“Aki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts”, (2006)
I am thinking, contemplating, meditating on what I observe in daily life in my community, in my country, on the media and on the internet, and one item repeatedly pops up: that by any current modern moral standard, probably something like 95% of the population could reasonably be classified as “good citizens”. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can and do only hurt one another by accident.
I have read somewhere or heard at a Justice Conference at one time that something over two million North Americans are victims of violent crimes every year. But there are almost 350 million folks living on our big North American continent, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime in our society is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year.
In fact it will probably come as a huge shock to most Canadians that Canada suffers more than three times the rate of violent crime per capita of the United States! YES! You Care Bear self righteous America haters … our Holy Nation of Canada and the WONDERFUL people living here are THREE times more violent per capita than our huge peaceful neighbour to the south. Maybe The Donald should seriously consider a wall along the northern U.S. border to protect peaceful American citizens from the violent northern barbarians. There is precedent, after all, seems some famous Roman did the same thing in Britain once upon a time.
In fact, (yes, little sister, facts are such a nuisance, eh) the Northwest Territories (pre-division) was the sexual assault capital of the planet or at least of all the nations reporting crime statistics (according to reliable statistics from the Canadian Center for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada in Ottawa).
YES! believe it or not, Canadians as a people are three times more violent than Americans and we have a special relationship with women here that no other country exhibits and which no one here in Canada seems to be able to acknowledge. Does the term “Holier Than Thou” come to mind?
Anyway, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, even in Canada, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million. So I don’t think the 95% estimate above is an unreasonable guesstimate (even in Canada) of the proportion of our population who would qualify as “good citizens”.
But the question remains, Does the state of being a “good citizen” equal the state of being a “good person”. Is a good citizen the same as a good soul? Are we “mostly” good citizens, but miss the mark of being good people? Do little sins really matter, after all I am really a “good person”?
I am reminded of the Biblical references to planks and splinters in folks eyes, and also a little of “By their works shall you know them”. It’s an uncomfortable place for an honest Canadian to have to acknowledge reality when the fantasy of the gentle Canadian is so much cozier. As long as we can stay in denial we don’t have to change the way we behave.
But what about the little sins? Do they have any affect on this disquieting reflection of a violent population of self-righteous hypocrites? Is there any relation between the ugly reflection in the mirror and the little things we do every day which we don’t see as problematic because we are really “good people”?
So, drawing on my own repertoire, how about some of these: procrastination, excessive self-interest, self-neglect, Treat Yourself – self-indulgence, gossip, judgement and suspicion, gloominess and griping, deliberate spite or passive aggression, clinging to our narrative, half-assing it, cheating, sins of omission, self-recrimination, and so many others which are only variations on this theme. Intimate acquaintance with all of these “quirks” almost lets them slip under the radar, especially if one concentrates on what we think of as “our good points”. None of the above “sins” really matter, “as long as I am a good person” Right?
If we were actually good persons then God would not have had to tell Moses that “No, we can’t just abandon our parents when they become old and feeble; no, we can’t just take what we want whenever we want to; no, we can’t just kill whomever we please whenever they piss us off; no, we can’t have indiscriminate sex all day long with whomever we please; no, we are not the centre of the universe and we can’t act that way … “. All these things used to be pretty obvious to most people and still we had to be told in no uncertain terms: “NO” just like little children.
The last 100 years offers plenty of evidence that we have forgotten or rejected the above “NO” points and are busily building a brave new world based on the exact opposite premises. So my view is that NO, we are not basically good persons. I am as certain of that little point as I am about the 95% number mentioned above. So we look into the mirror at our disguise, stare into the vacuum of our eyes, and say “Do ya wanna make a deal?”
We will pretend not to notice how we got wasted and hooked up – ’cause, after all, we didn’t murder anyone – OK, deal; we will pretend not to notice that we could be a lot more generous – ’cause, after all, we didn’t steal anything big – OK, deal; we will pretend not to notice when we lied and someone else had to carry the can alone for us – ’cause, after all, we didn’t beat our kids – OK deal; we will pretend that we don’t expect everlasting gratitude and loyalty from anyone we ever helped – ’cause, after all, we didn’t kick his dog – OK, deal; we will pretend we didn’t gossip about someone we did a good deed to – ’cause, after all, we’re entitled to gossip since we helped them – OK deal; we will pretend that we didn’t think about boffin’ that hot chick in the loose red blouse – ’cause, after all, we didn’t actually cheat on our wife – OK, deal. isn’t it always about “Let’s Make A Deal”? And after all, I am basically a good person … whatever that means …
I’d guess this is probably enough for now so I will think some more and say Good Night for now