Who Is Responsible…We Are

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter” – Winston Churchill

I have been watching some of the online news coverage of the March Across America movement and one of the words that is providing a common thread is “hope”.  I find a certain sadness in that.  These kids should have “aspirations” play a bigger part in their lexicon than “hope”.  Unfortunately tragedy brings on the need for hope while smothering aspirations.  I find it difficult to call these kids “kids” since the reality is they are young adults quickly approaching voting age.  Today’s policy makers had best take notice of that.  A tsunami of a new informed, engaged and now enraged electorate is beginning to swell.

This new wave of young voters has access and knowledge to technology never seen by the generations before.  The March Across America has gone international due, in part, to this technology but also fuelled by a generation who want true control of their lives.  When you are confronted with school suspension simply for participating in protest that’s intimidation.  Todays young people are fighting for the right to self-determination and will no longer tolerate blatant intimidation as a norm.  After all they are the ones being shot or killed.

They are no longer content with big money lobby groups like the NRA or huge money Political Action Committees (PAC) or Super PAC using the democratic process as a “casting couch”.   They may be living under a Presidency who has turned democracy into a reality TV show however the March Across America is focused on changing that.

I have had people from my own generation (baby-boomers) make disparaging comments about these young activists being just kids and not knowing anything.  I beg to differ.  I have watched much of this coverage on the very technology the baby-boomers lacked.  When you watch eleven year olds speaking with more maturity and common sense than our politicians you start to realize the change on the horizon.

When I listen to the likes of Cameron Kasky speak out I hear wisdom and conviction.  When I hear the likes of Emma Gonzalez speak out I am reminded of another young person dragged into the spotlight due to gun violence, Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Noble prize winner in history.  Age is irrelevant when it comes to maturity and insight.Continue reading “Who Is Responsible…We Are”

Forgetting How Tyranny Grows

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” – Thomas Jefferson

It is kind of a dull grey day here which is very much the way I am feeling right now with a tinge of anger.  I try not to write from the perspective of anger but in light of the Tillerson departure and the national students protest on March 14 I really need to get this out.  I will, however, keep it short.

A series of recent events (all within a week) leave me feeling like we are really losing our way.  My generation, the baby-boomers, as well as a good part of the Millenials have allowed their “good conscience to remain silent” by ignoring our history.  We have become the equivalent of examples of colonization in a technical world.  We now live in a world where information abounds but truth remains hidden.  And, as the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are showing us, the outrage is decimating our youth.

It is no Vietnam but just as destructive to young minds of those commonly referred to as “Generation Z“.  Those are the victims of tragedies like Sandy Hook in Connecticut, the Parkland, Florida victims, the Pathway Home victims, the murder of 80 youth at a summer camp in Norway and the list could go on.  These kids have every right to be angry.  We, “the people of good conscience”, have dropped the ball seriously through our indifference and the bubbles of awareness we have created for ourselves.Continue reading “Forgetting How Tyranny Grows”

On Being a Victim

“You can slowly ease into being a victim or you can accept being a victim, the only difference is the level of fight” – Terry Wiens (2018)

I had a very hard time falling asleep last night and was plagued with thoughts regarding victimization.  There’s a twisted irony to a week containing the annual celebration of love, Valentine’s day, ending with the level of tragedy we witnessed in Florida.  What kept me awake was realizing how deep into the wastelands of desensitization we are becoming as a society.  There has been over fifty years of that type of tragedy for us, as a society, to speak up and demand change but our collective silence allows it to continue.

A late night discussion on the pitfalls of stepping forward out of fear of repercussions just highlighted how far we have wandered into the forest of denial out of fear of speaking up.  Social media has just enabled even more vitriol to paralyze public reaction and keeps people in fearful silence.

I have spend my life refusing to be a victim which has made me the activist I am today.  I will not be silent on victimization, repercussions be damned, I will not be silenced towards injustice out of fear of losing friends or services.  It is my responsibility to minimize my own level of victimization and if that means being a dick every now and then, so be it.

I am no Colton Boushie but I do recognize the victimization attached to that case.  Being a victim is not a competition, it is not about the degree of victimization, it’s about the state of the groupthink that allows it to happen.  It’s about attitude.

When a court case can dismiss any potential aboriginal jurists under the guise of a “perceived bias” while twelve white jurist are believed to have no racial bias that says something about our society.  When persons of authority in that community can write on social media that the “only mistake was leaving witnesses” one has to question how balanced the system is for victims.

The biggest victims here are the First Nations community themselves.  Granted none of Colton’s peers sounded like angelic kids but then I was never a fully law abiding teenager either.  That didn’t mean you could shoot me and then walk away unscathed.  People need to speak up before this type of victimization becomes a norm.  Every time we remain silent we desensitize ourselves to the harshness of reality.  When we fail to speak out we become part of the problem and not a contributor to a solution.

These seventeen deaths in Florida were more than victims, they were martyrs.  They died in the name of a cause most of them probably weren’t even aware of.  The true victims are those who now now have to live with the void left in their lives because of inactivity to tackle an issue America has turned a blind eye to for generations.  An issue that has been going on for years in America but protected by the financial strength of one organization, the NRA.

These were mainly kids going on innocently with their life’s at school when the unthinkable happened except it is no longer unthinkable in America.  It is becoming a norm and nobody wants to speak out against it except for the victims.  From the Kent State massacre to Sandy Hook, Columbine and now Stoneman High School in Florida.  America has had over fifty years to address this problem but nobody seems to have the guts to speak out.  Politicians talking about “thoughts and prayers” is just crappy code for “hey NRA how about donating to my election campaign” and it has to stop.Continue reading “On Being a Victim”