Every morning, on the road to work, I take stock of my life, I reflect on humanity and I see how blessed we are. Children of boomers, we have experienced a quality of life and a comfort that has never been achieved before and which, unfortunately I think, will not be either with the social, economic and climatic issues which are fast approaching. You don’t have to be a millionaire to have access to the latest technology, live in comfortable homes and be able to study for as long as you want at low cost due to our Quiet Revolution education system. We have had it all and we are asking for more.
Used to the red carpet being rolled out for us since our childhood, we do not accept the No. The pandemic and its restrictions is the biggest No we have faced in 20, 30 or 40 years. If to this day the biggest event affecting our lives is the Covid, I find us lucky. No hurricanes, no extreme poverty, no famine or war, just a virus that asks to be patient, to think of the most vulnerable and to make efforts for the community, to protect each other.
Hanging on my sun visor, I have the photos of my two grandfathers who are now in heaven and watch over the family. Thinking about what is happening to us, I can’t help but wonder what they would think of our lack of respect for the common good. They who worked from a very young age, who toiled to provide for the needs of their brothers and sisters, they who gave everything for greater than themselves. Who did it out of necessity, out of goodness and out of a faith in one humanity because that is what they had learned with religion and family, to take care of others.
With what I see, the failure to follow simple instructions, the incredible I-don’t care and I, Me, Me at its strongest, I can only ask forgiveness for our lack of willpower and vision. Too used to our needs being met in the moment and our impulses not being compromised, our need not to experience frustration becomes more important than protecting our elders, loved ones and above all, the staff of a shaky health system, which nevertheless heals us from the cradle.
We have forgotten the meaning of the word sacrifice, the word patience, the word hope and the word community. Before our grandparents, who for the most part sublimated their aspirations to make their children and grandchildren generations free from need, more educated and more modern, there was a whole generation of young men from home. -we who literally gave their lives to fight evil in Europe, wishing to preserve our way of life, our ideologies, our values and, most important of all, our humanity, because “saving a life is the whole ‘humanity we save’.
These young boys and women joined up under the flag to defend fundamental principles in which they believed to the point of giving their last breath. They fought fascism and the threat it posed thousands of miles from their homes, in cold, hunger, fear and loneliness. Far from theirs with the only memories to relate to black and white photos of their families, having as the only means of communicating rare letters that took months to reach their hands, with the sole objective of coming back in one piece to the country to resume living in peace, without deaths, bombs, trenches or violence.
While nowadays, few are those who stand on their own when reaching the age of majority, for the most part still with our parents to be able to continue our studies or learn to live with adult life, men having recently when they were 18, they left their land to go by boat to a world they did not know, with the conviction of doing what was right. The common good surpassed their own person.
In our cozy nests, armed with phones, tablets and computers, just a click away from being able to chat in sound and image with our loved ones and a snap of the fingers to order what we want online, we do not even succeed in think of something other than our little navel. We want to see our loved ones, we want to go to restaurants, we want to go shopping, we want to live by our definition of freedom. Would you be able to look your ancestor in the eye who gave five years of his life fighting in mud, sweat and blood and tell him how difficult your life is right now? Don’t you think he didn’t miss all the pleasures of life? The difference is that at the time, people had learned to give, to share.
Wouldn’t it be time to be proud of ourselves and be able to look at ourselves in the mirror without blinking our eyes, telling ourselves that we too have fought our war, different, psychologically difficult, but that we have been up to the task? men and women who have built our world, by protecting our social structures, our infrastructures and our cocoon of peace that is Quebec and who takes care of us since our birth. Everything has a price. For peace our elders suffered and for health we must also suffer, otherwise the situation will be as dire as our lack of will and humanity.