Blah, Blah, Blame…

I’m getting a little tired of people placing blame, and then sitting back like armchair quarterbacks and getting annoyed that people aren’t following the trail of blame they’ve laid down, in any particular situation.


Life isn’t that simple, I’m afraid to say.


Yes, we have problems, we have tragedies, we have mistakes, and we have accidents. And when such circumstances hit us between the eyes, we want to place blame. We want those we blame to step up and take responsibility for what has gone wrong in our lives. We want miracles to happen and those tragedies, mistakes, accidents to be reversed and those affected, including ourselves to be miraculously healed and all memory of the event erased. But that’s not the sum of life. We also have joys, celebrations, things that make us giggle irreverently in corners. These are the things and people that are able to make us feel alive, to make us feel empowered, to make us feel anything at all.


We have our opinions, sometimes informed, sometimes not informed, yet they’re still our opinions, and with those opinions, we rapidly circle back around to the idea of blaming.


Let’s look at the Churchill railroad, as an example. The track and the port of Churchill was bought by an American company at the time that the federal government eliminated the Wheatboard. So, a concatenation of circumstances converged and the American company stopped using this most northern port, this one port that was able to ship grain and supplies to other northern ports, and instead, it has since been ignored. It’s been ‘left out in the cold’, in favour of cheaper southern routes that this American company also had a stake in. I don’t need to name names, we have all read the press releases.


Now, in the aftermath of a memorandum of understanding for the sale of the railway and the port the American company is crying for help, to show in the aftermath, that they attempted to do something. Yet, it’s more than just the community and port of Churchill who is suffering. There are communities along this rail line that are only connected to the outside world by this one track. There is nothing being heard from them, in the initial drone supplied estimates that it will take almost a year to fix the track.


I would hope that we’re soon to the end of blaming and about ready, as citizens who are bound by the fate of this railway track, to do something, anything.


We have the know-how. We still have among us those who have worked on this track and know how it’s constructed, and so how it needs to be maintained. The tracks are owned, in this case, by the American company. Perhaps it’s time for some positive industrial espionage as we have the skills, the manpower, the ability to take the track into our hands and begin to rebuild this lifeline for northern Manitoba.


But this isn’t the only place, the only way that blame is being assigned, as we sit back and wait for the inevitable rescue from on high.


For too many years we’ve been told to sit back, rely upon social assistance, upon the provincial and federal governments. In the meantime, we’ve been intentionally bamboozled by our elected representatives, and we do nothing to stop them. We have come to expect them to take us to the cleaners, to lie to us before the election and then fail to live up to those lies after the election. Don’t get me wrong, we have good politicians out there, as well, but the majority have given in to ‘party line’ instead of ‘the wellbeing of their constituents and their lives.’


For too many years, we’ve been told that social assistance will be our safety net, but I’m seeing that it’s more like a spider’s web, instead. It catches us, it holds us fast, and it prevents us from exiting the apparatus, and getting on with our lives.


So, I’d like to propose that we break free from the dependence upon social assistance, from the waiting for someone else to come along, to salve our wounds, to pat us on the heads and say ‘there, there,’ all the time that they’re looking elsewhere and subliminally encouraging us to pack up and move to where, ‘elsewhere’ might be found.


I’d like to propose that we have the manpower, we have the ability to easily learn the skills needed to quietly revolt against the strictures of Social Services, against the dependence upon the rulings of the Provincial and Federal governments and waiting on our hands for them to decide our lives. At one time, Canada had a thriving industrial, manufacturing sector. With the shipping of such skills offshore to places that are ‘cheaper’ on the pocket books of the owners, it became like the Churchill Port and rail line situation: something to provide a negative for the company so that they don’t appear to be ‘all powerful’ in the eyes of their investors, who still expect to become rich. It became like the banks who only made x billion dollars of profit, so our service charges are going up, yet again.


I’m not saying we can change the world, but even if we impact the corner in which we live. Even if we make positive changes for our lives, for our regions, for our families. In the face of the negative, we are stronger than people think, and we’re able to take steps to make at least some of the negatives more positive.


Let’s look at what we can do to – provide jobs, encourage skills, foster innovative thinking, and make this corner of Canada, of God’s creation more balanced, and a positive place to live.

About pastorrebeccagraham

A Lutheran minister serving an Anglican parish in Northern Ontario.
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