In a year in which the Bitcoin, that non-existent chunk of nothing but a bizarre concept that value can be created by complex computer calculations, has given investors returns beyond their wildest dreams, if have learned nothing else the lesson it surely must be that all the rules that traditionally guided our lives have gone out the window.
I have often written—and rarely been challenged—that most of what I don’t like about economics and government today has a direct thread back to the Ronald Reagan era. No doubt I’ll go to my grave making those same connections from the election of Donald Trump.
His election solidified the what some already knew, that a lie told often enough becomes a truth (at least for enough people to sway an election) and in social media we now see ordinary, every day people turning that ugliness into a fine art. I’m not, and never have been, a big fan of the word truth anyway, but even in my dotage I know lies when I hear them.
My beef isn’t the Bitcoin—heck, this isn’t the first time that people smarter than me turned to alchemy, having been hornswoggled into believing that morphing lead into gold was only a matter of discovering the right chemical process (it isn’t, but lead atoms can indeed be smashed into gold atoms, in a process so random that we will be travelling at the speed of light before it becomes economically feasible to pursue on a meaningful scale).
The folks manipulating a world in which the Bitcoin is seen be a “thing” might not be wearing robes and pointy hats, stirring a caldron and chanting “Double, double, toil and trouble”, but they are equally as determined to reshape our perception of reality, and it isn’t because they want to feed the poor or cure the sick. Lining their own pockets and feeding their own egos is the goal, and if it destroys everything around them, so much the better. Sometimes you have to destroy to create, we are told, much as Hitler told audiences that roared in approval at his every word. Listen to the audio of a Trump “rally” and see if you don’t make the same connection.
So, as we slog forward into what should be a time of peace and good will, what exactly do we hang our hats on? I’m having a hard time feeling generous in spirit these days, but my gratitude goes to the people close to me—not just family and friends, but neighbours and acquaintances who show by example that making a better world only happens when you make a better community. Even if I abandon my naïve hope that somehow billions of people will suddenly be persuaded that our planet or, to be more precise, our species, is worth saving, I take heart that the nice people at the hospital Tuck Shop work so hard to raise dollars a few cents at a time to improve the comfort and care of patients. I am grateful that the vision of a small handful of people continues to transform Spectrum Farms into a beacon of hope. I give my thanks to the volunteers at Gleaners and the Food Bank for their determination to make the proverbial silk purse from a sow’s ear. I take joy from the creative types around me who make art and music and drama in a way that makes me think and feel in a different way that I would if it wasn’t for them. I send only smiles to agencies that work to ease the pain of women, men and children in tough circumstances.
And it’s easy to take for granted, but I owe a great debt to the people who serve others so selflessly, and that includes our local Town Council, regional directors, police force, firefighters, health care providers, and on and on, right to the unknown angel who had already shoveled the sidewalk in front of the Advance when I stepped out the door, shovel in hand, early on Monday morning.
Forget the big bad world, or at least what we hear of it through a too-often anti-social media. When I take time to think of all the good, decent, caring people I come in contact with on a daily basis, I begin to realize how it is impossible to say it often enough—thank you, thank you, thank you. And may the spirit of the Christmas season live on in you all.