It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.”

                                 –Arthur C. Clarke.

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My son Will was touring around London, England last week and sauntered into massive Hyde Park and its famous “Speakers’ Corner” where a balding, middle-aged gent raised his finger pointedly to extol on the subject of the day.

Speakers’ Corner is the site of the everyday person’s soapbox- a place to speak your personal beliefs to an assemblage and for sharing of ideas and debate. And given the sometimes…shall we say… quirky views of certain speakers, it could double as the site of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest“!

So today, just a few days after Remembrance Day in Canada and reflecting on wars and the state of humanity, I’d like to clamber up on my virtual World Wide Web soapbox and expound for a few minutes on a subject dear to my heart. I feel a little like Linus strutting to centre stage in Charlie Brown’s Christmas to recite the meaning of Christmas…please feel free to shout me down off my pedestal if you disagree, or give me a big High 5 if you’re approving of my message.

Hem, hem, hem…

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen… Well, maybe I’m just being overly sensitive, but I feel like I’m hearing a lot of insular nationalist-type talk by those around me and in the press.

The 100-mile diet and discussions about keeping jobs at home  (personally, I should probably be on the 100-calorie diet, and I love the concept of working FROM home, two ideas that come into massive and messy conflict while working at a home office desk only 100 feet removed from the refrigerator) are a couple of examples of the stuff I’m talking about here.

What I hear when I encounter these sorts of statements is… FEAR! And it’s not groundless fear, not the “all we have to fear is fear itself” sort of stuff, but fear nonetheless.

People feel a threat to their security, their lives, and their livelihoods. I understand this. The world is a competitive place that can be scary. Canadians and other Westerners are feeling the imposing threat of corporations with deep pockets and citizens of many other countries who are willing to work hard and save hard and sacrifice for themselves and their children.

Today, these “others” are living the life of sacrifice that Canadians lived 100 years ago that allowed us to later become the envy of all. We now live the life of kings and queens. Our royal lifestyle came at a price of hard-work and innovation and risk and investment, and… I hesitate to add, good government too. Now that we have all of this, we understandably want to keep it.

But I don’t believe in beggaring our worldly neighbours to allow us to continue to live in this regal style. I want both us AND our fellow global citizens to live a wonderful, rich life. Fairness demands this. How can we say otherwise?

I don’t want us to just GIVE everyone a wealthy livelihood. It should and must be earned, just as our retention of this lifestyle should continue to be earned.

The 100-mile diet has some validity if you are looking at it from an environmental perspective…less carbon fuels for transport goes the argument. I want to guard the environment too. But there are many who see it differently– It’s about US versus THEM. Save our jobs so THEY can’t take them. “I Object”, I say to the judge.

THEY are US, WE are THEM.

Beggar thy neighbour is not in my principles’ code.

When talking about nationalism, you really can’t avoid the words of George Orwell, who said that nationalism is ‘the worst enemy of peace’. According to him, nationalism is a feeling that one’s country is superior to another. With the amazing connectedness in today’s world, we need to migrate ourselves from a view of Nationalism to a view of Globalism. I’m from Canada, but I am a Global Citizen. My neighbour in Mexico growing grape tomatoes is equal to my neighbour across the lake growing wine grapes.

If a farmer in Peru is willing to work hard for a small paycheque in order to provide me with some wonderful, ripe fruit or vegetable at a price that is attractive to me, then he/she deserves my dollar in order to enrich her pocket, as well as her family’s health and education. Hopefully, one day, my dollars will afford her the opportunity to buy some automated equipment that will make her more productive and earn even more of my dollars. Why should he/she live a life of poverty so that my neighbours and I can wallow in relative wealth?

Millions and millions of Chinese citizens have and are working in sweat-shop conditions making items for my consumption. Do I feel good about this?…NOPE. But I also know that millions and millions are scrounging their way bit-by-bit into the middle class. I know that Asian factories and corporations are being shut down until pay increases come the way of the worker. And if this means I pay 20 cents more for a T-shirt at Wal Mart, then so be it.

Sew a pair of pants here, so they can’t sew a pair of pants there. We’re beyond this. There are lots of jobs available here now and for years to come so long as we make ourselves a smart society, either from advanced entrepreneurialism, advanced education, or advanced training. Our destiny and good fortune relies on making something better of ourselves, not taking something away from others.

We’re all world citizens…could we start acting like we all are deserving of a piece of the pie?

The great thing about travelling outside our own country is meeting people from different countries, different skin colours, different languages and realizing we’re all individuals with hopes and fears and desires for ourselves and our children…we have so much in common, despite our differences.

I am a World Citizen, not just a Canadian!

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The year is 2030 and the din in the stadium is deafening.

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The World Cup soccer (football) final game made up of a mixed-nationality team playing out of  Honduras and another mixed-nationality team playing out of Azerbaijan is about to get underway — the best players from any city, any country, any continent, are lined up at centre field for the starting kick.

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A tumultuous cheer swells and reverberates in a wave around the stadium…

“GO WORLD”

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