Sunday, July 10, 2005

What The Hell Were Your Parents Thinking?

Today has been a crazy day. It was the last day of our multicultural celebration SunFest. I remember discrimination and hatred of visible minorities. I remember Pierre Trudeau declaring Canada a Multicultural Nation. We celebrated diversity then and again, all of this weekend, we were able to revel in the wonderful cultures that make up our nation. Trudeau was my first Liberal hero, so much so that I drove to Montreal from Toronto for his funeral.

I have only ever been a Liberal. They are uniters. Regarding the issue of same sex marriage Jean Chretien said that we can not allow the will of the majority to dictate the rights of a minority. His Catholic upbringing could not interfere with his political responsibility to defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But lately, even though they passed the same sex marriage Bill, the Liberals don't seem so Liberal. A local M.P. even quit the party to do whatever he could to quash the Bill.

This brings me to today, and eventually to parenting. Not only was today the final day of SunFest but it was also the final day of London's Gay Pride Festival. Every participant was somebody's child. Some of them were lucky enough to have had accepting families and some did not. The one thing that they all had in common was that today , one day of the year, their sexual orientation was celebrated. It was celebrated by families, by co-workers, by neighbours, by children and by everyday average citizens. It was not, however, celebrated by the Liberals or (snicker, snicker) the Conservatives. It was celebrated by the Green Party and the NDP. What happened to my party? I was sad for my party.

I was also sad for Canada, more specifically for London, as a group 20 neo-Nazis came to town to yell obscenities, degrade parade participants and scream their agenda as loudly as possible. Police did a good job of keeping tensions down, but a group from Toronto did a great job of letting the parade pass without serious conflict.

What shocked me was that these neo-Nazis were all children too. Somebody raised them and for most of them what they heard around the house helped to shape the belief system that they yell through bullhorns, paint on signs and tattoo swastikas on their bodies for. It is insane.

On such a beautiful and sunny day too. Mystical and upbeat music echoing through the trees from the park. A colourful street party to celebrate diversity. Tens of thousands of people, families from out of town, musicians invited from around the world and I am afraid that the story that will be told most often about this city that I now call home is how a group of neo-Nazi skin heads walk around downtown yelling at the citizens. Shame on them. Shame on their parents.

I realize that as I parent I can control very little as my children grow, however, I can control the environment they are raised in, I can control where we as a family live, I can control what comes out of their mouths while they live under my roof and I swear to you on this day that I accept the responsibility of raising my children to know respect, tolerance and peace.


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