Good Sunday Morning to you all, here on the eve of Christmas 2023. This is your secondary writer again, trying as best I can to sub in for the champ. She is well. I’m just trying to give her a bit of a break, after a very long spell of unremitting work.
Elizabeth and I were talking about themes for this message. We talked about Palestine, Sudan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Myanmar, about other wars, about climate emergencies and unmitigated corporate greed, about billionaires and tent encampments, about the perils for democracy and the dysfunction of our own Parliament. We wondered what sort of message could make sense these days, for a “holiday” season ostensibly about peace and goodwill for all.
Elizabeth is deeply religious. She is Christian in all the best senses of that word: peaceful, loving and charitable. Christmas and Easter are central feasts–sustaining celebrations affirming the highest tenets of her faith. This Christmas is difficult. To bring a spirit of joy to day-to-day affairs right now requires a certain suspension of disbelief, an ability to not see what is abundantly visible. Elizabeth is not good at that—she sees many things more clearly than many of us, and she is unable to tell untruths. So these are hard times. Singing “Joy to the World” is a plaintive cry as much as it is a celebratory carol.
I’m not tied to a particular faith. It seems to me that all the great teachings, all the deeply held beliefs of people all over the world, all have the same central message: love, lovingkindness, and compassion. These are our deepest needs, and our greatest strengths. When we abandon them, when we see them abandoned by others, when we allow ourselves to be taken over by dissonance, by anger and conflict, we suffer. As we suffer now.
What can we do? How can we celebrate our blessed existence here in our beloved country as we watch autocrats and demagogues rise to power? How can we walk down a street of brightly lit shops full of expensive gifts, past panhandlers and homeless people? How can we wrap presents for those we love when we know how many others are so deeply troubled, at home in our own communities and all over the world? How can we see anticipation in the glowing faces of little kids with pure love and without cynicism? How can we possibly keep our faith in optimism as a guiding principle?
Because we must, you know. We must keep our faith in optimism. We must celebrate the little victories, the incremental improvements, the indications that all is not lost. When all the nations of the world at last agree that fossil fuels have to go, we can cheer. When the oil cartels are unable to raise prices, we can do a little dance in anticipation of the day when they just won’t matter. When young people engage and resist, we can join with them. When little pretend demagogues like our trumped-up opposition leader try to harness petty anger as a motivating force for political choice, we can laugh. When it seems that human progress has come to an end, that liberty, that freedom from fear and poverty and exploitation are no longer possible, we can insist that yes indeed they are not only possible but they are inevitable, and that in time the resistance of the greedy and the self-satisfied will be swept away.
All the while we still need to be loud and proud in calling for change, to be resilient when we are set back, to keep on keeping on, and to never ever ever give up. We will not live comfortably in a society where some make millions and own billions while other have not enough to eat, where ridiculously rich people spend tens of millions on yachts and hundreds of thousands on paint jobs for cars while other sleep in tents in the rain, where men continue to prey on women and girls, where smugglers cheerfully drown desperate refugees and migrants from climate disasters, where addicts are created and victimized both by criminal poisoners and by legal drug purveyors, where governments continue to kowtow to the desire for more profit by companies that are knowingly killing the world, where rights of the people who have always lived on these lands are ridden over with “consultation” but without consent, where people “earn” $700 million dollars for “playing” baseball while full-time workers need food banks for sustenance, where . . . The list does go on. The work does not stop.
Optimism is not an excuse not to do that work. It’s the reason to keep on doing it. Take heart from the recent meeting of all the countries of the world and their agreement, consensus from every nation, that the age of fossil fuels is soon to be over. Take courage from the extraordinary and bit-by-bit successful work done to fight the continuing despoilation of the world’s atmosphere, land and oceans. Support the women and men all over the earth calling out sexual exploitation. Recognize the ever-growing number of people in our communities and everywhere else who are disgusted by and will no longer tolerate the lack of basic ethics that celebrates greed. Revolution takes many forms. Engage with whomever it is, wherever they are, that are doing the work that particularly calls to you. Optimism is a necessary condition for progress. Keep your heart full and willing, dive in, chip in, kick in whenever and wherever you can.
Here on Christmas Eve 2023, I hope you will be able to join with and help sustain Elizabeth’s undefeatable optimism. Let’s celebrate our families, our love for each other, our tremendous good fortune in living here of all places on the planet, and our ability to make change. Let’s call for ceasefires, for aid to the poor and the homeless, for the survival of all species, for basic equity across the globe. They’re all possible, they can all happen. But they will happen if and only if people like you and me and our much-loved Elizabeth keep on keeping on.
Elizabeth will write again for New Year’s Eve. ‘Til then, keep whatever faith it is that keeps you going, and keep loving each other and all the others around the world who so need your love.
May we be filled with lovingkindness
May we be well
May we be peaceful and at ease
May we be happy
Many thanks to my dear husband for offering to write my weekly letter. I am quite humbled by his words. It is such an amazing thing to me to be, for the first time in my life, happily married. So while, as John writes, these are hard times to call out “Happy” anything!…For all of us, there are blessings to be counted and kindnesses to be shared.
I did want to share one of those victories to be celebrated. My very dear and brave friend, Rainbow Eyes, sent me this news a few days ago:
“The Fairy Creek 15 has been going surprisingly well 🙏🏽 Our last day in court was a winwin with dear Justice Thompson ✨️ Me & Glenn had a default judgement for our tardy response to the 10 million dollar lawsuit as we are figuring out our legal representation. It was stipulated that to drop the charges we would EACH have to pay $5000 for Teal Jones’ legal costs. We were ready & sweating bullets imagining paying Teal Jones ANYTHING. Justice Thompson ruled in our favor for both…dropping default judgement as well as no payment…he also gave their slick, city lawyer a slap on the wrist for going around his back for the default judgement to begin with! They went to a legal clerk instead.
“Happy Holidays!!! 🎄 Enjoy your Christmas train ride! Also…my Aunty volunteers for the Salvation Army kettles every year in Campbell River. We saw her just last night singing carols too 🥰
So much Love to you both 💕
Forgive me for asking again… I am making as many telephone calls as I can to ask for end of year donations to the Green Party of Canada. I am very very grateful to all of you who manage donations through the year, our wonderful monthly donors, and those who “top up” at the last minute to get the maximum 2023 tax refund! Please help us start the new year in the black.
Thank you all so very much!
Much love to you and may the love that lights the true meaning of the season be with you and lighten the load as we welcome a new year. And please let peace ring out across all the world!