Responsibility is the other side of privilege ...

Responsibility is the other side of privilege …

According to Archie Bunker, of All in the Family TV fame, the Canadian woods are full of Mo this time of year. They’re the critter, he told daughter Gloria, from which they get hair for his Mo-hair jacket.

Well now, I don’t know about Mos, but the fireweed seeds are floating in the wind; robins, juncos, pine-siskins and other birds are feeding on berries; floatplanes are flying hither and yon; moose and hunters are gathering in the valleys, while our federal politicians appear bent on sending us flocking to the polls like the gaggles of ducks and geese gathering to head south. Such foolhardiness during a depression, I suggest, puts them, and their heads, in the same ball park as Archie and his Mos: where else but La-La Land.

“This is getting vulgarious,” another Archie-ism, is right on too, especially when our federal political party leaders keep telling us all these current electoral machinations and manipulations are for us, for the public good, as they love to spout. Whereas we know darn well Archie’s assessment is closer to the mark: “As political shepherds they may be smilin’ on us sheeps, but we still wind up as lamb chops!” And hooray, hooray, we’ll even get to pay millions for all the election pork chops, and then put a few more millions into their political war chests when the counting is done. But hey, is there anything, or anyone we taxpayers aren’t on the hook for these days?

Perhaps it’s game playing, but I’ve used the D-word because I’ve heard it slipped into the national conversation lately, as if they’re getting us ready for a surprise. So it seems reasonable to get ahead of the curve and reflect on that time, and the people, with an encore printing of the $6 story from Barry Broadfoot’s fascinating book Ten Lost Years, which is filled with personal family stories about the 1930s Depression. Stories which stick in your heart like a two-bit steak sticks in your stomach.

“My mother,” wrote her son, “was a widow and she shipped a steer, a big prime steer, from Saskatchewan to Winnipeg stockyards because they told her she’d get a better price. But with the prices then, and the weight loss, and the trucker costs and the selling commission and what have you?

“She got a letter back from the agent saying she owed them $6. Without a word of a lie.”

“She was a proud woman and paid her debt and she really rustled for the six dollars, but she sent it off, and when the receipt came she had it framed and it hung on the wall of our parlour until she died and we sold the house.

“Pretty good one, eh?”

There are those among today’s elite who would brand her a peasant woman, those CEOs for example, who flew in from their mansions, hat in hand, begging, and they may be right. They would also be right if they branded her a woman you could trust with your life. A woman of integrity and as honest as the day is long – a Yukon summer day.

It isn’t people like this unnamed Canadian mother we find wanting today, is it?

So, who is listening besides our friendly neighbourhood donkey?

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