Lost For Words – 22 Long Seconds

I pondered long and hard about how to focus this political and social comment in my blog. My blog is not about political and social issues, but as other bloggers expressed their horror and concern about ongoing world issues, I realized that if I stayed silent and simply kept publishing my fluff, I was a part of the much bigger problem.

No photos today, dear friends. We have all seen too many sad photos lately.

By now, many of you will have seen Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s famous 22 second wordless period, after he was asked by a reporter what he thought of the events occurring in the USA.

At first, I thought this was a blunder on his part, but after 22 very lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng seconds, he came up with a typically Canadian response, saying that like all Canadians, he was horrified at events, but that we could all do better in the way we treat others. How Canadian. Like my Mom always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

What good would it do to speak his mind on what he actually thought? The only change that would come for being honest is retaliation of the kind that would redirect his attentions from the problems at hand in this country.

Yes, dear friends to the South, I come from that blank empty, white space at the top of your nightly weather map. We do have a different accent, even though we think we don’t, we have 6 months of cold weather and 6 months of mosquitoes, we love hockey, curling, bacon, poutine, maple syrup and Canadian beer. But, perhaps, not surprisingly, we are very much like you.

We too are not without our warts. We mistreat people, we label people, we act all superior and we do a lot of wrong thinking, but being Canadian, we apologise, we try harder and we move on. Are we perfect? HELL NO, we are not. Nobody is.

Our Prime Minister is a photo op waiting to happen. Is there a Pride Parade? He is there. Is there a military forces death? He is there. Is there a First Nations crisis? He is there. When he goes to India for a state visit, does he go all Bollywood? You betcha.

Does he ever threaten to send in the army? DAMN straight. Somebody has to help the over-worked first responders in Quebec and Ontario, somebody has to help fight forest fires, somebody has to fill sand bags to fight a flood. Damn STRAIGHT, he will send in the army.

What happened to George Floyd in Minnesota is horrifying and very painful to watch, but the reactions of some in power to this, as well as to the current COVID 19 pandemic defy description.

I have friends, relatives and acquaintances who live in that populous country to the South that appears on my nightly weather map in such detail, with state and city names. To me, it is not just a blank placeholder. It exists, I have been there many times and met many fine people, from all walks of life. I weep with you, I pray with you and I hold out hope for a great future for your fine country. We all want you to succeed, but humanity and people must always be the first focus, for no country can be great without her people. We want you to be successful. We need you to be successful.

When I rewatch the 22 seconds of silence by our Leader (who admittedly is not my favourite politician), and see the comments from Stephen Colbert and Reverend Al Sharpton in America, I see now that this reaction was carefully planned in advance. Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. No Justin Trudeau is not Jesus Christ, but, hey, he was born on December 25.

All of us allow this to happen, either through our actions, inactions, words, thoughts or deeds. We are all guilty of prejudice in one form or another and we have all made mistakes. But, the first step to correcting these mistakes is admitting them and learning from them.

Leadership begins at the top. The current crisis has given all leaders and all of us the opportunity to step up and do the right things. Let’s hope we all do.

Have a great day, eh?

26 thoughts on “Lost For Words – 22 Long Seconds

  1. Well written Allan. With this and coping with the virus – it has been a very stressful week for everyone. Personally – I like Justin Trudeau. I think he has done a great job in getting us through this. I also have friends who live across the border and feel for them every time I watch the news. Mr Trudeau had to think very carefully of what his response was when asked that question. He has to deal with Trump and keep things running as smoothly as he can with the US. I’m sure he wanted to say what was actually on his mind – but he would have had to deal with the fall out of that. Trump would stand at nothing to make things difficult for us all on this side of the border if he didn’t like what Trudeau said. He is like a petulant child who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. I’m glad we live on this side of the fence.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I, too like Justin’s handling of the Covid crisis, being a calming, reassuring voice, being empathetic, relying on the science rather than a hunch and making sure as many citizens as possible are financially able to weather the storm. It does us no good to criticize another country as we will not influence change outside our borders, except by example. Change in other countries is only possible when voters get out and vote for change. I am saddened at the widening gulf between our two nations, the me first attitude and the retaliations, but, in the end, as with Covid, we all must take care of our own house, rather than worrying about the stuff we can not change. Thanks for reading and commenting Ann. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My American heart keeps breaking over and over. It’s not about me, but I struggle with knowing how to help best. Calming, reassuring, empathetic voices are needed. Thanks for this post, Allan.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Talking is always good. Shouting is not. I am with you in this struggle. I can not fathom how the same kinds of mistreatment keep coming up over and over around the world and after talking and contemplating, nothing changes for the better. I think we need to stop labelling people by gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, physical condition and maybe label them with their name. If the police had looked and seen George Floyd and not a black man, could things have turned out better? I get that policing is a high stress job, made higher stress in the moments of adrenalin due to pursuit and apprehension, but no person or group should feel instant fear when they see a policeman, while they are simply sitting, walking, jogging, watching the birds. We all need to listen better, not just to one side, but to all sides. Stay well, my friend. Allan

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  3. This is a very thoughtful post; revealing our warts and issues. I am not a huge Trudeau fan but I, like the other commentor and you, think that he has done a reasonable job with the pandemic. His 22 seconds was long but he had to give the right answer. As he said he speaks on behalf of our country and must do what is in our best interests not his own opinion. That is up to Jagmeet Singh and he did that which is perfect in his role. The pandemic has certainly been a challenge for every countries leader to step up. The racial tension, which exists worldwide, also relies on country leaders to step up. That doesn’t seem to be happening in the States but perhaps Trudeau can do more than just pay lip service to it here at home. Conversations on blogs can also shed light and make us think so I am glad that you addressed it. When I find the right words I will also hit publish on mine. I really think you have done a good job of writing about this complex topic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Bernie for your thoughtful comments. This is indeed a complex issue. Why is it that we have such a time being able to speak our truth when we see injustice. We all need to shine a light on it. As to the different ways, different leaders respond, we may never be able to figure this out. Reason should prevail, but you can not reason with the unreasonable. Stay well and I look froward to your post. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I pondered long and hard about how I could comment on this excellent post. I also was brought up with , “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” and that is still my mantra. But, most of us mortal human beings have opinions and sometimes we cannot help but express ourselves. Hopefully those expressions are good and positive but not always. We cannot help it. I too am lost for words but am feeling very deeply affected by the this latest inhuman attack. For most of my life there have been demonstrations and riots but nothing like we are experiencing right now. Most of us have become a lot more vocal, more outspoken and more confident whether it be positive or negative. I am disappointed that the demonstrations turned in to dreadful riots with looting however I admire the many thousands of folks who did take to the streets to support our fellow people and show this sign of love and solidarity. We had organised and peaceful demonstrations right around Australia yesterday and for the first time in my life I really wanted to be there with my right arm in the air. Please God, this type of injustice never happens again. Great post Allan, Lyn

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lyn, thank you so much for taking time to read and prepare such a thoughtful comment. If we stay silent, we imply tacit approval. I am appalled that any individual, let alone a policeman could be so hard hearted as to put a knee on someone’s neck and back for almost 3 full minutes beyond the point they become unresponsive and I am also appalled that other officers could stand and watch without doing or saying anything. Filming it shone a light on it, but did not save a life. That being said, how do you approach armed officers, who seem bent on taking a life. What I have noticed in Canada (particularly in Vancouver) is an increased incidence of attacks (verbal and physical) against Asian Canadians, many who were born here. When you hear the words, Chinese Disease often enough, I guess the uninformed start to believe it. We were not able to take part in the demonstration here last night. 15,000 people took part and physical distancing was not possible. I can only hope the infection rates do not go up. I do hope we all become more thoughtful in how we respond in future, so we can avoid more repeats. Stay well and thanks for reading. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. BoJo is a clone or is that a clown. Not sure why we think these types of people are the change we need to see in the Government. I hope common sense becomes common again soon. Thanks for reading and commenting Susie. Allan

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  5. Nicely written and well thought out, Allan. I live in Iowa and I am at a loss with all of this. A lot of awful things going on yet I saw a lot of good in a lot of people too. Never thought I would have the types of fear or anxiety I have had over the last week, yet it’s there. Hoping our nation can heal and move forward. Take care!! Lori

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Lori. Please know your and your country are not alone in this matter. We, in Canada are with you. Only we can make this world a better place, because our politicians seem to have no interest in it. As they say “Power corrupts, but absolute Power corrupts absolutely.” I think a couple of things would help give a leader sober second thought about what he does or wants to do. Not only is he elected leader, but he is elected to a seat in the government and must face the house during sittings (I know, I know, this is very British/Canadian system), but it allows for face to face discussion during session, as opposed to acting in isolation. Also, I think all countries need the right of recall to the highest elected position. The power is the people. All the best Allan

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think Trudeau has done a good job of leading our country through the covid crisis and I actually am pretty proud of him for the most part. Last year, I held my nose and voted for him because I felt he was the best of a bad lot. However, he has held up well under the pressure. I do believe that the 21 seconds was scripted, though. I understand that his hands are tied because of what that erratic tyrant to the south of us might do to punish us, BUT, he should have said it anyway. We needed to stand up to that awful bully.

    I used to live in the US and I don’t see much in the way of similarities, though, so I have to disagree, although I realise you were making the point about discrimination. On the surface, there are similarities, but the cultures are profoundly different, in my experience, and that has lead to much different ways of thinking around and reactions to flashpoint issues such as this one. I would like to see much more attention on our First Nations – they have faced more discrimination than any other group, and yet they are barely mentioned in these protests.

    Great post, Allan. Thought-provoking and yes, good on you for taking a risk on the controversial. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Trudeau has shown good leadership, compassion and a willingness to believe in the science and the greater good. He has not relied on hunches, the metrics in his head or brute force to get his message across. He has not put getting the economy back on track ahead of the health of Canadians, nor has he tried to promote a cure with a product he may have funds invested in. He has been a cheerleader, a shoulder to lean on and aside for a brief trip to Harrington Lake to be with family, he has remained shut in like his people. If we had Jacinda here, I am sure she would have pulled no punches in answering the reporter’s question honestly. You need to stand up to bullies or each successive time, it gets worse. In this case though, our standing up may have simply created another distraction from the real issues and allowed the people to focus on us instead of the real problem.

      You are also right. U.S. and Canadian cultures have been diverging since 1776 and the differences in thinking and actions are significant.You are also right, we all discriminate, even if only subliminally or through lack of action. The aboriginal issues can not simply be about throwing money at the problem. There has to be a radical shift in thinking and action on the issue, much like the shift Covid caused.

      I always saw the discrimination, but I do not think I realized how terrifying it must be to live in a place where a strong, healthy man has to be afraid to go outside, to get in his own car, to live in a neighbourhood, to be stopped by law enforcement, to do anything a white person would do without even thinking. There are 400 years of wrong here that will not easily be fixed, but attitudes must change for the problem to get better. Canada has been called Socialist for its thinking about the greater good, as opposed to me first thinking. Why is caring a bad thing? What good does all the money and possessions in the world do, if you have to live in an armed encampment?

      Thanks for reading, your thoughtful feedback and for also caring. Have a great Sunday. Pretty wet here today. Allan

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Well said. It was incredibly awkward to watch when it happened, but after much thought, I’m not sure what a reasonable response would have been to that question. It seemed like a lose-lose situation for many of the reasons you pointed out. But I think he handled it as well as he could given the tumultuous times we’re in.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you and thanks for taking time to comment. It took me several viewings and about a day to figure out that this normally talkative leader was making a point by saying nothing. If you can look at the George Floyd video and be unmoved to make a change, I am not sure any words or actions could have made a difference. For a quiet message, I think it was understood loud and clear. Have a great Sunday. Allan

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    1. Hi Angie. It is a sad situation and has been for 400 years. What is it with humans that they have to always dominate others. I hope that this is the catalyst for change. Thanks for reading and commenting. Stay well. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If we say and do nothing, the injustice continues. We all need to be educated and to do better. If our politicians refuse to enact change, then we must change them. Thanks for reading CarMac. Allan

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