There’s a reason why the rearview mirror in vehicles is so much smaller in size than the front windshield.  The majority of our time is spent speeding forward so we need a large view, a big picture.  Whilst the times we use the review mirror is relatively few…and some might say that there are some drivers that never seem to use it.

Driving at a good speed in reverse is seldom done.  The view we find is narrow and often a bit distorted.  The rearview mirror makes us look through our own vehicles and all our stuff, or the passengers in the back seats, to the world outside.  Most accidents at low speed happen while drivers are reversing their cars.

It seems to me that drivers, institutions and even nations can get their views confused so that they act and behave as if they are looking through the rearview mirror.

It is all too easy to say this about politics –  that the juggernaut of a nation is barrelling down through history with a narrow, backwards and distorted view.  It can make for scary driving.  It makes for horrific living.  Yet I too am narrow.  Narrow in my views and spheres of interaction. I rarely get feedback from the various subscribers to my blog.  Most of them are likely ‘bots’ that just want me to click back to them to find some kind of marketing advertisement.

Equally, my computer keeps track of the websites I’ve visited and I surround myself in a bubble of like-minded folks.  It is uncomfortable to experience the other and to learn something about a person, a place, a people, that we might find ‘other-worldly’.  Despite this risk, many do make that leap and find that their perspective has changed.

Admittedly it is exhausting listening to angry, violent and abusive rhetoric yet the work of listening and seeking to understand is important.  How else can bridges of understanding be built? How else can we then understand that we are all riding in the same vehicle? Reconciliation is tough work, and our view points, opinions and perspectives need to be shared, as well as critically examined.


The Vote

Since living in Canada my wife has been ineligible to vote.  For a politically minded person this has definitely had its downside.  Today is the Federal Election in Canada and I will go out later today to vote.  In my riding area we have the Green Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Communist Party.  I’m not going to take the opportunity of blog space and lecture the few people who read this article about what party they should, or should not vote for, rather it is more of a reflection on my ability to vote.

In the past there has been typically (and sadly) very low voter turn out on election day.  In our corner of Canada early voting days made headlines with disgruntled citizens having to stand in a line up for up to an hour in order to cast their ballot.  Oh the horror.  It strikes me that many counties have people lining up to vote for days on end, waiting long hours in burning heat to cast a vote for a party that probably will never get elected due to corruption of a process.  Yet we refuse to wait an hour in line.

Voting has been the talk around our family table for the last couple weeks, as our children will be taking part in their own school ‘mock election’ for the riding where the school is situated.  The teachers at the school have done this before with mayoral elections and provincial elections as a way of education the children.  It is with keen interest that Hannah and Lucia debate different party platforms.  Anke and I have seen the girls shift from simply liking a leader because of the way they look, to getting into the meat of issues and values which are now making their decisions much more informed.

Soon our family situation in regards to eligibility to vote will shift so that once again Anke will be able to cast her ballot in Germany, whilst I will likely be the keen person interested in all the politics, but without the ability to vote.  However, I have heard that I may be able to vote for municipal elections in Germany.

We will wait to see what happens in this country…the breakfast table discussion should be colourful nonetheless, and we look forward to having future conversations, debates and talk about our personal values when in Germany.