I have a quote, too, although not from an LDS source. But yesterday's op-ed column by
John Ibbitson was, I thought, very thought-provoking. I do the ward bulletin, and
picked an illustration of "Praying Hands" by Albrecht Dürer (1508 AD), with an excerpt
from our opening hymn on top: "Come, ye thankful people, come; raise the song of
Here's Ibbitson's column, which I recommend for all Canadians, although it also
applies in most respects to the US as well -- to any part of Zion, for that matter.
The 9th paragraph especially contains a real gem of wisdom, imho.
Thanksgiving glory: The system works
By JOHN IBBITSON Monday, October 14, 2002 – Print Edition, Page A13
We should make Thanksgiving a bigger holiday than Christmas, partly because the
weather is finer, partly because pumpkin pie tastes so much better than plum pudding,
and partly because the cultural sensitivities of celebrating the arrival of the Christ
are so delicate that we have largely abandoned the season's religious rituals,
contenting ourselves with blowing a month's pay on gifts nobody wanted.
But Thanksgiving, now there's a holiday. It celebrates the hope of reconciliation
among peoples (even if that first hope, between the First Nations and the Europeans,
remains unfulfilled); it reminds us that, even in the age of Internet spam and melting
stocks, we are a settler people tied to the land; it teaches that, whatever the
troubles of the day, we are fortunate to be living in this place at this time and,
before we do or say anything else, we should give thanks.
In that spirit, let's put aside the tribulations of these times, and bless our good
fortune as Canadians to be living in perhaps the freest and finest political community
ever created by humankind.
Hypocrisy, you might contend, since this column so often laments the dysfunction
between the federal and provincial powers, the institutionalization of single-party
rule, and the chronic failure of government to produce timely, effective solutions to
emerging problems before they degenerate into crises.
All of these problems exist, but in the other 51 weeks of the year we are liable to
forget that they reflect underlying strengths of our political system, as well as
The federal and provincial powers conflict because we have not chosen to resolve the
tension between regional and national interests through civil war or dissolution.
Instead, we search for accommodation. Through that process, we have created a society
of enormous diversity and remarkable consensus.
Certainly, we value stability. Albertans have elected conservatives of one stripe or
another in every election since 1935. Conservatives have governed Ontario for 49 of
the past 59 years. Liberals were in power in Ottawa for 71 per cent of the 20th
century. Only in those parts of the country where internal consensus is difficult to
achieve (such as Quebec and British Columbia) or where the major parties are virtually
identical in outlook (such as in Atlantic Canada) do parties regularly rotate in
But whatever the risk of institutionalized corruption posed by our excess of
political caution, one-party dominance also reflects the truth that Canadians are
virtually unanimous in their shared political values. We seek to blend the liberal
individualism of the United States with the communitarianism of Europe. We support an
activist state that ameliorates disparities while leaving private enterprise
unfettered. We respect the other fellow's point of view, but abhor jingoism. The
louder you argue, the less a Canadian listens.
Our governments move slowly because we have agreed among ourselves not to proceed on
issues of major importance until we have agreed among ourselves. Historians have
argued that democracies always lose the first battles against totalitarians, but
always win the wars. This is because democracies cannot act until consensus has been
achieved; but once achieved, that consensus is implacable.
Finally, the Canadian system has found ways of keeping governments in check other
than by replacing them. The media are among the best educated and most critical in the
world. Interest groups proliferate, dissidents abound. I have never seen a government
successfully impose a major policy contrary to the popular will without being defeated
in the next election. The system works.
One of the glories of Western civilization is that it institutionalizes criticism.
Not only do we tolerate dissent, we entrench it. Parliament is built around it, the
courts are defined by it, we support newspapers and broadcast media devoted to it; we
encourage it among ourselves in lunchroom debates. Despite the potentially dangerous
lethargy of our political system, ideas get aired, conduct is scrutinized, misdeeds
exposed and punished. The system works.
Some people say they prefer Canada to the United States or Europe, or even the United
States or Europe to Canada. How could anyone prefer any one to the other? The
civilization is strong, diverse, at the peak of its creative power, and Canada is at
the very centre of it, distinct and yet integrated, and thriving.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Mark Gregson wrote:
> I had a good Thanksgiving Day yesterday. I feel very grateful for this land of
>freedom and plenty I enjoy. I am grateful for my family and all the experiences it
>brings; the joys, the education, the strivings, the prayers, the opportunities, the
> Elder Haight said in the recent conference:
> "It's so easy in life for us to receive blessings, many of them almost uncounted,
>and have things happen in our lives that can help change our lives, improve our
>lives, and bring the Spirit into our lives. But we sometimes take them for granted.
>How grateful we should be for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings
>into our hearts and souls. I would remind all of you that if we're ever going to show
>gratitude properly to our Heavenly Father, we should do it with all of our heart,
>might, mind, and strength?because it was He who gave us life and breath."
> ========= Mark Gregson [EMAIL PROTECTED] =========
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling
short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely;
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