By Medicine Hat News Opinon on March 15, 2017.
“Beware the Ides of March” was the message from the famous Roman soothsayer which was completely ignored by Julius Caesar when he stepped onto the Senate house floor on March 15, 44 B.C., and then onward into infamy and posterity. It occurs to the modern-day reader that maybe the warning is still relevant, albeit in a somewhat less directly murderous context than in Caesar’s time.
What our leaders face now isn’t the long knives of assassins, but rather a rising tide of bigotry, hatred and intolerance.
Around the world, the pendulum swings back toward the fascism which marked the earlier part of the 20th century, and which only the Second World War could exorcise. There are various reasons for the rise of these forces, but the main driver is always economics.
Let’s face it, it does not take much of a push to spark an individual’s feelings of disenfranchisement, jealousy or hatred. The seeds of such are within all of us, but it takes a cancerous set of conditions to give water and sunlight to those seeds to grow them into more hateful fruits, where every evil becomes possible and permissible.
When a person is not making enough to get by, or is suffering economic trials, those seeds can grow quite quickly. And where ignorance exists on top of these trials, atrocity is not far behind.
A storm is coming to the world, the likes of which we have not seen in several generations. Now is the time of preparation, self-examination and pre-emptive actions. It is the time to speak up for the world we want — one of inclusiveness, tolerance and respect. As the fifth verse of John says, from the beginning there has been a divine light in the world; it is this light which “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.” That divine fire may never be able to burn out entirely, but there have been times in the history of the world where it has burned down to single ember, leaving those of good heart and will to huddle closely together around the diminishing flame.
Let’s hope we never reach that point. But just as the old soothsayer cried out over two millennia ago, and what must still be heeded today, Beware the Ides of March.
(Tim Kalinowski is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to http://www.medicinehatnews.com/opinions.)
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