I have an idea.
Let's start a country.
This country would have bright leaders in politics, labour, business, education and other fields.
They wouldn't squabble. They wouldn't call each other names.
They would try to get along.
In this country people would work hard - and they would be allowed to keep a lot of their money.
Oh, they'd help out the handicapped, the old, the sick, those who have been thrown out of work for no fault of their own.
But no freeloading.
You couldn't sit around twiddling your thumbs, abusing your body, making trouble or just being a nuisance.
You would have to carry your share of the burden and not expect somebody else to always look after you.
You'd be responsible for your life - and no running away.
You'd have to be useful.
In this country you'd respect other people and they'd be expected to respect you. You could not sit around griping all the time or making a lot of demands.
If you made a mess of things, you'd be told to look for the culprit first in a mirror before you started pointing a finger.
You'd have to follow some rules because this country would work best that way.
For example, you'd have to keep your mitts off other people, unless in affection. No abusing animals either, or property, or people's dreams.
You'd be asked to understand things like feelings and hopes.
In this country kids would be special and need a lot of love and peanut butter sandwiches and talks. In return, they'd be expected to go to school, learn something useful and not be smart alecks.
They could keep pets provided they looked after them.
You'd be expected to cherish this country and treat it kindly. You'd be expected to understand its riches - and make sure something was left for the next generation.
And no putting it in second place to another country.
You can get sentimental about some holiday place, or a country in your past, or something you saw in National Geographic.
Of course, it's permissible to get dreamy about Paris, too. Everyone does.
But this country would be top priority, Number 1, your very own place, home.
You'd feel good about other people from your own country, even if they were a little different. You wouldn't act like a goof and insult them or treat them in a way you wouldn't want to be treated.
This country would have a nice touch of pride - but pride in important things like integrity, intelligence, cleanliness, decency and being fair. It wouldn't get a big head about things that are just luck.
I think I've left out fun.
This country should have lots of fun because life isn't much without it. You wouldn't want a country where every one has a long face and snaps about the littlest thing.
You'd want to hear laughter. It's about as important as sunshine.
No idlers. No bullies. No grouches. No ingrates. No shouters. No sourpusses. No crybabies. No parasites. No hotheads.
Yes, let's start a country.
We could call it Canada.
(c) Estate of Gary Lautens