Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thou shalt not vote with thy hormones

So if you haven't been paying attention to the news, you're missing some important information that is getting Canadian politics all in a titter. The Liberal party who has been struggling to get an identity, a face, a brand if you will since Chretien is about to get a lifeline. We all knew it was only a matter of time, but the Liberals are about to get an opportunity to elect a leader who promises something that makes Canadian political nerds like me very excited. He promises some very interesting Canadian politics. If you haven't figured it out, or googled it by now, Justin Trudeau is about to announce his intentions to run for Liberal leadership. Now if you're sitting there scratching your head and thinking "uh, so?" then I suggest you first slap yourself and then google Canadian history and previous Prime Ministers.

So, on a completely superficial level, holy moly! What a looker! Think about it Canada, if we were to elect him as Prime Minister, forget any and all great ideas he might have, we'd have the hottest world leader in the world! Possibly history! Seriously!! Okay, well, it is superficial, but lets be honest in this day and age, seeing him as a candidate on the ballot is going to get a lot of people who wouldn't take a second look at politics, take a second look. Which can either be good, or horrifically bad.

Now as you all know, I'm a supporter of the NDP. What I really liked about our late leader Jack Layton was that he engaged everyone and got the NDP to appeal to a new group of voters, which is younger people. Now God willing the NDP can do that again, but I'm not holding my breath. Whereas Jack Layton was a household name whether you were NDP or not, I had to stop and think for a second the name of Thomas Muclair and this is my party. Even though Jack had children who were older than me, he was able to engage a crowd much younger than me, something that older politicians don't seem very capable of these days. I think the last "young" politician elected to lead a party was Pierre Trudeau.

So Trudeau, (Justin) simply by the fact that he is not 50+ will automatically turn some heads of the younger crowd. I think that is a good thing, I mean, the younger crowd should be engaged in politics because it's important to vote and all that, but at this point, I'm happy they come by any way you can get them. It will be great to hear a new round of voices engaged and thinking further into the future than previous politicians (not Jack though lol). So I am truly excited by this. I have to admit, I'm more drawn to a younger leader. I admire the legacy that PET left behind in regards to Canadian human rights and I'm confident that his son believes wholly in them, but I'm also eager to hear things not just about maintaining our country at the status quo, but improving it exponentially because we have that potential. That is what Jack embodied, that is why us younger folks were so excited by him, that is my hopes for Trudeau, if it is, I, and I'm sure many other people who normally vote NDP and are my age might have a bit of a crisis. (This is your warning bell NDP).

And of course if the Liberals did elect Trudeau as their leader (they'd be stupid not to) they certainly would energize a lot of the older voters who are red or orange. God knows my mom is ready to gear up Trudeaumania the Sequel. Really, I think Trudeau is the Liberals best hope and by extension my best hope for getting rid of Stephen Harper and a good chunk of his cabinet (especially those doofuses who are trying to mess with a woman`s right to choose!). It will breathe some much needed life and energy into the Liberal party and I expect there will be plenty of newer and younger faces throwing their names in the hats in the different ridings.

Overall though, Canadian politics are about to get a lot more interesting. I can`t wait to see and hear what will transpire over the next little while and I`ll be counting the days til 2015.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Religious rights

Okay, my panties are in a knot again. Seriously, I really, really dislike a huge bunch of religious people. I am religious. I am a Christian. I believe with all my heart that two things Christ has said is what needs to be followed. You've heard me rant about it. One is loving God. Der! Of course. The second is loving others. This is something a whole bunch Christians seem to have problems understanding. For me, it's pretty simple, love others as I would myself. It doesn't mean I have to AGREE with their choices, the life, their fashion sense, their values, the fact that they love cilantro and I think it's vile, but it does mean that I have to give them the same amount of love as I would myself. Now lets be realistic, love for myself means that I'm going to buy myself Coach, I'm not about to do that for a stranger, so lets call it respect.

So, I'm straight. I don't care who anyone else loves so long as its consensual. So if a 90 year old man falls in love with an 18 year old gal, I might raise an eyebrow, but we all agree 18 is old enough for consent and if she's in love with someone old enough to be her great grandfather, well go for it. It wouldn't be MY choice, I might not even agree with it. I might have to be exposed to them kissing, their wedding, the fact that the rights we agreed to as a nation says that they are protected to fall in love and build a life together. I might have to learn that in school, their rights are protected and just because I might not think it's cool, does not make it icky, or gross, or unnatural or immoral and that I don't have the right to treat anyone that way according to those rights afforded them. guess what? All of that, does NOT violate my religious rights. I still have a right to go to church, I have a right to take my kids to church, to indoctrinate and program them as I please. I can teach them nothing but religious stuff from the time they come home til bedtime and so on and so forth. It does not prevent me from thinking that May/September romances are icky. What it does prevent me from doing is violating their rights, but guess what? If loving thy neighbour is demoted to respecting thy neighbour, the Bible itself prevents me from violating their rights.

So what has caused all this ranting? Well for those in my great province of Ontario, there has been some new anti-bullying law which of course affects Ontario's PUBLIC schools. In such it's not okay to be mean to people because of various things, but lets be frank, the hot button issue for religious people is LGBT rights. So of course, in reaction to this law, a bunch of religiously conservative parents have their panties in a knot and are forming groups and writing letters asking that they have the right to be notified and so choose to withdraw their kids from classes if the teachings conflict with their religious views. Here's an article if you want to verify my nutshell.

Some of it includes, sexuality classes, placing environmentalism above religion (ummm, I'm pretty sure in the Bible that we're commanded to take care of the Earth properly-piss poor job we're doing at it, I think environmentalism and religion, much like social justice and religion go hand in hand, but completely different, wait, I really need to know, how does one put environmentalism above religion? Is there something in the Bible that I'm not aware that says, let's allow Enbridge to destroy Canada? Recycling is unholy? Don't buy a hybrid? ). I can understand about sex ed classes to a degree, many parents want to give it a more personal touch and add a good hit of values along with the raw data around sex ed, fair enough.

But the thing that is really pissing me off about in their standard form letter one of the requests is to be notified if the school plans on discussions or portrayals of homosexual/bisexual conduct and relationships and/or transgenderism as natural, healthy or acceptable.

Acceptable...You know what? You're damn right it acceptable! Because YOU don't happen to agree with it does not make it unhealthy, unnatural or unacceptable. BTW, you cannot bitch about the school teaching evolution and then go on to deem what is natural or unnatural. You don't like homosexuality, I get that, you don't think it's right, fine. But if you are to operate in public society in Canada, and Ontario, you get to operate within the code that we as a democracy decided that these groups have rights, and one of those rights is to not be treated differently or bullied by people who simply disagree with the way they live life. If you are attending a PUBLIC school, you get the privilege of education without the private school rates, but you also have the responsibility of treating people with respect. Thinking that someone is unhealthy, unnatural or unacceptable is not very respectful. If I were to say that about any of these groups railing about their rights, they'd be the first hopping up and down.

That said though, back to the Bible, if loving thy neighbour is simply about respect, you're getting a one giant fail. You might have been able to escape the bulk of my wrath if you just stopped about teaching the kids about homosexuality period. But to label it as something unnatural/unhealthy/unacceptable, you have shown your colours and your values, and while I cannot impede upon your rights, and I won't, I can say that I don't like your values, they're disrespectful and if you're Christian (not purposely excluding other religions, just speaking to what I know) to me, you're totally missing the mark of loving others as you would yourself.

As someone with children in PUBLIC school, I'm putting you on notice, I will be fighting to protect the rights of mine and other children. If you try to impede on them with bullying, lack of respect or whathaveyou in my vicinity, you're on notice, I'm going to be there. I'm sending my kids to a PUBLIC school so they can learn about diversity, respect, other points of view and learn to disagree without disvaluing (new word) them as a person for how they are WIRED (in caps in case anyone still thinks sexuality is a choice). My job in the home is to teach them values, which usually falls in line with my religion. My job as a parent is to instill good values in them that can withstand the mere introduction of another way or life or point of view. If I have to shield my kids from the fact that some people think treating LGBT people different is okay, I'm not doing my job. Because chances are, they are going to come across people who thinks its okay to treat others differently, meanly even based on their race, sex, gender, class, ability, language, nationality, sexuality and even religion, and I have to do my job in instilling values that it's not okay to do that. Exposing my kids to values other than my own based on my religion is NOT a violation of my religious rights, it's life as we know it in a very diverse community. Do not fall into the simplistic thinking that you have a right to be shielded in public from other people, that is not a right and it sure as hell isn't a right that supercedes the rights of others to simply exist and be treated the same as you or any other human in school, work, city, province, country.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pass it on

I went out last night with my boyfriend...beau...honey. I'm having a hard time finding an appropriate word for him, boyfriend sounds so 13, beau sounds like something out of a bad novel, honey sounds way too cute, what is the appropriate terminology to use for your partner (which sounds so politically correct, there's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't feel very intimate either) when you're an adult that doesn't make you sound like a teenager or a Harlequin? Anyhow, side rant done, we went up to a small town of his youth to listen to his cousin's band play. As usual, I got gussied up and we set off.

Now personally, I don't really believe all that hype that people from small towns are friendlier. I mean maybe they are, but when you stick out like a sore thumb as I always seem to do, I haven't received treatment much different than the anonymous living of the big city. That said, last night, folks were awesome. I received compliments from 4 different women, complete strangers about my appearance. I don't usually feel all that good about my appearance. I put a lot of effort towards it, but it's a fake it so I can make it sort of thing. It's getting better, I just have a lot of deprogramming to do. Anyhow, the compliments, they were totally out of nowhere and they were sweet and they made me feel extra good about myself. Now outside of my boyfriend, somehow compliments from men does not seem the same. I've only received one in the past year from a stranger that didn't feel like it was loaded with something else other than goodwill, I dunno, compliments from women, just carry a different meaning for me.

So I got to thinking, why don't we do that more? I mean, there are a million times a day when I notice something about another woman that I like. Her hair, her tattoos, her purse. I mean, they're superficial things, but sometimes that superficial boost can mean a bit if you're feeling a little awkward or not as super awesome as usual. And really, like giving presents, is there nothing better than to see someone made spontaneously happy? Yeah, sure, I bet some gals will think I'm a weirdo, but what harm is that to me? So I'm going to try an experiment. I'm going start paying genuine compliments to random strangers if time and space allows. See what happens? I'm sure I'll feel better if they are pleased, and I hope they will, and maybe that whole butterfly flapping their wings across the ocean, make it will be paid forward and so on and so forth. It's worth a shot.