The celebration’s on

Post 28/2021 Wednesday 30 June . . . Here we are. To our north, people will celebrate Canada Day, July 1. In the US, people will celebrate Independence Day, July 4. The days are marked by fireworks, flags, cookouts, camping and more, each nation pausing to look inward, outward, onward, and, I trust, upward.

Let’s take a brief look at the distinct slogan that marked each country’s formation.

Canada’s Constitution Act, 1867, outlined the legislative powers of the federal government as “peace, order and good government / paix, ordre et bon gouvernment.” My high school history teacher, time and time again, noted that such a broad, if fitting, definition left questions unanswered between the Canadian Parliament’s lawmaking authority and the powers reserved for provincial governments. Over time the provinces secured more powers than expected, though the country’s motto shapes its unity, “From Sea to Sea.”

The US Declaration of Independence posits government’s role as legislating for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Greater powers were intended for state governments, my teacher said, though over time the federal government gained greater sway, even as states retain a good share of local autonomy.

That’s it. A history lesson in three paragraphs, even if woefully incomplete. I think one practice for politicians during these national celebrations would be to go teeter-tottering. What better symbol to mark good faith efforts to celebrate past, present and future than riding a seesaw? I said, teeter-totter, seesaw, an engagement of two people, not a host of people clamoring for a place on the merry-go-round to push for a soundbite on the evening news.

Pictures at midpoint 2021

Bless our People

Teach us to work for the welfare of all,
To diminish the evils that beset us
And to enlarge our nation's virtues.

Bless our people with civic courage.

Bless our striving to make real the dream of your kingdom, when we
shall put an end to the suffering we now inflict upon each other.

Bless our people with a vision of your kingdom on earth.

For you have endowed us with noble powers;
help us to use them wisely
and with compassion.

Bless our people with a wise and feeling heart.

You have given us freedom to choose between good and evil,
life and death.
May we choose life and good, 
that our children may inherit from us the blessings of
dignity and freedom,
prosperity and peace.

A Jewish Blessing, from 600 Blessings and Prayers from around the world, complied by Geoffrey Duncan, (Twenty-Third Publications, 2002)

Happy celebrating!

-John

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