I have been to Mexico, South Africa, British Guyana, Vietnam and Iceland for work and it has never failed to teach me something about how other people live.
My first trip was to industrial Central Mexico in my early thirties far away from the resorts where I met a seven year old boy who offered to clean my shoes. He was helping to support his family who lived in a tin shack not far away. Of course this was an up close eye-opener for me and those of us in Canada or the United States who don’t see themselves as fortunate clearly should.
We don’t really know what real poverty is like.
But today we are approaching a level of inequality that is becoming dangerous and with the ensuing dissatisfaction has come the radicalization which has bred a corresponding increase in militancy of right wing parties. One invariably feeds the other.
The other day I was listening to CBC radio and an American author (whose name currently escapes me) was talking about how the Democratic Party elite had abandoned working class Americans and in essence were creating a meritocracy where only the qualified class could rule. Obama and the Clintons went to Ivy League schools and were said to be promoting and protecting their own. But then this is the model the founding fathers set up and how the world has always worked since having everyone have an equal say would literally produce chaos. This is why true democracy can only work in theory.
The author was right in that the GOP saw this abandonment and capitalized by snapping up this same demographic who then helped make the candidacy of someone like Donald Trump possible.
But if a better balance is to return to the United States and to world we must at least mitigate the great disparity that exists between rich and poor because failure to do so will only exacerbate what we are seeing today.
Our world works like a series of dominoes where very action has a corresponding reaction. The problem is that we work on the short term vision principle which doesn’t see the forest for the trees; something which is pivotal if we are to learn from history.
When viewed from that perspective, it is clear we have very much to repair.