The Week That Was. . . In Praise Of Women

 “A complete society is created when ALL its people grant each other respect, dignity and an opportunity to be all they can be free of coercion or control. When this happens equality becomes a by-product. It has nothing to do with being male or female-nothing”–JC

Commentary:

When Hillary Clinton won the nomination for the DNC last week much of the celebration was about her being the first woman to gain such a nod. Obviously I don’t have a stake in the proceedings since I don’t have a vote but I was hoping that the celebration would have been about Hillary being the best person for the job amongst those so sought to win. She will now have an opportunity to cancel a run at the presidency by a person who is clearly someone who is struggling with the idea of decency, respect, diplomacy, which doesn’t register on his radar and a political savvy that is concerning by its total absence concerning anything that comes out of his mouth.

I was wrong and, again, another golden opportunity was missed to illustrate the point that gender is second to the fact that she was the best and most qualified human being to lead the party to victory in November. Here we are again taking the discussion away from the idea that we are all first and foremost human beings and that needs to be what is important and not the size, shape and function of someone’s body. Do we need males and females in the world? Sure do. Our very existence depends on it. Do I enjoy the company of women around me and as a part of my life? Sure do. Not having women around me would be like living in a world full of red Volkswagons–pretty boring stuff not to mention not having any mental and emotional challenges that add excitement to how I see the world I live in. Women bring an exciting vision and meaning to the world-one that should be celebrated. But I always try to consider women human beings first just as I would want women to see me in the same fashion. No more or less than that.

 5 Things That We Can Do To Keep Our Relationships Healthy:

1. Continue to support our partners dreams of being all they can be and be assured that our support is freely given. Our support is vital to our partners’ success.

2. Encourage each other the freedom to speak and think for themselves without sarcasm, mockery or clearly indicating that you are not interested in what they have to say.

3. Acknowledge a job well done. Encouragement is always a valued and accepted gift.

4. Sometimes partners need to seek ‘alone’ time to deal with challenges in the relationship. Not everything that is wrong has to be-or can be-corrected immediately. People just don’t work that way. Sometimes creating a bit of space is the best course of action.

5. Be complimentary. Don’t miss an opportunity to say something pleasing or ‘nice.’ Don’t be afraid to demonstrate that you care about the other person. We sometimes find it easier to show our anger than we do our love for our partners. Try turning that around.

Music Video Of The Week:

We are human beings first but we are different from one another and those differences need to be celebrated, accepted and understood by each and every one of us. It is our differences that bring us together. That’s how we make this work. Enjoy the video.

Books For Sale:

I have some copies of ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’ now available for sale. If you know of anyone who is struggling parenting a fatherless young man and could use some help this would be an excellent resource. You can reach me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Anyways, that how I see things. All the best, Jim

Please send this along to friends and family.

I Know You’d Want One But Should You Get One?

Dog
(Photographer Unknown To Me)

“I believe in second chances. I’m not sure everyone deserves one”

Therein lies the dilemma. I want to believe that everyone should have a second chance to do the right thing or to change an action or an event that happened as the result of a regrettable impulsive decision. But then how do second chances get meted out? Who decides who gets that chance and who doesn’t? Based on what? Does it matter the severity of the event? Are there degrees to consider? I’m a black and white thinker most of the time. I’m not saying that is a good thing or not but that’s who I am. I agree that it is not always the best way to be nor is it always the most fair way to be but it is how I see the world I live in. I try to be as fair and as unbiased as I can be but that isn’t always possible or enough.

How do you do things when it comes to second chances? What criteria do you use? What standards do you employ? Would you want to be treated as you treat others-by the same measures?

Here are a few scenarios to consider and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and comments about what you would do-second chance or not: (Remember this is about giving someone another chance to right a wrong. It is not about what is fair according to your idea of right or wrong)

1. John Doe murders someone in a rage because the victim was thought to have sexually assaulted his child. He says he’s really sorry for what he has done and should have let the law do it’s duty but the anger and outrage took him over and he lost it. He asked for a dramatically reduced sentence with the promise of never doing that again. He didn’t have a record of violent behaviour. He had no legal involvement at all. John Doe was a model citizen. (It later turned out that the person who died didn’t do what he was accused of doing but that was not known at the time.) Does he deserve another chance to live his life with some purpose? Wouldn’t most respond as he did because it involved his child?

2.You hear of someone who beats his/her partner because they got drunk and angry about something they did and as a result of the beating inflicted serious head injuries and permanent damage. The person who did the beating pledges to get help with the drinking problem and given another chance will dedicate his/her life to helping others who have similar problems. His/Her point was no one knows a drunk like another drunk and he/she could help others. He/she was impaired and not responsible-right?

3. A man is caught breaking into your home in the middle of the night. You later find out that the burglar was an unemployed man who had just been cut off his benefits and had a young family to support with no means to do so. However, he didn’t get to take anything and was very remorseful and stated that he would never do that again. Does the court punish him or should the court let him off with a warning and community service?

4. How about the politician who gets caught using his/her power and position to, fraudulently, access public funds for personal gain. He’d been a faithful and dedicated public servant for a lengthy time and had a spotless record of public service. He was not only apologetic for his actions but wanted to run again and promised to donate half his salary to a local charity. His riding could really benefit from his experience and the charity could help more people in need.

5. What about the smoker who has to have a lung replaced because it is cancerous and life threatening. He had learned about the dangers of smoking from his doctor and knew it in plenty of time to avoid the eventual need for a transplant. He vowed to cut down his smoking but would not commit to quitting altogether. Does he get the operation?

6. How about the father who walked away from his family for a variety of reasons but was seen as someone who was a ‘dead beat’ dad. He was not able to pay what the court suggested he had to pay for support and therefore was banned from seeing his son until he made restitution. He found that the grass wasn’t greener and wanted to come back and try to rebuild his damaged relationship with his child but was forbidden to do so by the other parent. Should he have the right to be involved again? Hey he left once–he’ll probably run again when he gets the chance. He made his choice that’s it.

These are but a few of the scenarios that we are faced with most days as a community. They are often managed with inconsistency which creates an on-going under the surface resentment and anger among citizens. Anger and resentments mostly come from a feeling or a sense of injustice so perhaps when our systems find a way to be more consistent and fair we will experience less stress and violence in our everyday living.

So what is fair? Who gets to enjoy a second chance at turning their life around? Based on what? A big part of me wants to revert to that black and white thinking and say sorry for what is going on for you but the law is the law and there are no second chances. Would these folks have felt the same had they not been caught or otherwise held accountable for their actions–likely not. If there is no consequence for our actions then what do we learn? SHould another chance be tied to the amount of money one has?

This would be a great exercise to do with your children so that fairness and consistency could be highlighted. A great ‘teachable’ moment. Would you treat your kids the same way as you would treat the strangers outlined in the scenarios or would they ‘deserve’ different treatment. What makes it right for yours but not right for others?

Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

Please send along your thoughts and comments on what you would do–would you grant second chances or not and why?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

How Can Anyone Feel Good About This Happening ?

Owl In FLight-

Photo Credited To ‘Hurricane-thoughts.blogspot.com’

A little while ago I wrote a piece and titled it ‘What were they thinking’? It was about what was happening on some of the university campus’ and some of the truly dumb decisions and behaviours that were being demonstrated-they were head scratchers and it was difficult not to ask yourself or anybody for that matter–‘What were they thinking?’Over the past three days two instances presented themselves and I couldn’t decide which one I would choose to comment on so I wrote about them both. I promised to keep them short (shorter) so perhaps you might comment back to me what you think about the dumb things that are going on out there.

The first is about, no surprise here, government short sightedness and lack of imagination. Now if something is happening with this situation that I am not aware of I would gladly stand corrected. This program is called “Ontario Christian Gleaners” and the people involved with this program have dedicated their time to help feed at risk people in parts of the world where decent food is hard to find. Click the link here and a three minute video will help explain it much better than I. Note that all the produce used here is donated by growers and is considered to be ‘surplus’ food that would otherwise go to waste.

So I’m thinking that instead of just throwing money at countries who struggle to feed their own, we call it ‘foreign aid’, and knowing that substantial portions of this money never gets past the greasy hands of the government officials that run these countries, we could build plants in this country creating jobs for our unemployed construction workers, we could hire people to work in these plants and have their wages paid for out of the very program that we already have in place. That would be the one called ‘foreign aid’. By doing so we would be reducing our own unemployed numbers yet still using the same money that we would otherwise throw away by giving it to folks who don’t share it with those it is truly meant for. The bonus would be saving the dollars that we would otherwise be paying out for unemployment benefits. We could also help build fresh water wells which are required in the process and we would know that thousands upon thousands of men, women and children are being fed healthy balanced meals everyday. It’s a win-win.

So the obvious question is: “What are they thinking about’? “Why wouldn’t someone-anyone who collects a political salary be looking at this program and say-“Hey–we could do that”.

The other example, and perhaps more concerning in differing ways, involves stepping back 5 decades to a time of discrimination that was pretty sick stuff. The adults involved in this situation, if there are any, have no thought or consideration of what this lunacy says and indicates to their children. What lessons are to learned from this. If the salient points are in deed accurate the following information seems to be the crux of the discussion. And I thought that discrimination was finished in this country. I thought that we welcomed ‘newcomers’ to our fair land and everyone was treated equally based on who they were and what they were. I guess I had that wrong. In New Brunswick English speaking students and French speaking students are not allowed to ride on the same school bus together. Sounds a bit like the Southern States a few decades ago. The name Rosa Parks comes to mind. New Brunswick faces a 68 million dollar bill for transporting 90,000 students and much of that high cost is due to duplicating services for English and French students. They are in the midst of trying to figure out how to deal with a 500 million dollar problem funding the Education ministry and they won’t consider saving over 33 million dollars by treating their own citizens with some semblance of respect. This is all in the face of the people whose children are involved saying that using the same buses is OK by them. It’s the politicians who are the pain in the ass here. It appears that it is more important for kids to ride on different buses than it is to preserve the jobs of the teachers some of which could lose their jobs due to budgetary cut backs. HELLO! Is anybody home over there? If this doesn’t demonstrate blatant discrimination I’m not sure what does. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck–you know the rest I’m sure. They, the politicos, are trying to hide behind the 2000 Supreme Court Ruling regarding Summerside, PEI that, among other things, stated school buses and transporting kids to school is not part of the legal decision. In other words it doesn’t affect transporting students from different cultural backgrounds to school using the same bus.

Mr.Rouselle, the current Education Minister, needs to grow a pair and show some leadership instead of trying to protect his generous pension. It’s always interesting to see the spin boys at work but it is hard to see how this whole idea of multi-culturalism is being dismantled right here within our boundaries and no one will call it for what it is–a disgrace, shameful, petty and embarrassing.

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

Comments are always welcome when respectful. I can be contacted on my web page: jamescloughley.com OR jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Please pass this along to others who may benefit in some way.

Can You Guess What Is The ‘New’ Opiate For The Masses?

Poppy Fields

(Photographer Unknown To Me)

Karl Marx said that “Religion is the opiate of the people”. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on any of this. But, to me, I don’t think he was condemning religion at all but rather was just stating that, to him, he saw religion and all of its peculiarities, branches and differing philosophies as an opiate–a psychological and spiritual drug which became the perfect diversion or panacea from having to live life day after day trying to sort out and deal with life’s disappointments, distractions, conundrums, coincidences, violence and it’s fears. It’s easier to place that burden, some possible solutions and the responsibility on the shoulders of a higher and more capable deity–the supreme commander of an unexplained and impossible to ‘prove’ existence in a different realm. There are many ‘challengers’vying for the chance to become the new ‘opiate’, such as Prozac and cannabis and alcohol has always been in the background yelling ‘what about me–take me.’ But the one that has shown to be the more resilient and a more powerful ‘opiate’ for the people is MONEY. People today will do most anything to acquire it, get more of it and to keep what they have of it at present. It has become the single most important driving force we have known and partly because of the power that often comes with it. We will cheat to get it, lie to those we care for to get it and we become secretive around how much of it we have. We have been known to sell our soul for it as well. Sounds like a religion of sorts.

This is only my perspective (something that we all have and exercise) of course but I believe money is the most dangerous ‘opiate’ for the people–ever. I use the word perspective here in this context. Let’s consider the word ‘hot’ for instance. Heat can be used as a good thing like using it to purify or it can be used to harm someone or something–to destroy. If we consider ‘assistance’ it can be seen as ‘charity’ and ‘enabling’ or it can be seen as ‘helping and caring’. No right or wrong. With money it can be seen as a tool for good or an instrument to gain power in order to get more money. So ones’ perspective is important when we consider ‘opiates’ for anything.

Where I am going with this is back to Parliament Hill where 40 ‘new’ Senators are being investigated for, allegedly, fudging their expense accounts. In some cases involving hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money. And this just isn’t Conservative Senators but Senators from all parties. Again, for me, this is just about greed and entitlement but the real concern is that they believe that what they are doing is justified–that is is OK. There is no remorse or contrition here. Even with their hands implanted firmly in the ‘cookie jar’ they stand defiant. They have no reasonable perspective–there doesn’t seem to be another view to explain their behaviour. That’s what makes it dangerous to me. Move over Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy. This has become the new ‘opiate’. People will now corrupt themselves, work two jobs, all but abandon their families and their responsibilities to their children for the chase and the capture of money. Many have given up their ‘religious’ affiliations to pursue yet more money because they have more time and offer out less in terms of the collection plate at church. The good service work that many churches do both domestically and on foreign soil is stopping because there is a dwindling sense of purpose. Just as Marx saw ‘religion’ as the perfect diversion for many the pursuit of money has now supplanted it as the next or new ‘opiate’. No matter however much you have it is never enough and more effort is put into gaining and controlling more of it. Mr. Harper is throwing our money around like it is his. He is buying personal favour in the world following his defeat in the next election. He may be many things but stupid is not one of them. His latest bit of federal business will cost the Canadian taxpayer $528,000,000.00 in exchange for one years military service to the ‘alliance’ to bomb the hell out of people they can’t or don’t know. This ‘generosity’ comes at a time when seniors are told that their complaints about the rates of CPP and OAS are greedy and ill founded and not going to happen. Can you imagine the politicians telling US that we are greedy. The arrogance is near criminal. But this is how the ‘opiate’ works. It kills pain and it kills perspective–both casualties attributed to this group in Ottawa.

My recommendation would be this: for all and any of those who are found to be guilty of padding their expense accounts–in effect wilfully cheating the taxpayers–would be enough cause for them to lose their pensions-completely and immediately, then they should be removed from the senate, immediately’ and for there to be a referendum called and placed on the next federal ticket at election time so that the whole country gets to decide how much longer we would like to be fleeced by those who seem to have difficulty keeping their hands in their own pockets and have lost or misplaced their perspective. If fraud is committed should they not be charged just like an ordinary citizen? Actually I think they should be held to a much higher standard because they are in breech of the public trust. Perhaps a jail term of some kind would be appropriate as well.

I end this with a simple thought. What do our children learn from the adults around them and how could we expect anything different than what we are seeing from many of our kids right now. We need to be ashamed of ourselves, as adults, for letting our kids be a part of what is allowed to happen today.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

To make any comments please contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com
Your comments are always welcomed whether you agree or disagree. If you know of any others out there who may benefit from this article please forward it to them–with my thanks.

It’s Not Much Fun Being Us . . .

Sitting On The Edge Of The World

“The world has become a very lonely place for many men these days”–(photographer unknown to me)

When I first saw this photo I instantly identified with how difficult it is to find our place in the world. On the surface of it it looks rather tranquil and peaceful but it could easily be lonely and empty.

Having said that the one thing that I believe we, as men, need to do is stop listening to everybody who has an idea of what and who we should be. The changing world has become a place that is increasingly more difficult to understand for men these days and the speed or the rate of change is very difficult to cope with. A man’s world, for many, is a place where there is confusion, frustration, fear, judgement, emptiness, loneliness and anger. We have gone from a place of being dominant and dominating to a place where we are basically a shadow of who we used to be and, for many, ineffectual in terms of providing true leadership. I’d be among the first to agree that we needed to back off the dominating place we had assumed and also among the first to agree that we have become mere shells of who we were. Instead of being leaders and decision makers and strong family oriented people we have become disconnected, displaced and found guilty of what I’m not sure by those who have no idea what it means to be male and won’t be happy until men are subjugated. How sad. How sad that we cannot find a middle ground that promotes and encourages women to strive for the success they deserve and, at the same time, allow men to be men-to be who they really are in the world. I, for one, am tired of the whining and the threatening and the posturing and the manipulating on both sides of this struggle. There can be no clear winner. If there were a winner that would mean that someone would be a loser. The only thing that might happen then is a change in social structure but not disposition.

We are supposed to be adults, whatever that means, so how do we navigate these treacherous waters and have both men and women feel as though they each won the day. Men need to allow women the freedom and the support and the respect they deserve so that they can pursue their dreams just like men want to pursue their dreams and feel that their gifts are appreciated and recognized. Some might say that it is all about feeding the ego and frankly I don’t care what it’s called. We are destroying ourselves, as a society, and we don’t seem to recognize it or care. The folks on either end of the spectrum in this fight are so stubborn that they would rather go down in flames than to wave the flag and negotiate a meaningful peace that suits and serves us all. It’s doable but only if both sides want it and are willing to work for it. That means give and take on BOTH sides.

I can only speak to the men’s side of things but we, men, need to wake up and accept that this is a new world and it will not go back to the ways and days of old. Good. But this new world must see us and accept as viable, important, meaningful, creative, intelligent, an equal partner. We are natural hunters, warriors, care takers, protectors and the one who takes the bullet for the village and for the family. Those who try to mess with this set up will be confronted with anger, resentment and aggression if need be. We are not much different now than we were hundreds perhaps thousands of years ago. Men will only hear this message from other MEN. Why is this so hard to grasp? Men need to be sure that they have the backing and the acceptance of other men before they will begin to feel OK about being seen as other than who they think/feel they are. We ask: Is concession the same as weakness? Is granting women an equal part of respect and acceptance the same as caving in and giving up? Why is it so difficult for women to accept that men are who they are? STOP trying to change us into something we are not and won’t be. This doesn’t mean that we can’t coexist and be accepting partners in the world. Besides respect, opportunity and freedom what is it women want? Why is it so difficult for men to drop their opposition to changing some of the ‘rules’ and recognize that there are many women out there who are intelligent, very capable, creative, driven and just want what other human beings want. That is a chance to demonstrate they have a rightful place in society and that they can be and are, rightfully so, key players in how the world spins.

If we don’t come to some actual agreements as to how we will choose to live our lives for the betterment of ALL, the big losers, of course, will be our children. They are the next generation of soldiers in this unnecessary struggle for?????

My hope is that we teach our children about human rights and leave the gender issue out of the conversation. No one gender is more deserving than the other. I believe that many more people would get on board if the changes were about treating each other with the same degree of respect and dignity. We all need to be provided with every opportunity to succeed as human beings.

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

As always your respectful comments and thoughts are welcome. You can connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR
jamescloughley.com

As Canadians Are We Really As Free As We Think We Are?

Soon But Not Yet . . .

Photographer Unknown To Me

Just recently I was involved in a conversation with 7-8 others about a topic that many of us seldom speak about: the extent to which we feel “free”. I must confess that I am or was one of those people who was born into freedom. As many of us did, I had family relations go to war in it’s name and am reminded of the value of those freedoms fought for and won every November 11th.

So my thoughts/questions to you are: How free do you feel considering how you live your life each day? Fine isn’t an answer. You need to be able to share, at least with someone close to you, what it means specifically.

I love this country. There is no greater country to live in than Canada. And yes we are free to do most things. We can travel anywhere we want at any time we want and with anyone we want. We can vote for the candidate(s) of our choice in free elections. We are free to practice the religion of our choice. We are allowed to speak our minds in public and protest, in a peaceful manner, our government without penalty–I think? I am free to write about things that displease me or that I find contentious and I can be critical of others if I want to be. I can buy what I want from whomever I want and I can sell whatever I want to whomever I please. I am free to smoke, drink and be merry anytime I want. I am free to love anyone I choose and to marry the love of my life regardless of their gender, race or religion. We are free to assemble and we have a free press and language rights. On the surface I agree that this sounds like a really good deal and for the most part it is. However, I’m very concerned that many have begun to forget how important it is not to take our freedoms for granted. And yet, those precious gifts of freedom are being eroded by folks who have other agendas and those agendas are not all that honourable.

Basically what I outlined above is true but not accurate. The Charter Of Rights And Freedoms provide for the entrenchment of our rights but there are now laws either passed or soon to be passed that would compromise those very rights. There are exceptions, consequences and penalties attached to some of these ‘freedoms’now. The untouchables have been touched. Just because we believe these freedoms can’t be taken away from us does not make them forever.

We maintain that we are free to do whatever we want. But freedom of speech does not allow one person to defame or lie about another in order to slander them or implicate them unjustly in a crime. There are penalties for that and so there should be. So there are limits as to what freedom of speech allows and means. When considering voting it’s true we can vote for anyone on the ballot without coercion or threat. Any of us can seek office if we meet the criteria to run. We are free to smoke, to drink and be disruptive and obnoxious in public but only in certain places. Again I agree that this is for the greater good. Free press and media is ruled more by political correctness now than at any other time so they aren’t quite ‘free’ to write or do what they want if staying in business is a priority. This is where it starts to get a bit contentious for me however. We are said to be free to practice the religion of our choice, for instance, and yet that is not true. While others are free to openly pray in public, Christians are not. If we do then we are sanctioned. That is not freedom. While major pieces of legislation are being run through parliament we don’t have much of a say, really, in whether that legislation passes or not. When was the last time your federal member stopped by your house to ask you what you thought about capital punishment, going to war or raising taxes-again. Mine either. How then is this true democracy and yet democracy is outlined as a must in the charter. The proposed anti-terrorist legislation will give the government many many opportunities to spy on us and to monitor phone calls, emails, web site surfing all in the name of our national security. I don’t trust them with that sort of power. They have proven themselves untrustworthy. I’m all for stopping terrorism and terrorists from gaining a foot hold in this country but at what cost to us as citizens? How much liberty do we sacrifice? What’s the old saying: “Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best”–Edward Abbey. Legislation, once passed, is nigh on impossible to undo.

And then there is freedom of speech. How free is it–really? If the following is true Mr. Harper needs to answer for his statement in a public forum. He seems to have forgotten that he works for us and not the other way around. If this statement is true then he is nothing but a bully. Bullies don’t lead they threaten. If the quote is accurate then perhaps Mr. Harper doesn’t concern himself with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms after all. So much for free speech. The following contains a quote from a memo that, apparently, was attributed to Mr. Harper: “You’ll never believe what a leaked RCMP memo from last week says about you (as a citizen). If you oppose the furious rush to build pipelines and expand the tar sands like I do(says the writer of the article), then you’re considered to be a “violent anti-petroleum extremist.”

**The memo literally says that those of us who oppose pipelines should be seen and treated as potential criminal and security threats. I honestly could not believe what I was reading.’

So with a Prime Minister who feels that way about freedom to speak your mind the question is: Are we really as FREE as we think we are?

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best–Jim

Comments are always welcomed: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

What Part Am I Not Getting? Help Wanted

Young Dad Holding Baby Son

” Western thinking is failing because it’s complacent arrogance prevents it from seeing the extent of its failure”
–Edward DeBono

Here I am again–I feel like the village idiot. I’m just not ‘getting it’. This week, in Toronto, a group called C.A.F.E. or Canadian Association for Equality was opening a Center for Men and Families. I admit that I don’t know much more about this outfit than has been written in the papers. What I do know, for certain, is that I have studied men’s issues, their complexity and scope for quite some time. I also know that a place where men of all ages can go for advocacy, support and an educated ear is/was sorely needed. Then the other shoe fell and the elation that was mine turned to disappointment. At least one of the T.O. papers were quite sceptical about the ‘how, what and who’of it all. It seemed that all was not well among some of the women’s groups who thought that this was opportunistic, not really what it was purported to be and was against women’s rights. Basically a replay of the ‘old days.’ A front for a group who would use the same tactics and focus to return to a time when men were kings and women were subjugated.

In all I read I didn’t see or get that view. If there is proof of other things going on-if there is something else happening that we, the public interest, needs to know then please share it with us so that we can become better informed. If this outfit isn’t who or what they say they are then it wont take long to figure that out and most men, I believe, would stay away in droves. Donations, fund raising efforts and contributions would all but dry up. The ‘problem’ would take care of itself.

Back in the 20’s when the women’s movement began to catch hold there were accusations, tactics and comments used by groups of men who had absolutely no desire to share their spotlight with women. Women had their place, said many of these men of those days, and the public eye was not it. But courageous women fought through under the most hazardous and gut wrenching times to survive, grow and become much more relevant in more modern times. I say good for them because what they did and what they accomplished was not only good for women but it was helpful to many free thinking and progressive men as well.

What I don’t get, then, is why all this negativity? Don’t men deserve the same opportunities to health, welfare, fairness both legally and socially, equality, full custodial opportunities, learning opportunities and support networks. Why is it any less important for men to enjoy these same possibilities? I don’t want to be argumentative here. I’m just trying to understand what the difference is. We–men–are not the enemy nor are we the cause of all the unfairness in the world. Having worked in the public service as a Social Service Worker for over 20 years I could repeat stories about the unfairness of the system that favoured women as well but getting into a he said/she said and she did that too situation is just unproductive here or anywhere for that matter.

The issues that surround men and the difficulties that men are having adapting to the ‘new world’ are well known. The issues connected to fatherlessness are also well known especially where they relate to most social indicators: public violence, teen suicide rates, disproportionate mental health issues, sexual violence and assault, teenage pregnancies, learning challenges and high drop out rates, increased incidence of rape, and dramatic increases in substance use. Men are also victims of domestic violence but these incidents are vastly under-reported so they receive little if any public scrutiny. I would have thought that any attempt by men to begin to address these and other important issues which, hopefully, would improve the safety and well being of women would have been welcomed and applauded. Finally men will have a chance to talk about much of this stuff and receive a fair hearing. It is important that these messages come from other men who understand the importance of seeing and treating all human beings in an equal way. That’s the message that needs to be heard. Having these issues out in the light of day can do nothing but make it a safer and more equitable place for all of us–men AND women.

Equality always comes with a price attached to it. If we are all fighting to be heard and to be treated equally then we will all have to pay a price for the privilege. I don’t know what that price will be. I just know that it will need to be paid by ALL of us. If equality is really the goal then we should each have the same right to advocate for a fair and just system but not at the expense of gains realized by others. There is no gain if someone loses something in the process.

I confess I’m a little tired of being labelled a misogynist if I don’t agree with all the points that some of the women’s groups are putting out there. The fact is I don’t agree with all that is said. For instance the legal system needs a top to bottom overhaul when it comes to custodial and support issues. If fairness and equality are the goals and honest change is sought then this is the place to start.

In any large, growing movement there is always going to be the ‘haters’–those who are radical and militant. Both sides of this discussion have those ‘haters’ in their midst. Let’s leave them out of the effort to attain some equality, respect and good will so that the work we do will provide some change and some progress that will feed us to do bigger things.

Anyways, that’s the way I see it–all the best and thanks for coming out–Jim

Please send me your comments pro or con–let me know what you are thinking

Contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

Feminism. What Does It Really Mean Today ?

If They Can Get Along Then Why Can’t We?

Recently I began reading a collection of blogs on a site I follow hoping to gain a greater understanding of what feminism means. I don’t claim to know more than anyone else and I will openly cop to that but it seems that the topic has become an ‘ideological football’ with teams claiming to know better than the other guys. What started out as spirited dialogue plummeted into name calling and character assassination and the points trying to be made got lost.

Feminists are on about the treatment of women in foreign countries and how awful it is. To be clear as a male in the world I, too, am horrified-really horrified-that the rest of the world accepts the brutality and the logic of beating someone who has been raped or a young girl who is held down and, against her will, is circumcised with a broken bottle or a knife. The so-called civilized nations of the world and I include the toothless tiger referred to as the United Nations in this criticism, turns a blind eye because the behaviour is said to be cultural in origin and therefore somehow is OK. Sadly, these practices and others appear to be beyond the reach of world condemnation or judgement or sanction. It is not OK. It is nothing short of barbaric and needs to be condemned in the strongest way possible by the rest of the civilized world. But the bickering, and the negative emotional energy that is being spent by feminists defending who said what about what is self defeating and polarizing. And to even hint that men don’t have any idea about what this is like is simply absurd.  While we are scrapping amongst ourselves we are not paying attention to the real issues. The feminists and those supporting feminism need to clearly define what ‘feminism’ means today because I suspect that the definition would be quite different from what it used to mean.

One strong voice speaking for all those who want to see this brutality stopped is needed but those who favour a unified voice are finding it difficult because they are not quite sure what they are fighting for any more. Can we not take ‘feminism’ and ‘masculinism’ out of the glossary of terms and just say those who care are speaking as one. There are a great number of males out here who really do support gender equality as a global concept.That concept, however, needs to include children and other men as well.

There are those women who want to rule the world and there are men who wish to do the same. Theirs is a different struggle. They are not going to be much help to any of us who hope to see the world become a more accepting, caring, encouraging and tolerant world.

Trying to affect a change in a foreign country concerning their traditions and their cultural obsessions is, in my view, beginning with a non-starter. Expending a great deal of emotional energy and valuable resources trying to do that (change the unchangeable) allows us an opportunity to vent and threaten and not much else. We have no voice ‘over there’ and we have no power or control over what does or does not happen next. But we do have some control over the people we elect to represent us and perhaps if we were to:
1. energize and organize those who support the idea of a single voice speaking for all those who value equality for everyone (it is not just a ‘feminist’ ideal) then we could work to ending global barbarism.
2. encourage them to begin voting for representatives who have proven or pledge to support efforts to end the unjust, horrid and brutal tenents of Sharia Law.
3. just plain stop doing business with those countries who don’t support our view of equality where it concerns the rights and freedoms of women AND men AND children. Perhaps the celebs could contribute to that effort with their wealth and their public statements and support for such an approach. I’m not sure how many would get on THAT bandwagon but it would go a long ways in terms of touching people in other countries because of their international face and notoriety. People around the world may not know who Steven Harper is but they know who Wayne Gretzky is. Celebs carry weight–use it wisely.

MOST importantly we cannot take our eyes off the ball here at home by allowing any discussion to gain a foot hold regarding Sharia Law and how it should be applied to members of the Muslim faith who reside on our home turf. If we aren’t careful the ‘wolf’ could and would sneak in the back door while we are guarding the front door. Don’t be naive enough to believe that that could never happen–not here. 911 could never happen either we were told.

Let’s make sure that our own house is in order and safe before we begin running off trying, with the best of intentions, to be trail blazers in other countries where we have no power. Let’s try to control what is within our power to do so. Once we do that we can encourage other ‘free world people’ to follow our lead and build a world force armed with resources and world political support. Then we would have a better chance of effecting some basic changes regarding world accepted standards for living in freedom. I would imagine that the countries who live by Sharia Law would have to pay attention to the call of the ‘free’ world if the ‘free’ world stopped doing business with them.

?????? Ever wonder how many of our commercial dollars currently go to groups who are dedicated to wiping us off the surface of the planet? Are we not financing our own destruction?

I often wonder why Muslims who live a free and prosperous life in the west or other parts of the world don’t do more to end the horrors in their own country? Why they don’t fight their own battles?

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

Please pass this article along to friends and have them do the same.

Comments, pro/con are welcome. Connect with me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or go to jamescloughley.com (web page)

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