And the Children Shall Lead the Way

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.
– Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (Teach Your Children)

Crescent Heights School Student Protest 1964

With the actions of the influencers of tomorrow, those students who took one (1) class off to to remind this government what democracy is about. Our Premier, again, displayed his ignorance (or maybe disdain) for history since what these students did is not new. The first one I remember in Calgary was the 1964 student walk-out protest at Crescent Heights High School and it was a true learning experience in a time when civics was taught in Calgary schools.

This has been an insane week and I am still trying to make sense out of it. Again the influence of social media is highlighting the polarization of the generations and it really is a coin toss as to which way our society is heading. So I need to ask these polarized baby-boomers (a generation I am a member of) what does this “better future” look like that you want your grandchildren to have?

The same grandchildren that were probably part of the student walk out that took place on Friday May 2. These kids showed more insight into the potential threats to their future than you did at the voting poll. So, please, quit hiding behind the excuse of “building a better future” for your grandchildren and face up to your own lack of knowledge of the truth. It is these same grandchildren that recognize the issues that lead to things like young nine year olds committing suicide due to bullying in a school system supposedly protecting her.

This is a generation that is connected by social media and are more aware than you are about the reality of this new world. Your lack of knowledge regarding social media has put you exactly in that position that we use to bad mouth our own parents comments about rock and roll while they listened to Perry Como. Your denial of it is polarizing you and you are not even aware of that polarization. You are still firmly entrenched in the groupthink of the 80’s and that entrenchment is as much of a threat to your grandchildren as your dismissal of climate change.

We now have a Premier who has bullied our democratic process, filled a cabinet with dangerous ideologues and managed to insult a whole new generation of voters while removing school protections they had gained in the last couple of years. When a politician fails to see the educational aspect of activism we are no longer a democracy. When we have a Premier who is prepared to change recently amended legislation to force teachers to betray the trust they have developed with their students we are no longer a democracy. The building a better future for your grandchildren is spelt out in the opening of this article. “You who are on the road, must have a code you can live by, and so become yourself because the past is just a good-bye”. Teach your children well.

There is a certain irony to a Premier having just returned from politicized trip to Ottawa. A Premier who, for three days, spewed his ideological rhetoric and misinformation on issues that impact, not only the country, but these very students future. Then for him to come back to Alberta and admonish thousands of students from all spectrums of the province (students who will be old enough to vote by the time the next election rolls around) to “doing politics outside of a school during school hours” is beyond arrogance and again we have left democracy.

These very students exhibited more character in standing up to an issue for thirty minutes then returning to class. These very students that went out of their way to tell the public they kept their protest short out of respect for their teachers. Meanwhile our Premier is busy threatening our Confederation with a Constitutional challenge because he can’t get his way. So tell me again how it is that you elected a man who is going to remove the protections of the very grandchildren you state you are voting for to protect. If you weren’t so disconnected from the new world of social media you would have a better understanding of “Fact checking”. You would be better prepared to filter the vitriol and misinformation so many ideologues like to push.

And to those parents/grandparent who are so worried about their children’s future I borrow from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to say “Teach your children well, Their father’s hell did slowly go by, And feed them on your dreams, The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.” Meanwhile to those students who took a stand I also borrow and repeat “Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry, So just look at them and sigh, And know they love you”. Lesson well learnt…

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