Regular followers of my writing will know the last free e-book I tossed up centered on reflections around the Good Samaritan parable from the Christian Gospels. The ethos of the story is simple, a question given to reflect on: Who is My Neighbour?
In the early 1900’s it led J.S. Woodsworth who was superintendent of the Winnipeg Shelter to reflect on this, as his shelter aided immigrant and refugee resettlement into the Canadian prairies. It was the question that led to decisions to march in the General Strike and go to jail.
Now it is time to raise this question as a nation again. For one drowned Syrian boy has sparked outrage in the world about the refugee crisis in Syria. In contemporary/modern western world fashion it is not about vision and answering the call of our shared humanity, it is about managing the spin, the “economic and political cost”; what is the numbers game we should play. In some circles it is creating the divisive debate of whose taxes will pay? It is about choosing between refugees and our current Canadians living in poverty and without homes of their own.
But what if this ancient story held a deeper truth for us in building our national and local communities. Who is my neighbour? Go and do likewise… Provide aid, provide shelter, provide H-O-M-E. Cross international borders, drop stereotypes, and see that at our core we are a shared humanity. Quit stating the issue as helping our own first, and then possibly the other later. It is not that type of issue, or that type of answer.
Help both, nay, help all in need to have a home, and an ability to grow into a new hope, a new community, because of a simple principle of love in this global family.
The question for us as politicians avoid our door steps, a try to duck questions at debates, are we willing to hold the candidates to account to a higher level of dialogue, a higher level of vision…how are they going to build a New Canada where we do not FEAR but WELCOME the strangers at our shores? Where the neighbour in our community is helped before they lose hope and home?
What is the Liberal? Green? NDP? Conservative? Add your own political colour of the rainbow true vision for building a nation that will leave the world in awe for its wonder, inclusion, kindness, empathy, love and beauty? As Tommy Douglas once said, “dream no little dreams” Let us raise the level of debate in our great nation from one of management to one of vision and accountability as citizens of our city, province, country and world.