I applaud Calgarians who elected their new mayor.  Who has made an issue out of his religion before the election?  Nobody, until the national media pointed out that Mr. Nenshi was a Muslim.   Religion is not an issue in politics: Policy is. Why then is there so much suspicion about Islam?  Yes, there are problems with crazy Muslims as well as stupid Christians.  But they are a tiny minority.  We must remember that Christianity and Islam are cousins-in faith.  Both religions have  roots in Judaism: we are all children of Abraham,   How come then there is much hostilities where we are so close?  It seems that closeness brings out small difference into focus and makes it an irritation.

 I have often been asked if I could tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese.  Yes but not always.  When I was in South Africa during the 1970’s, Japanese were classified as “Honorary White” because of the trade links, but Chinese were not.  A bus driver was taken to court because he forced a Japanese business man off the whites only bus.   He was convinced that the man was a Chinese.  The prosecution lost the case because even the judge could not tell the difference.  

Often enemies are neighbors.  Irish and English, Chinese and Japanese, Basque and Spanish, Hutus and Tutsis, Israelis and Palestinians.   I think that the trouble is we are close enough to see them partly but refuse to see the whole.  So we fight over small things, even kill each other from time to time, because we don’t  try to understand the difference.  What a stupidity!  Why can’t we try to see the other side?  We don’t have to agree, but we can understand.  After all, we differ only on minor points; easy to bridge the gap.  Isn’t a refusal to do this the root causes of many troubles today?

We have to learn the art of compromise, and see good things in different ideas.  Therein is a solution to the current political dilemma in Canada too.  There does not seem to be a possibility of a majority government in a foreseeable future.  A coalition is a good possibility.  There is already one in the U.K., and another in Australia.  Most of European governments are coalitions.  Why not in Canada?   Opposition parties are not enemies.  They are “loyal oppositions.” 

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