4 Game Changers We Need To Pay Attention To . . .

A tornado eating a rainbow’–Photographer Unknown to me.

Most would likely agree that the picture above is mesmerising and that it will not be seen very often. Some become awestruck-almost paralysed by the sight of it. It is in that paralysis that all the damage to the rainbow is done, however, and before we know it the rainbow is gone. The tornado, then, moves on like it wasn’t even there.

I find the picture is symbolic of some of the things going on around us right now. Before we know it our lives will have changed and we won’t know how or when that happened. It reminds me of taxes and tolls, rules and regulations. Like them or not they become part of what ‘is’. Such is my concern about the following 4 examples of ‘our tornado eating our rainbow’. In no particular order of importance:

1. Education. So much research has been done to examine the positive connection between a civilized society, lower rates of violence, personal stability, equality, freedom and more stable and sustainable democracies and a strong, well defined, relevant and informed educational system. Unfortunately, for the last 50 years at least and the last 10 years for certain, we have been moving to the edge of becoming less relevant in the economic world and less likely to be held up as a shining example of democracy and prosperity. Our children are dangerously close to being unprepared to compete for world class employment opportunities because our educational system has not kept up to date on what is needed to compete with regards to skill development. (Much more on this to come in future articles). We, and parents in particular, need to insert ourselves into the process of developing new curricula and re-defining learning environments that are much more relevant and appropriate for our children so they will, at least, be better prepared to compete on the global stage.

2. Freedom of the press. I am NOT suggesting curtailing the function of the press. Freedom of the press is a must if any nation/society wishes to protect and enhance their freedom to speak and decide. But what I see happening is the press is now in a place where it must compete for readership–for their ‘piece of the pie’ and they are losing that struggle. The Internet and social media have all but stabbed the free press directly in the heart and it is bleeding to death. Readership is way down. The printed media is almost extinct certainly when we compare it to where it was just 10-15 years ago. So now the press has taken to sensationalism and printing more innuendo than facts. I have always maintained that the press needs to report the news and not attempt to create the news. Consider this example.

If this story is true than we need to ask ‘what is the Toronto Star’ doing printing a story like this WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING THE FACTS? Not sure I want this media outlet reporting my news. Freedom of the press must be absolute and that means diligent as well as honest and truthful.

3. Freedom to speak your mind:  I want to be perfectly clear here. I am not nor would I ever  consider following Donald Trump anywhere for anything. BUT. I do respect his right to be an idiot and to try to convince people to vote for him. As much as he deserves to be removed from the race to be president he also has a right to approach that goal however he may within the laws of the land.

When I look deeper into the possible up-side of his candidacy I’m thinking that we-and I say Canadians, Americans and all lovers of freedom and democracy for that matter, need to pay attention to what is happening. DT represents all that is awful in someone and for him to run for president and actually stand a chance to be elected speaks volumes about what is wrong with the current system. That aside I support his right to be absurd. In this case the American people will make that distinction, hopefully, in November. It’s not the Trumps of this world that frighten me but rather those behind the scenes-the power brokers-that 1% that we hear about who control an enormous amount of the wealth. Those are the ones we need to watch. We need to be sure that they never have enough control and power in the system to hurt us more than they have. We need to stay vigilant and we need to be much smarter in the voting booth regarding who we entrust to do our bidding. We still have the power of the ballot box to do our speaking but for how long?

4. Political Correctness: My favourite pin cushion. This is a movement that has fought great fights and is responsible for so much good in the world. The principles and the dedication shown by the believers/activists has brought light to otherwise dark, dangerous and ruthless places. BUT. It is time for PC to go away now. People–good people need to be able to voice their opinions without fear of being centered out or identified as racists or antagonists just because we might disagree with what someone else says or believes. We cannot survive if the adage “if you are not part of the solution then you must be part of the problem” is in play.  Isn’t this the very same principle that PC fought on in the first place. Hmmm. Confusing. Let’s not allow PC to determine all of our human rights and the outcomes of all of our disagreements.

Anyways, that’s how I see it. All the best and thanks for dropping by, Jim.

Comments are always welcome-please connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Please send this along to family and friends as well–with thanks.

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

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