Merlin Nichols: Trust me, elect me


Keep on trusting in spite of what you see because we leaders are here for your ultimate good in spite of what you hear, see, or think.

Really, Canadians, what are the ingredients of good government?

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Confucius says, “They be three: sufficient food, sufficient weapons, and the confidence of the common people.”

But, Master Confucius, suppose you must give up one of them, which will it be?

Without hesitation, Confucius says with benign smile, “Naturally, I will dispense with weapons.”

Please bear with me for one more question, Master Confucius: You have to give up one of your last two. Which will it be?

Confucius says with great patience, “Come, now, my young and foolish student, the answer is self evident. To have good government we can dispense with weapons; we can even give up food and tighten our belts for from of old hunger is the lot of all humanity; but we cannot govern without the trust of the common people; a people who no longer trusts its leaders is troubled, indeed.”

Months ago, our leaders told us that it was arrogant, even racist to close our borders against potential invasion of covid from you know where. Time told; it was neither arrogant nor racist.

After it was too late and Covid was well established in Oh Canada they reversed their position and closed the borders (sort of); they even locked us down, closed the doors of private enterprise, but left open access to the big internationals.

And the really rich got really richer during this charade. Really, they did!

They also forbade visits to our grandparents who were dying alone. Did our leaders ever pause to consider: Maybe they’ll live longer or die happier if we allow visits?

We took it all stoically and obeyed with diminishing patience because we habitually trusted. Oh yes, we’re Canadian – proudly.

When we the trusting people were thoroughly conditioned after Pavlov’s model, our leaders granted some respite while promising a return of the plague in the fall.

They were right; covid returned, or so we are told.

Now, in a reversal of the rules from last spring, masks could be important.

Now they are truly important.

Now they are getting more important.

Now they are mandatory.

But Christmas was coming and all through the house there was nobody stirring, well, perhaps a mouse – who hasn’t heard the no-visiting, stay-at-home, self-isolate, distance, frequent-washing orders from the big house.

Did they really say “No visiting, self-isolate, distance, stay at home?”

I think so, but the orders will be repeated (again) in 20 minutes so we don’t have to think, we just have to obey. In fact, we’re given nothing about which to think!

So we obeyed. We stayed home, spent Christmas day cleaning house from bottom to top, vacuuming, dusting, washing windows. We did so; no lie! And then we had Thursday’s leftovers for supper. Merry Christmas!

The news began trickling in, then rapidly breaking. First one, then another, then a whole bunch of our elected leaders, after warning us sternly and explicitly to stay home, etc, etc, etc saw fit to fly themselves off to soak up some out-of-sight, out-of-mind warm-weather and Greek vacations and patch up those shingles in sunny, southern California. Well-deserved time off, no doubt. Believe me!

Obviously, they hadn’t taken to heart the Scripture that warns, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” Or maybe they hadn’t heard that warning; maybe they simply thought they were entitled to a little outing. Only the guilty know – and I am not so sure that they even believe themselves now, if ever they did.

So, Canadians, let’s get down off our smug horse and recognize that our own elected officials have a long way to go to regain our confidence. We elected them to govern and sadly have found that too many of them cannot govern themselves.

Canada is in troubled times now not exactly covid-generated.

With leaders who practice “Do what I say, not do what I do because I am government, not you” we can be sure that more trouble is in the offing.

Perhaps trouble such as we have never dreamed happening in Oh Canada.

Confucius warns, “Government cannot govern without the trust of the common people.” I am, and perhaps everyone who chances to read these words are, the common people. My trust in government is greatly diminished – and that from a low-level start.

Canadians, where do we go from here? The rot is not restricted to one political party; it is epidemic, if not pandemic, highly transmissible, and dangerous.

If no answer, at least I’ll leave you with an ancient wisdom: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?”

Merlin Nichols is the former mayor of Chetwynd. 

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