In May of this year, over 100 people gathered to discuss the fate of an organization that to many has represented an exceptional moment in the history of the Canadian Left, and in the Winnipeg activist community’s contribution to that history.
From one quarter there was contention that CHO!CES, a coalition for social justice, had been a moribund shadow of itself for some time. The Friday Morning Group, the direct-action-oriented heart of Cho!ces, ceased to meet some time ago. Others insisted that there still are a few viral things that Cho!ces can do like no other structure can. From all parties, a great deal of emotional investment was at stake in the controversy. Its result, for now, was that Cho!ces would carry on with three projects — Alternative Budgets, a support network for Project Loophole, the lawsuit raking on a large Canadian trust fund for tax evasion, and an annual Youth Activist Retreat.
Despite this outcome, we can fairly say that what remains is not Cho!ces as it was once …
Our separation of church and state is intended to allow a multiplicity of visions to flourish.
Our system does not claim knowledge of the ultimate nature of things. It does claim to know quite a lot about less-than-ultimate things, not least that we Americans believe we have been endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. And from this founding principle many others necessarily follow.
Unless you wish to be remembered in the history books as a policy wonk- -a fate no good American can wish upon you–you must not only talk about but must care deeply, truly, passionately about the moral condition of the people. As George Washington reminded us in his Farewell Address, national morality is the “spring of popular government.”
A system such as ours can only function if its people are largely convinced of and act in accord with the high moral dignity and basic spiritual orientation of a democratic republic. On this point, the normally reticent Washington was quite outspoken: “Whatever may be conceded to …