There comes a time in life when we must set aside the distractions we love; entertainment, food, drink, sociability, travel and consider the serious challenge of living in a Democracy. The pressures of the modern world demand, if we want to maintain our values and our culture, that we face this solemn duty, which by its very nature is relentless.
For the last sixty years people of western countries have lived the life of a postgraduate; travel, adventure, exploration, and money. Always very content with what was happening back ‘home’. We have returned ‘home’ to a very different and dangerous world. Now we must pick up our books – go back to study, research and participate in the relentless work of maintaining our Democracy. We must face the daunting task of creating a new vision of Democracy, whose foundation is built on humanitarian values.
There is a tendency to turn away from this kind of task. It is difficult, at times frustrating, with no reward. Being a foot soldier for democracy is often that way – but there are moments of joy. Maybe you have voted to block a discriminatory resolution at the town council. The greatest joy comes when you create something; voting for a program that helps people in their daily lives, illness, homelessness, discrimination, education that teaches the skill of critical thinking.
The reason for my fascination with the word relentless is because I have lived with it since birth. Clubfeet, Spina Bifida, heart disease, kidney disease. There has been no escape. My problem is ‘built in’ – and in a strange way relates to the relentless and never ending struggle to maintain and grow our Democracy.
Maintain and grow, has been my personal motto. Now in my eighty sixth year I maintain my health (with my families help), and grow (my art). Creativity happens everywhere, not just in the art world. It happens in the kitchen, the shop, the office, and dwells in the uniqueness of every human being.
You don’t have to be a fiery activist to be a foot soldier in the Humanitarian movement. Do not become discouraged by by the relentless struggle to build a new Democracy. And when you tire of the struggle – go out and take it to the street. Give a friend a ride to work, bake a pie for your neighbour, hug someone.