Sunday, July 04, 2004


Here's a powerful passage I found in a column by Brian Brett on the website Dooney's Cafe. It was written in the expectation that the Conservatives would win last week's Canadian election, which they didn't, but his broader point still holds true.

"We are greedy creatures. Do we care about good government, or do we vote for lower taxes, more SUVs, and trips to Hawaii, and damn the consequences? The one with the most toys wins. We are witnessing the triumph of the ‘I’ over the ‘we.’ And we’re about to embark on a short-sighted celebration of our unseemly wealth at the expense of the planet’s future.

"Thirty-two years ago, when I was even dumber than I am now, I went on a hiking trip to Long Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We camped under a cliff on a beach. It was a beautiful spot, but dangerous. Wary that the incoming tide might cause trouble in the middle of the night we built huge bonfires in a line way out onto the beach, thinking that if they were doused by the tide, we would know how dangerous this world was becoming.

"Then we started drinking. As the fires went out, one by one, we became so intoxicated we started cheering, celebrating the extinguishing of each fire with another drink. Later, I woke up in my tent, half drunk and half hung-over, my feet wet and an egg and a loaf of bread floating past my head. We were in the middle of a west coast hurricane, the tide raging, our gear ruined. We struggled up the wind-blasted muddy cliff in the night, clinging to branches, fearing for our lives, cursing our idiocy.

"North American politics are not about hope for a better future anymore. They’re about ignoring consequences. And it’s becoming more and more evident that we are all sitting drunk on the last beach of a dying planet, cheering as the fires go out."

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