Residential Schools

I’m a recent observer of Ontarian/Canadian politics, but I wanted to chime in on this media frenzy.

The Federal Government of Canada, like so many governments before it, kidnapped innocent children from their parents and sent them off to indoctrination schools – so that they could learn to be ‘Canadian.’

Reminds me of a much starker version of my own time at public school, but I digress.

Now, ‘Aboriginal leaders,’ like ‘black leaders’ and ‘feminist leaders,’ have transformed a real tragedy into a plea for power and public funds.

Will Stephen Harper apologize correctly? Will the settlement (with the taxpayers, not the perpetrators) be large enough to heal the pain? These are the wrong questions.

Not once have I heard about bringing those involved to justice. If this has happened, enlighten me. I’ve read that this program lasted until the 70s. Well, I say round up every teacher, every Mountie, every politician involved with this program, and try them in a court of law. That’s restitution.

What does it mean for Stephen Harper to make an apology to these people? It doesn’t fix anything. He wasn’t even involved. And to be frank, Harper or Dion or any of these guys would have watched in silence if they were in power when this was going on.

Don’t demand political apologies, and don’t make yourselves welfare babies. Ask only for prosecution of those involved, and work to shrink the Federal Government that made this atrocity possible.

This is not coming from an ideological place. I genuinely feel saddened and disgusted about what I’ve learned happened to these innocent children, and their helpless parents. And I genuinely believe that it will happen again. And I know that the course on which these injured souls are being led is not for their benefit – but for the benefit of the very institution that enslaved them: the Canadian Federal Government.

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The Withdrawal Method

What do we expect of ourselves – the radicals and reformers of history – when it comes to living day-to-day amongst the instinctual conservatism of the masses?

They seem not to care what temperature it is, as long as the gradients are wide. If they boil to death, fear not, because the boiling is not today, but years away, and further your friends and family share the pot.

There are those of us with high ideals, which risk being pulled into the rushing stream of pragmatism. We are taught to make do, to compromise, to leave alone those things which we cannot control. And yet, we know that this is so opposite the answer that we need that it illustrates why we are lost to start.

The car, for example, is a beast that lures us, swallows us, and waits for us. It offers us convenience, then demands we shape our world to suit it. Think about it – you blasted suburbanites. Could you walk to a store if you wanted to? No. Mostly, you are trapped in your stick-built, two-thousand square feet.

And now, we are at a juncture where the reformers you have ignored have been borne out. George Dubya Bush, Pretender to the Presidency, hoisted up in his demagoguery by suburbia, has been a key player in the forced end of cheap energy. His foreign wars, fought in the name of oil interests, have collapsed the federal currency and driven oil prices to record highs.

But, instead of giving up that wasteful and ugly lifestyle, the car-people are working hard to be lazy: hypermiling, buying hybrids, carpooling. And then there’s us, the lonely reformers, steps ahead and pushing against the immovable rock of habit. There’s only one place for us to live on this continent: New York City. So, we try our best with its elevated housing prices, a symptom of so many people wanting something and so little providing.

Developers, take note, we need more Manhattan and less LA. We need more pedestrianized roads and less superhighways. Robert Moses was the monkeyrencher; Jane Jacobs built the city.

The radicals and reformers, we see these the future, and feel the pain of Cassandra until those who prefer to keep their heads low finally join us on our pedestal.