OUR UNRAVELLING MORAL FABRIC

One way to describe Moral Fabric is to view us, as a society, sharing a standard dignity through high principles making the moral fabric a keystone; keeping the social order maintained and the standards it holds high-together.

Now think about ours as a sweater, woven by that great moral fabric, now three hundred and forty-one years old now. In the time since it was knitted by our founders, there have been loose threads, even rips, some people even attempting to tear it apart. Still, the sweater has remained intact. Now, I wonder if that sweater knitted with moral fabric is finally beginning to unravel, along with it, our democracy as we know it.

Little did I realize that when I started The CleanSweep Conspiracy, gathering my thoughts, and notes that would eventually lead to the novel, that it was a cautionary tale. When the canary in a coal mine died from deadly gasses and stopped singing, the miners knew it was a warning. Today, with the emergence of an American oligarch tweeting us into a coma, complete with Alt Right support, can we still hear the canary of our democracy?

Growing up, my parents and teachers stressed the high value of our privacy, fear of religious persecution, and that my vote would count. Thirteen years ago, when I began scribbling notes that would become a novel, I was waking up to the realization of how easy it was now for governments and corporations to store and mine massive amounts of data about me … and you. And my vote? A corporation, with all the resources, has an equal vote to mine. Somehow, I feel like I’m on the wrong end of a teeter-totter beam.

I was having dinner with another writer. Sipping wine, he looked at me. “What inspired you to write The CleanSweep Conspiracy. I considered the question and started to give the rehearsed answer when he held up his hand to stop me. “What’s really driving the book, the story behind the story?” he asked.

“Fear,” I told him. “I never thought I would live in a police state. Now it’s beginning to feel closer and closer to that.” I paused, giving thought to my answer on a mild sunny day in 2012 in Toronto. I had just finished reading an article in The Globe and Mail. The Toronto newspaper headline, “G20 report blasts police for ‘unlawful’ arrests, civil rights violations.

Two paragraphs caught my eye, two among many issues disclosed in the report.

“Some police officers ignored basic rights citizens had under the Charter and overstepped their authority when they stopped and searched people arbitrarily and without legal justification,” the review states.

“Numerous police officers used excessive force when arresting individuals, and seemed to send a message that violence would be met with violence,” the report states

“My fear,” I said again, “is imagining who’s behind the curtain. I don’t think it’s the benevolent character Dorothy finally met in The Wizard of Oz.

Fast forward to now. Are we living in in a surveillance state? Are we experiencing an Orwellian Future? Matt Tremain, in The CleanSweep Conspiracy, wondered the same thing.  His world is fiction, but how close are we to seeing Matt’s cautionary tale becoming real.

Recently, someone repeated the old “nothing to hide” argument. “surveillance programs aren’t a threat,” they say. “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

“What’s so unique about privacy anyway,” someone wrote?

How much thought do we give to the ubiquitous cameras in the ceiling of your favorite shopping destination? They are robots, tracking our movement through the store. Not only do they provide a loss prevention purpose, but they can also map customers routes as they shop.

How often do you succumb to the invitation to join a loyal shoppers club, willingly entering details into a database somewhere in the clouds?

Emails? So, what if the government is reading my emails, you might ask yourself?

Matt Tremain and his friends faced the dangers of that information out of control. Sometimes the only way to confront the newest technology may be to go “old school.”

For Dorothy, finally seeing behind the scrim, it turned out to be a benevolent character as she ended her dream.

I fear the characters behind the scrim today aren’t so benign. In fact, it may be the beginning of a nightmare. What do you think?

As I said early, I no longer believe my vote counts. I live in a society now in the hands of an oligarchy. I chose that word, implying a connotation of using power for a corrupt or selfish purpose. We have a Teflon government coming that seems to sluff off criticism and fact checking as fake news, their arguments are reduced to the 124 characters. It comes alarmingly close to sloganeering, repeating phrases instead of explaining. Often slogans can be without a coherent set of policies, often empty rhetoric, almost impossible to refute or discuss.

I fear I am approaching the end of my life at a time where the majority of us have little choice but bend to the will of that small group of oligarchs that seem to know what’s best for me, without asking me. I now have a Teflon president leading that pack. No matter the facts, nothing, no accusations, seem to stick. His supporters hear the slogans and believe what they want …  and disregard the rest

Looking back at the definition of moral fabric, I wonder where the important words are: dignity, principle, and high standards.

#the singing canary #sosadbuttrue

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