Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Norway and other sad news ...

I know these thoughts are dated - I became ill overnight Friday, spent Saturday in bed, and we have been passing whatever bug it is around since, pretty much - and/or I've been working.

But I have found the news of the terrorist attack in Norway - and no mistake, just because it was only one person, and (gasp!) a non-Muslim, it was just that, a terrorist attack - incredibly sad. This peaceful nation where even the police are unarmed (firearms are kept in a lockbox in their car, which they require permission to retrieve) was nowhere near prepared for such a tragedy and the loss of life in such a small country - or any country - is painful. For Glenn Beck yesterday to have compared the youth camp that was attacked to the Hitler Youth, simply for being a politically-engaged group of young adults and teens, was obscene and tasteless. A young generation of people engaged in the public life of their country, an active citizenry, is something we in North America can look toward with envy ... another thing robbed along with innocence there.

I find myself oscillating between whether this nutcase - whose name I will not publish, nor links to his manifestoes, as if there is anything that has become clear, it is that his ultimate goal is not only the 'revolution' he is attempting to start in Norway, but also attention, whether for himself or for his cause - deserves an open trial as all citizens do, or whether that would simply give him the attention and platform he so craves. The democrat in me of course cries out for an open trial, for the process of justice being done to be transparent ... on the other hand, he doesn't deserve a blessed thing he wants, and he wants cameras and tape recorders on him. This is what terrorism does to democracy, to justice ... it makes us doubt the very foundations of who we are as a people. Sad.

Also sad was the news here in Canada that Opposition Leader Jack Layton would be temporarily stepping down to battle a new cancer - not the prostate cancer he was diagnosed with about 18 months ago that he seems to have under control - one, judging from the look and sound of him, which is infinitely more severe, and yet, judging from his optimistic tone, one he remains confident he can battle and win over. There are conflicting signs - a previously very open Layton playing specifics very close to the vest; an optimistic tone contrasting with a very poignant visual. But reality is reality and for better or worse this will play its course - we hope for, and plan, for the better.

As a Liberal whose loyalties are currently shaky in the light of years of corruption, arrogance, and the lack of a leader to whip those elements back under control and take the proper lead of Canada's Party, I have looked to Jack as the best leader on the national scene right now - the leader of a party who I agree with 80-90% of their platform if not 100%, and the best voice to counter the new Conservative majority. We need him - and on a more personal note, after years of hard work, he deserves the chance to do this job - once thought to be the highest he could even in his wildest dreams hope of achieving. He's a hair's breadth away from the Prime Ministership; he - and Canada - deserve that chance. Our prayers are with him and his family for his continued health, and his return to leadership when the house resumes in September.

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