This week I have been thinking about Doug Ford’s decision to roll back sex education in Ontario to the 1998 curriculum. He made this decision because an updated curriculum is not necessary. We haven’t learned anything new about sexuality, gender identity, cyber-bullying, transgender choices, and how sexual attitudes have a lot to do with personal well being of teenagers. RIGHT!?
Of course, the real issue here is about Doug Ford’s popularity with his voter base who are mostly “now-focused”, having little vision for the future. They are afraid we are getting too far away from the conservative values of Stephen Harper or Ralph Klein such as: the freedom to do whatever we want, the ability to make obscene amounts of money and ignore social problems, and the power to maintain straight white privilege. Ford suggests it is better to go back to letting the parents teach their children about sexuality issues. OK. But some parents teach intolerance and discrimination because that’s what they were taught by their parents. These are not Canadian values. Perhaps we need to pass legislation mandating that parents with teenage children take sex education classes so they are up to speed on the rights of children and what we have learned over these past 20 years about respect for gender identity, gay and lesbian people, etc …
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could just pick out dates and laws that we liked and pretend that they still represent reality. Why not roll back oil prices to 1998 to solve our problems? Oh, that wouldn’t work because oil was averaging $16 dollars a barrel then. Well then, let’s choose 2011 when prices were $89 to $102 a barrel.
On a bad day I can pretend that eating a piece of chocolate cake won’t add any calories to my daily diet and I can just put that expensive shiny new electronic gadget on my credit card; it won’t cost me a cent.
Let’s live in a pretend reality and see how long we can get away with that. When my mortgage has to be paid, and interest rates are rising maybe we can just cancel the carbon tax to counteract the increase in my mortgage payments. I really want/deserve more house than I can live in or afford. Or maybe I can tell the bank I just can’t afford that increase and they will feel sorry for me and lower the payments because I want them to. Fortunately, when I personally live this way the bills do show up next month and bring me back to reality. Not so in politics though. The bill doesn’t show up next month. It comes four or eight or ten years later, and is often a whopper that gets blamed on the new government instead of the previous one that denied reality and made shorted-sighted decisions.
The someday when we do have to pay always comes around. And it won’t be pleasant. Now is the someday that many politicians pretended would never come regarding climate change, putting off infrastructure spending to keep taxes down, or not taking care of our treaty obligations with indigenous people because it is their fault that they have no education, poor housing and no water.
Sometimes I am embarrassed to be part of the white male establishment who created these attitudes of entitlement and passed laws to shore them up. And I am afraid I am part of a minority of white male people who feel this way. Women had it right when they began the “women’s lib” movement to gain more power to bring themselves up to equality as female human beings living with male human beings. We men have never been able to sustain a men’s liberation movement because it would cost us too much in money and power.
Pretending will only work for a while, sometimes a long while, until the government or structures collapse because they have no integrity.