“United we stand, divided we fall” is a well-known quote. Originally attributed to Aesop, a 6th Century Greek storyteller, it reportedly first appears in his fable The Four Oxen and The Lion. A lion used to prowl about a field in which four oxen dwelled. Many a time he tried to attack them, but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another so whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling [sic] among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in the separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.
Politicians and the media love a fight. There is no better news story than an issue clearly split down the middle. This enables the reader to counter the emotionally charged views of one side with an emotionally charged opposite while the media claims fairness and balance. Society is drawn into the vortex, where the vitriol is absorbed and spread. I value good journalism. Currently, 24/7/365 news cycles inundate us with content created to solicit emotional responses instead of providing objective reporting. In addition, misleading headlines create enticing clickbait.
A Lesson to Learn
Why does society persist in repeating their mistakes? Why would we want to? George Bernard Shaw wrote, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience.”
Stepping back from manufactured political angst, I choose to focus on the privilege it is to live in Canada. In the 2019 Best Countries Ranking, Canada is #1 for Quality of Living and #3 Overall out of 80 countries. The Quality of Life sub-ranking is based on an equally weighted average on the following attributes:
- a good job market
- economic stability
- family friendly
- income equality
- politically stability
- a well-developed public education system and
- a well-developed public health system.
Additionally, in the 2019 Crime Index of 117 countries, Numbeo ranks the United States at 45 while Canada falls significantly lower at 74. Additional proof, we are not the same. Furthermore, based on data from Trading Economics, Canadians have a lower personal tax rate with better health coverage. Here are a few Personal Tax Rates in the G20 as of December 2018:
- Japan – 55.95%
- Australia – 45%
- Switzerland – 40%
- United States – 37%
- Mexico – 35%
- Canada – 33%
An Opportunity to Stand United
Yes, there is always room for improvement. Perhaps, rather than repeating and bringing home problems currently facing other countries (ie. the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain), we focus on strengthening Canadians values. We work on building on our strengths of inclusion, cultural diversity and innovation.
The ability to deepen discussions and understanding of complex constructs enables us to grow as a society. It takes us past emotional reactions to informed decisions. Do not confuse reality with a perception of reality.
It is time to see the bigger picture and realize Alberta is facing problems with deep roots in a global industry. American money funded development knowing Alberta is a landlocked province. Believing and proposing Alberta separate to wield more power in this situation lacks awareness of all that is at play. It is an emotional fight ploy used by both politicians and media to sell their story falling short of transparency and information. Additionally, it is important to know that international law decrees a province cannot issue a unilateral declaration of independence unless that province is a colony or basic rights and personal freedoms are being systematically violated.
Like those who vote for tax cuts while demanding increased government spending and balanced budgets, a vote in favour of something doesn’t mean it’s possible. The problem is when politicians pick sides and gather around the polar ends of any debate — even when the debate is an unhelpful construct — the middle, where compromises and wise economic solutions are usually found, becomes empty and citizens suffer.
Instead, imagine a world where people express their opinions civilly and listen to the thoughts of others with open minds. A place where people dig deeper to discover the bigger picture instead of being emotionally swayed by carefully constructed hyperbole.
Canada – a place where we stand united for the good of all.
As a leadership & community advocate, Marcy works with organizations & businesses to aid growth and development. An entrepreneur, leadership coach, communication and marketing consultant, Marcy is currently working on her first book Move That Mountain: 5 Ways Women in Leadership are Creating Change.