Merlin Nichols: Wars, and rumours of wars

merlinnichols

Way back last fall in an era now hard to remember, I noted in one of my columns that Canada was on the brink of a maelstrom. COVID-19 was not even a vague nightmare at the time among those of us not in the know.

Now, it’s a world-wide, every-day, all-day chatter-or-natter about. We’re all aware that there is, or might be, an enemy in our sneezes on the breezes. Some of us fear. Some of us fear not. It wasn’t part of the maelstrom way back last fall. Today, it’s in the mix adding to the spin with a vengeance.

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What other enemies can we generate to upgrade our fears if we choose to fear? War with China? Confrontations with Russia over Belarus? Civil disturbances in the USA that will spill over into our home and native land? Oh, Canada! All of these folks are much bigger, much stronger than we are with much more potential to do us harm if they choose.

Especially the USA.

Why especially the USA? Well, we sleep in the same bed with Uncle Sam Americanus, and if he rolls over in his fretful dreams or even his wakeful fretting we could be squashed.

Simple as that?

Indeed, it is. China has the capacity to do us immeasurable harm individually and corporately. And the will.

As does Russia.

The good old USA? The capacity but not so much the will. Still, don’t overlook the Monroe Doctrine or Manifest Destiny. The two could explain future activities of our good friend on the other side of the undefended border.

But our greatest vigilance has to be directed internally. There is a war going on against our liberties of conscience, movement, association, speech. Don’t take me wrong. Governments have an obligation to take unusual but temporary measures to defend the nation. We put up with the inconvenience of the War Measures Act well enough during two major world events. We could see the enemy, identify him, locate him, and kill him. Which we did in great numbers at great cost to ourselves in lives, liberties, broken homes, shattered careers. But the WMA was more or less temporary.

There has been much collateral damage in our so-called fight against Covid. The problem is our ignorance. We don’t know how to fight it – or if we should. So lives are lost (overdoses, separation, neglect of scheduled medical care), liberties relinquished, homes broken, and careers destroyed in a fight we are not likely to win.

Anciently it was written that in the time of the end there would be wars, rumours of wars, pandemics, natural disasters, and earthquakes in various places. Yes, I know that this unsteady, volatile world has been aching from the effects of these troubles almost since the beginning. Not much has changed in that respect.

But the writing warns that the troubles would increase in frequency and intensity in our time – like the birth pains of a woman about to deliver another Mozart or Luther, or Billy Graham, or Einstein, or Justin, or Donald, or even me, or perhaps you.

Correction: not another. Like the snowflake, you are one of a kind; so am I; there’ll never be another you, another me, or another Mozart or Einstein. Each one is precious so take care; guard well the avenues to your mind.

The writing goes on to advise: be alert, watch, keep your eyes open and your clothes on. Be ready because you do not know the time.

Is this really the time of the end? Will the world actually come crashing down, perhaps from its own weight of evil, greed, careless behaviour? Even science warns us in ominous terms that the earth as we have come to know it and enjoy it cannot continue indefinitely (it should be noted that not everyone inhabiting this wildly spinning globe is really enjoying the ride). Like the blind men and the elephant, is science partly in the right and partly in the wrong?

Without a doubt.

Without a doubt it is time to give some serious attention to the signs of the times. Ominous, foreboding, but don’t be alarmed.

Wars and rumors of wars? Pay attention. Natural disasters? Pay attention.

Keep watch; stay alert; don’t be alarmed.

Take appropriate action which might or might not include buying a smaller car.

By the way, Here are some ancient words of wisdom for those who aspire to rule over us and buy our souls with promises to solve our problems: “...the living should know that the Most High rules in the nations and gives the rulership to whomever he will, even to the lowest of men.”

Take note you aspiring prime ministers and presidents.

Merlin Nichols is the former mayor of Chetwynd. 

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