shut up about it.)
(The Canadian politcs part, not the peace love and understanding part.)