Decency is all around us

In light of what is going on in the world, I have the distinct urge to crawl under the bed and live out my life oblivious to mass shootings, animal cruelty, voters who have forgotten the children, and governments that have misplaced their humanity.
But if I am under the bed, then I become part of the problem rather than a participant in the solution.
When I hear the endless “bad” news on the radio, on television, and in newspapers, I first cringe and wince and try to block out the sound, then ready myself to run for cover.
But what I really need to do is to challenge myself to consider what I can do about the particular situation. Sometimes the answer is a simple one while other times I’m just too far removed from the crisis.
Then I must try to look at my own corner of the world and see if I can find something that helps me feel better, feel more hopeful, feel like I’m taking action.
The list of worries that requires our attention and action is a very long one, and it’s not hard to feel overwhelmed. But on any given day, I can take steps, baby steps at times, to strive for betterment.
I can make a list of what wounds me; what jabs at my sense of decency and humanity. I can’t alter the fact that athletes get paid ridiculous sums of money in the name of entertainment yet ticket prices are too high for the average family to attend.
But I can stop watching.
I can’t stop the airing of reality shows that reveal the very worst in society, but I can choose not to tune in. I can’t stop world poverty, but I can ensure that I look directly in the face of those who are homeless and extend my respect and offer them what I can share.
There really is no limit to what I can do as opposed to crawling under the bed.
I tried to watch the undercover video of the animal abuse at the Chilliwack Cattle Company dairy farm in B.C. I couldn’t; it was too horrific.
I wanted these young men hung from chains and beaten the way they beat those cows—until I realized the horror of my own reaction. Just as poverty begets poverty, so, too, abuse feeds abuse.
I could fly to Chilliwack and march up and down in front of the farm with a placard. I could block the milk truck from picking up the milk, but then these poor cows bred to produce ridiculous amounts of milk would suffer additional hardship.
I can stop eating dairy products or all animals products, and then I am assured I’m not participating in factory farming on any level. But I grew up a farmer and it was all I really wanted to do with my life.
Caring for animals and working with them was a privilege of the highest order for me. So instead, I shall seek out producers that treat their animals with respect and kindness, and whose top concern is the comfort of the animals.
That is where my dollars for food will go.
The milk marketing system prevents me from targeting specific producers, however I can write letters. I can demand that the Dairy Farmers of Canada implement and enforce proper codes of behaviour for animal treatment and welfare.
And I can write to express my concerns that those individuals fired from Chilliwack Cattle Company are charged and are obligated to attend counselling for retraining on the treatment of animals.
It is dizzying the amount of cruelty that is hurled about us every day, but we also can pause and shine the light on those circumstances where people are doing the right thing—one child at a time, one dog, one lawn, one tree.
Decency is quieter, seems to get less attention with the media, but it’s all around us.
Let’s find it and celebrate—and arm ourselves with hope as we try to leave a better legacy for our children and grandchildren.
wendistewart@live.ca

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