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I Win, You Lose, and Never the Twain Shall Meet

February 15th, 2020 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, is winning at all costs really worth the cost?

As I write this post, CN has shut down its entire network in Eastern Canada and Via Rail has cancelled services across the country. The service cancellations are the result of blockades set up by protestors in solidarity with First Nations opposed to the construction of the Coastal Gas Pipeline which crosses traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in Northern BC.

This headline grabber will compete for attention with the rotating, escalating strikes by Ontario teachers as the put pressure on Doug Ford for his painfully deep cuts to education funding.

Neither of these protests affects me directly as I do not have children and I do not travel by rail. But they affect all of us in one way or another if only for their impact on the provincial and national economy.

In general, I have an issue with any group who takes the public hostage, figuratively speaking, to gain leverage in their battle. On the other hand, I have a particular dislike for Doug Ford and his dictatorial leadership style, so I side with the teachers in that dispute. And I sympathize with the First Nations as they seek to protect their traditional territories.

Yes, I am rather conflicted on the current situation. Divided loyalties make it difficult, if not impossible, for me to take a stand one way or the other.

But I took a step back from the individual disputes and probed my own psyche for what was simmering beneath the surface. I realized that what disturbs me most right now is the increasingly confrontational nature of our society. We seem to be itching for a fight and jump in with both feet when one presents itself.

Do not mistake what I am saying. Standing up for one’s beliefs is a value in which I strongly believe. But does it always have to be exclusively my way or your way? I believe that there is always a middle ground to be reached if both sides are willing to bend a little.

However, compromise has become a dirty word these days. It has become associated with weakness. I would argue that it takes more strength, not to mention integrity, to give a little, rather than dig in our heels, in the interests of a peaceful resolution. The win-win scenario, where each side bends a little but does not break, is the best outcome in the bigger picture.

Let me circle back to Doug Ford. I see him as the poster boy for the compromise-is-not-in-my vocabulary camp. His stance is essentially: I’m right, you’re wrong, and I have the power, so what you believe doesn’t matter. That hardline stance is a wildfire waiting to happen. All it takes to ignite is one person pushing back. The winds of conflict take over and the fire is quickly fanned out of control

At the end of the day, if it always comes down to somebody has to win and somebody else has to lose, we are always going to be in conflict. That is not the kind of society I want to live in. Do you?

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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