Friday, November 19, 2010

Mourning Ken Brown, the resurgence of the Republicans and Toronto's new mayor, Rob Ford

I've been away, watching and praying and lighting candles for the sick and dying, and mourning the dead. That 'away' refers not just to the blog, but actually being away from home in the case of one person, my daughter's father-in-law, a distinguished, inspired, remarkable, funny, devoted, tireless father, mentor, teacher, philosopher and peacemaker named Ken Brown. He taught at Manchester College, a Brethren institution in North Manchester, Indiana, USA, for some three decades, and, as was evident in the memorial service held there for him on November 13th that we attended, influenced the lives of many people and motivated numberless students to work for peace, social justice and a better, more equitable, more decent, peaceful world.

We saw family and friends we hadn't seen for a while, met some of Ken's students and colleagues, and spoke to one or two at length. Here's a shout out to Matt Guynn, Laura Dell and Dillon Haro. Hail, and well met, and many thanks for great conversation.

Also mourning Barry Chevannes whom we have known for many years, and a classmate, Cenia (McGrath) Abrahams, a lovely woman whom I don't think I've seen since leaving high school, who died on 17th November. Condolences to the Chevannes family, and to Cenia's family and her sister, another good human being, also an Alpha Alumna,. Melba Moses.

May Cenia and Barry rest in peace.

Of course, perhaps God is calling these good people because they deserve better than to live in a world that's slipping further and further into greed, malevolence, spite, dishonesty, meanness of spirit and – well, pure hate. It's an open secret that many politicians make a habit of lying about facts, twisting the truth to suit their 'message,' and that, even when corrected, they persist in repeating the lie. It's an oft used Republican tactic and one also employed by the new mayor elect of Toronto, Rob Ford, in his recent campaign.

Nor do these folk care! Imagine my horror as I sat in the car driving back to the city from one of our recent visits to the US, and listened (Ha! Some welcome!) not to covert recordings, or su-su and hearsay, but to Rob Ford's campaign staff as they outlined on CBC RADIO the 'dirty tactics' they had used to dissuade John Tory from entering the mayoral campaign. They reported with great smugness that they had posted a video on YouTube impugning his integrity, and that one of their staff had made a phone call to Tory's radio program to do the same thing.

John Tory maintained it had made no difference to his decision about running for mayor, but the dirty-tricks Ford boys were gloating, and honestly, what else could Tory say? He probably convinced himself that it made no difference, but how could it not have affected his decision? Of course, he'd have been an excellent candidate, never mind his Conservative politics, and may very well have won.

Here's the rub: people who lie are liars, and liars are not bound by their word. so we'll look with interest at what eventuates, here in Toronto and in the great United States...

Saints, ancestors and people of good will, ora pro nobis!