What the world needs now is love and I don’t care if that’s cheesy

Recent community events highlight the need for compassion and understanding, here and across Canada

I’ve been thinking all week about what to write for my column. My thoughts had been on the Alberta budget that was set to come down on the 27, and I had been pondering what it is that Albertans truly want.

What came to mind was “stability.”

The UCP are making big changes, really fast, and there doesn’t seem to be any end to it. It could make even the staunchest Conservative supporter uneasy.

Change is scary.

For good or bad, the common thing people look for is stability. Even if things aren’t great, sometimes people prefer that to rapid progress, as it can leave one feeling like they’re on a roller coaster, without a chance to catch their breath, or even ascertain if they’re up or down.

The NDP may have funded education and health care well, but they did it by piling up the debt. They also passed policies that hurt the energy sector, and some might say even systematically dismantled it without a care to the damage it was doing, in their rush to diversify and “go green.”

That wasn’t stability, but the UCP’s controversial cuts, that perhaps take time and effort to understand or accept, don’t really feel any better.

Where is the common ground, the sense of stability Albertans are craving?

On Friday, Feb. 28, I spent most of the day working on two developing stories. Staring at 7 a.m., I was receiving messages about racist videos circulating online. Watching them made me feel sick to my stomach because of the amount of hateful words and vulgarity in them.

There may be more to the story, but the videos themselves are gut-churning.

Then I was doing interviews for a story on the provincial budget that just came down.

Just take one part of the budget, doctor’s compensation, and you have two sides with two very different perspectives on the same issue, with an apparent chasm between them.

It hasn’t been reported (as far as I know) why the government terminated negotiations with the doctors. Were the doctors unwilling to listen, or the government unwilling to bend? Maybe both. It certainly doesn’t smack of cooperation and seeking to understand.

These are issues having a huge impact on our community right now, here at home.

Then, taking a broader look, I could easily name several disastrous events happening in our world right now off the top of my head. There’s the blockades, the coronavirus, the polarizing topic of climate change, and the list could go on.

Greta Thunberg may be a symbol for anti-energy in the eyes of some as she advocates for climate change action. But she is also a child, and no child deserves to be made the brunt of a sexually exploitative joke, such as the nasty decal made of her.

You may disagree with the protesters blocking the railways in different places across the country, but those calling for them to be simply run over is shameful. The literal meaning of your words is to condone murder.

These are certainly troubled times. As I contemplated all of that, a new word came into mind, along with the lyrics of an old song:

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of,

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,

No not just for some but for everyone.

That song, sung by Jackie DeShannon, “What the World Needs Now,” was released in 1965. It would seem that sentiment is as true today, or even more so, than it was then.

Alberta could use a sense of stability, for sure, but it could also use a heavy dose of love for one’s fellow man.

I know that may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Think about how many issues could be resolved with more caring and dignity if people on opposing sides sought to yes, care about the other’s perspective and seek to understand it, but even further than that, seek to care about them.

Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Craig Makinaw’s statement Feb. 28 was beautiful. It asserted that although painful, this incident won’t break the community, because they are strong and have endured worse, and at the same time called for compassion and urged members not to retaliate.

What a strong example to set.

Compassion, understanding, seeking common ground — that is what the world needs. If you’d like, call it “love,” but the key part, as the song says is “not just for some but for everyone.”

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