It has been a month of dramatic and abrupt change in our world. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to grow on a global and North American scale. Systemic racism, which was brought to the forefront this spring and summer has had an effect on many nations beyond our expectations, including the heightened criticism of policing. Finally, in early November the American presidential election took place after months of bitter and divisive rhetoric. While it seems like every day we see or hear of a new crisis or event that has a negative effect on most of us, we did experience some positive change that certainly gives us all a ray of hope for the future.
The importance of an effective and affective style of leadership from the USA that demonstrates to the world what a democracy really means has been on display during the recent presidential campaign. As a Canadian and nearby neighbour, what happens in the U.S. almost always has a effect on Canada.
As I write this article the presidential election has just ended with the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who happened to have her teenage years living in Montreal, Canada. Please allow us in Canada to take some credit for influencing Kamala’s views about the common good for all humanity.
Let us not dwell on the past four years of government in the USA but rather look forward to a time of healing and systemic change with the sincere hope that these years ahead will restore the American style of respect for all, one of truly being about the common good of every citizen and human being.
These past few years have exposed the still lingering existence of the evils of systemic racism, as it had been very easy to look the other way and ignore the need for positive change. However, when we saw actions that have been open and welcoming towards racism it clearly shows us we must act now. This includes many nations around the world rather than only the USA.
There are still many institutions that display what white privilege means and how it still tends to make it more difficult for racialized people to have an equal opportunity to achieve the same success levels we all hope for. Why can’t people use their white privilege for positive systemic change? There is no reason why they can’t.
There have also been a number of instances where cities have found more buildings and room for homeless people during the pandemic. We see and hear of many ways individuals, companies and governments have taken emergency steps to help others during Covid 19. Why can’t these same actions be done with a more permanent and longer lasting effect?
November 15th is the World Day of the Poor. Let us all reflect on how we use this day as a new beginning, with the ray of hope we have been waiting for and forget our differences and come together as one family. This ray of hope can lead us to a rainbow of possibilities.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian Vincentian. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.