Editor's desk stock photo.

The Editor’s Desk: Time not well spent

If you had four years as the world’s most powerful person, what would you do to benefit others?

Most people who get into politics do so because they have plans and ideas that will (they hope) make things better.

For most politicians, this means making things better at their local level: municipal, provincial, state-wide. A select few become federal leaders, and can operate on a much larger stage, hopefully making things better for an entire country.

Of these leaders, a tiny handful have the ability to try to improve the lives of people beyond their borders, and make the world — not just a single country — a better place. One of these leaders is the president of the United States.

Donald Trump had four years as arguably the most powerful and influential person in the world. He had the ability to do so much good for so many people, in his own country and beyond: to highlight and address inequality, abuses against our planet, assaults on the marginalized. He had the ability to show and demonstrate compassion, empathy, decency, justice.

Imagine what you would do if you had four years as the most powerful and influential person on Earth and knew that you could influence — for better or worse — the lives of millions, in your country and beyond. Children do this, every Christmas in the “Letters to Santa” that the Journal publishes. Last year, students told Santa what they wished for: things like “keep the rivers clean so I can go fishing” and for “people in need to have better clothes” and to “try to help homeless people”.

The president of the United States is not Santa Claus, and does not possess magical powers that can make these things happen. All of these issues are complex and difficult, and cannot be solved with the wave of a hand. However, the president does have access to the best and brightest minds in the world: people who have ideas about how some of these things can be addressed. If they do not already work for the U.S. government, I would be willing to wager that the president could have them on the phone within a few hours, and on a plane to Washington, DC shortly after that if he or she so wished.

Of course, you don’t have to be the most influential and powerful person in the world in order to do things that improve the lives of others, although fame and/or fortune do help. Two great Canadians who recently passed away — Howie Meeker and Alex Trebek — used their names and reputations and money to benefit others, by giving to charities, giving of their time, and acting as spokespeople for causes they believed in. They did not have to do this; they were not elected to deal with or solve any of the issues they chose to address.

Locally, almost every week the Journal contains stories about everyday people — our friends and neighbours and relatives — who give their time and energy and resources to help others, without thought of enriching themselves, or adding to their reputations, in the process. They do not have to do these things, but they choose to, to make a small part of the world a little bit better or brighter.

Think of all that these people could accomplish, if only they had the platform to do so, or access to leading doctors, scientists, engineers, educators, artists. Picture what our schools and hospitals, our inner cities, our rivers and oceans could be like if people with no thought of self had the resources they needed to accomplish great and wonderful things. Ask yourself what kind of world could be created for our children and grandchildren.

Four years is a long time, and much could have been addressed in that span to try to make the lives of so many people a bit better, a little less burdensome, more hopeful. Take a look back over those four years, at what the 45th president of the United States did with that time, and ask yourself if he made the best possible use of the singular gift he was given.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Columnist

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Corey Harkness, who is free on bail, is slated to make his first appearance in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Dec. 14, 2020. A trial date has not yet been set. (COREY HARKNESS/FACEBOOK)
Accused in Cache Creek homicide will stand trial

Corey Harkness, 33, is charged with second-degree murder

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

The TNRD will no longer be offering free disposal days at its 29 solid waste facilities throughout the region. (Photo credit: TNRD)
TNRD votes to end free disposal days at solid waste facilities

Mattresses and tires on rims to be added to items that can be brought in at no charge year-round

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read