Excuses, excuses


There are two figures of speech that really put the wind up my skirt. The first is “boys will be boys.”

Parents have been saying this since the invention of dirt to excuse away the behavior of little boys. You never hear anyone exclaim that girls will be girls. That is because little girls are punished for their bad behavior from a very early age. So why do we encourage little boys by ignoring their bad behavior when we know that providing a consequence for undesirable actions works? By excusing boys their bad behavior all we are doing is creating grown men who exhibit the same bad behavior, whether it’s fraternity hazing, racism or sexism. Unless bad behavior is nipped in the bud and not excused away we continue to perpetuate the idea that boys will be boys and that men will never change.

The second figure of speech that (as Peter Griffin would say) grinds my gears is “consider the source.”

Ann Coulter proving that women are guilty of ignorance and hate too.

This is something adults say when they are sick and tired of hearing ignorant and hateful things from ignorant and hateful people. Unfortunately, like ‘boys will be boys’, ‘consider the source’ only serves to excuse away the words and actions of racists, sexists, fear and hate mongers.

Unless we actually make people take responsibility for their words and actions, we are doomed to have to listen to hate speech. Ignoring the problem will not make it simply go away.

Recently the web site, http://jezebel.com/ took to task some teenagers that had posted horribly racist tweets (that I will not re-print here… they do not need to be rewarded with more publicity) in the wake of President Obama’s re-election. They alerted the schools, parents and employers of the teens who posted these offensive statements and actually got results. In some cases the schools suspended or even expelled the teens. In some cases their employers fired the teens. In almost all cases the offending twitter accounts were deleted. Now I do realize that this doesn’t stop these kids from thinking racist thoughts (racism is usually taught by parents or other authority figures), but it will certainly make them think twice before committing racist actions if they know that there are consequences for those actions.

Laziness, exasperation and excuses will not create the kind of world in which we want to live, or the kind of child we would be proud to send into that world.

Ashamed of my country


 

One of the things I love about Canada is that we are proud of our multiculturalism. When it comes to race, Canada is one of the more enlightened places to live. Which is why it sickens me when I see an ugly thread of racism still running through this country.

Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported on a white pride rally being held in Edmonton. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/24/edmonton-white-pride-rally_n_1377368.html

White Pride??? Really??? I thought we had come a lot further than this.

The only conclusion I can draw is that even the two dozen or so demonstrators were somewhat ashamed to be there as most of them were wearing masks to hide their identities. This puts me in mind of the KKK who all wear sheets and hoods. If you know what you’re doing is wrong, why do it at all? If you truly believe in what you’re rallying for then why not do it out in the open with your faces uncovered and your head held high? Your cowardice disgusts me almost as much as your white supremacist dogma. This rally comes under hate speech according to Canada’s Criminal Code and never should have been allowed to happen in the first place.

Canada has worked hard, as a nation, to avoid looking like this.

 

 

We prefer our public image to look like this.

 

 

 

 

Are we married or aren’t we?


 

 

 

 

Yesterday the news that gay marriages performed in Canada to couples who don’t live here may not be valid, swept the internet news sites and the blogosphere alike. As a Canadian and a supporter of gay marriage, the news made me a little sick to my stomach. This was the first article I saw on the story. In the last paragraph, the article quotes family law attorney Andrew Feldstein, of Toronto, as saying, “Where the Harper government should have approached this is: you are not a resident of Canada, you are not a taxpayer in Canada, why should we be using the court’s time, money, resources, taxpayers dollars for people who don’t live in Canada?”

My response to this comment is, it’s not taxpayers who pay for divorce proceedings, it’s the couple in question. Is Canada now so allergic to money that we will decline it just because it comes from another country… or is this a gay issue? Is gay money somehow not worth as much as straight money? And what about all the tourist dollars we get from the gay couples from all over the world who come here to get married, some with an entire wedding party in tow? Are we, as a country really in a position, in this economy to turn away revenue? I am purposefully responding to this topic from a financial view-point because that’s the only thing that lawyers and politicians seem to respect and understand. Financially, this just doesn’t make sense.

What about Canada’s reputation as a tolerant country? We are a country that famously touts our multicultural  status as something to be proud of… and it is. We are ahead of the curve when it comes to Human Rights… but Gay Rights ARE Human Rights.

One month ago, almost to the day, former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien posted a letter to the Liberal party website. In it he said, “The Conservatives already ended gun control and Kyoto. Next may be a woman’s right to choose, or gay marriage. Then might come capital punishment. And one by one, the values we cherish as Canadians will be gone.” Did he know something the rest of us didn’t? Of course the liberals are jumping all over this hot button issue. Interim liberal leader Bob Rae was quoted as saying. “It’s quite clear that we have enabled and allowed people to come to Canada to marry in Montreal, in Toronto and everywhere in the country. People came from the U.S. and elsewhere and that means very clearly they have the right to marry and have the right to divorce,” and he’s right.

Just one day later, the Federal Government has decided to change the law.

“We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official said on Friday. “That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.”

This is fantastic news and I’m sure it will be implemented quickly so as to nip this scandal in the bud.

I must admit I’m a little confused by something. Using the United States as an example, what about gay couples who marry in Vermont, but live in Florida? Their marriage isn’t recognized in the state they live in, so if one partner is in the hospital, for example, the other isn’t considered a family member, regardless of the marriage licence issued by Vermont. If this hypothetical couple wants to divorce, doesn’t the same problem rear its ugly head? Are they only married in Vermont and the other 5 states that allow gay marriage, but not married in the other 44 states that don’t?

It’s questions like these that I hope the GLBTQIA community south of the border is asking itself. I sincerely hope that this issue spurs more activism in the United States and around the world.