A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
‘Never set yourself on fire to keep others warm.’
That clever bit of wisdom is written on a rock along the trail where I often walk. There are dozens of sayings strewn along the way, some are kind of funny, some a little sad, and some are profound. I’m not sure what this one is at the moment. I will pour myself a wee dram of The Balvenie 12 year DoubleWood scotch and think about it for a while, possible an hour, or until I fall down.
I looked up the saying on the Internet, the actual saying is ‘You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm’ and the author is Penny Reid. Penny has written dozens of e-books, all filled with brilliant observations about life, love and some other stuff no doubt. ‘Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it but only you can feel it’ is another.(Unless she is sitting on your knee when she pees them – now that’s my brilliant observation.)
My favourite (if John, my esteemed editor, will let me use it) is ‘You make me want to be less of a butthole.’ (minor adjustment, Ed.) Hopefully we all know one or two people that make us feel that way. Some of us are lucky enough to know dozens. Unfortunately I became one anyway.
Let’s go back to the rock on the side of the trail, ‘Never set yourself on fire to keep others warm’ for a moment.
Now I know this is stretching it quite a bit but isn’t that what Trump’s loyal, but brainless followers, are doing? They are going to his rallies without wearing a mask and without social distancing to show support of an obviously deranged self-proclaimed ‘very stable genius’ thereby risking the health and possibly their own lives and those of their families and friends just to make him look like he knows what he is doing? Oh, and don’t forget your red hat.
Several years ago, Ken Koyama, the Publisher of the Packet, told me he could get me into a lot more papers if I would write about politics. I could keep the humour in, but use it to attack or praise the politicians of the day. As you can imagine the attacking part would be easy, but finding something to praise would be a little bit more difficult and would require hours of searching through the news and probably several gallons of intoxicants. (I just realized that this is the first time in 83 years that I have used the word intoxicants and probably never will again)
I rarely wrote about politics over the 25 years of weekly columns, oh a few shots at Mike Harris and later on Stephan Harper but not all that often. Lately, however, the shameful goings on in our neighbour to the South has totally dominated the news, running neck and neck with the COVID 19 pandemic and I have to say something.
History will not be kind to the United States. All great nations that ruled the world for a century or two eventually fell by the wayside and their demise was almost always caused by political struggles and failures from inside their own borders. It is happening right now across the border.
The U.S. has always considered itself the bastion of western democracy. No, my American friends you are not, and you are our friends, although sometimes we wonder. You have lost your way. The two party system that totally dominates your political thinking has turned into two bitter enemy camps, each hell-bent to destroy the other and there are days when I wonder if we are not following in their footsteps. I suspect that a large slash of the voting public has no idea what each party stands for and that goes for Canada too.
We are just three days away from a pivotal election in the United States. I don’t ever remember an election so filled with bitterness when millions will throw logic out the window and vote for whatever party their parents, grandparents, all the way back to the birth of the political party system. As of a few days ago 47 percent of the citizens want the government to dump the Electoral College system of appointing the president and award the position to the one who garnered the most votes, but they won’t do that. That would make sense, and when did Americans ever do that when politics was involved?