The Scary and the Good

I just re-read the inimitable Hendrik Hertzberg in this week’s New Yorker. His piece is titled “Rain and Fire” and he writes about an unusual movie screening of the short film “Last Best Chance” held recently by some of the most far-sighted individuals in the public and commercial life. I’ve often written and thought about nuclear terrorism (pretty much since I was 13) and I’m nauseously captivated by the catastrophic and hellish scenario that could unfold within our lifetimes if we care not to care. The movie, “Last Best Chance,” can be ordered free on DVD from the good folks at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and NTI puts full blame for the scenario at the feet of the war-torn and internally-focused Bush administration. The NTI board of directors is a who’s who of serious minds that know it will only take one nuclear bomb aboard a shipping container to really change the world. When I have cash, I’m donating to NTI.
On the other side of the coin, Canada today swore in its symbolic Governor General today. Yes, she acts as Queen Elizabeth II’s official representative to the country. And yes, she has roles in the military though she has no formal military experience. But here’s the rub: “Michaelle Jean is the first black person and only the third woman to hold the largely ceremonial post as head of state, designed to defend Canada’s sovereignty and promote its national identity.”
On the edges of this coin, I walked by the Winnipeg School Division’s mission statement which seemed newly posted in the hallways of the school here. It struck as extremely well-written and high-minded and I enjoyed reading it as much as I did Mr. Hertzberg’s article: “The mission of the Winnipeg School Division is to provide a learning environment that promotes and fosters the growth of each student’s potential and provides an opportunity for the individual student to develop the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for meaningful participation in a global and pluralistic society.”