Every now and then, you find a jewel in the rough. Ms. Annie Munroe, a Neelin High School student whose article appeared in the Brandon Sun (March 4, 2013), is such a jewel.
In reference to the public conversation surrounding the Idle No More movement and the government’s omnibus bills (which precipitated the movement) Ms. Munroe writes “(W)hether those involved in the debate are in support of the movement or not, the positive outcome of the debate itself is the education it has afforded the general population. There is an abundance of information available to anyone willing to take the time to read the news and research the issue.”
These are insightful observations and thoughts which one would think, no, one should expect, would be the rules of behaviour of our leaders, our elders, ourselves in dealing with public issues. However, all too often, we find comfort in the certainty of our personal beliefs, opinions and interests.
We resort to ideologies, self-interest or simply the opinions and beliefs of significant others. We construct a view of life which does not allow for information, ideas, perspectives which differ from ours. A view of life that determines how issues will be defined and what solutions will be considered, and, which offers no room for considering that it may be our view of life that is the issue.
The challenge that Ms. Munroe has thrown out to us is to become informed on issues that matter to us. Not to become experts, just to become informed, so that we can challenge our own perspectives and ideas to determine their validity to ourselves and where appropriate make adjustments to our views.
It is in challenging ourselves that we can make meaningful contributions to public discussions on public issues. These contributions can take various forms, the most important of which may be to evaluate for ourselves the validity of ideas, perspectives, and so on, being promoted by politicians, associations, individuals. This does not necessarily mean being experts in any particular issue. Rather it means the capacity to recognize inconsistencies, mistruths, diversions which seem to pervade comments and discussions on public issues.
A gold medal to Ms. Munroe. A gold medal to the teachers in Neelin High School.
Rosemarie and Chester Letkeman
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 13, 2013