We are watching the news – the twitters of BreakingNews, CNN, CBC, CTV, Rueters, AP, BBC and so on. The stories, the photos the video – all streaming to us despite the fact that the Egyptian government has shut down the internet behind their borders. I saw a tweet this afternoon. It read: “If your government shuts down the internet, shut down the government.”
There has always been power in the hands of the masses – it exists today in every country. In some countries fear of reprisal keeps citizens quiet. Speak up and you could be thrown in prison, have your house burnt to the ground or worse disappear never to be seen or heard from again. In spite of those fears time and a belief that death is better than suppression causes the masses to gather together and rise up. We’ve seen it dozens of times – the Berlin Wall comes tumbling down. Courage rules for courage is not the absence of fear but rather the admission that fear cannot rule.
In other countries it isn’t fear that keeps the masses from exercising power. Quite the opposite it is apathy. A common disregard for the power of the vote. Why vote, some say, it won’t change anything. Just like the frog that is boiled by starting him in cold water and slowly turning up the heat democracy somethimes keeps citizens from believing that anything is at stake.
Today Egyptians are exercising their power. The crumbling pyramids are a good symbol for government – as impressive as they seem they won’t last forever.
In Alberta the Premier has declared he won’t be running in another election – and warned that US style attack ads are making their way to Canada. They have been here for some time. The PC party has used them effectively to win elections – with minority power – but effectively enough to stay in power for 5 years now. The Liberals are crying fowl and pointing with some sense of indignation at the PC party over such vile tactics…but who remembers the attack ads of the Liberal party pointing to a rising power in the west – the Reform Party warning the citizens of Canada that voting for such a right wing party was like handing the reigns of power over to a white-supremists terrorists. Preston Manning was painted as a “scary leader”.
US style hate politics are well entrenched in Canada Mr. Stelmach. But I understand what you’re saying. The power for good government and good manners in politics still rests with the citizens of Alberta. Will we exercise that power? If we did we would not support parties or candidates that used such tactics.
This evening I sit in a warm home with a fire burning gently and music playing gently in the background. No fear of riots or protests. No fear of oppressive government. The threat to our way of life is much more subtle. We are comfortable – not really aware of the growing need to be engaged in our world, especially as Christians.
“He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” – Luke 20:25