Written by Grant G
I watched an old movie last night, ...Easy Rider starring Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Jack Nicholson, it was filmed in 1969 and to me, after viewing it again it seems to resonate the real reality of the human animal`s mindset, the movie and its underlying message is more in play today than it was 45 years ago..
Different, appearing different, middle rural America, a 1969 United States grappling with the unraveling of the chained blackman, white self chosen normal Americans had much difficulty in letting go superiority over the lessor, their perceived lessor Americans, many argue the superiority syndrome never left, still exists today and equal rights doesn`t equate to equal treatment..and I find it hard to argue against that meme.
Mankind`s genetic flaw, conformity, an objection to minority, aversion to those different, by culture, by dress and especially by belief, or religion..
My own upbringing, in thinking back, looking through the lens of time, education in my era was merely terraforming, rolling out students like widgets off an assembly line, conform, comply and fit in comfortably, ...A couple of stories from my youth, Camille Jones, a pretty young girl from my tender years, she wore jeans so tight and shirts so revealing, constantly in trouble with the establishment over her non-conformity, their perceived non-conformity, she caught and had my eye, still does, even though I haven`t seen her for decades, Camille`s most ruthless foes at the time was not teachers it was stay at home mothers and their daughters, the widgets, factory special be like us dress like us talk like us piers, the other girls were not friendly, timidity and lack of courage to challenge the status quo made Camille Jones an outcast among the factory specials..
Falco was his name, never even knew the boy`s last name, he dressed in black, was quiet, kept to himself and ate mainly home-grown vegetable sandwiches, wasn`t popular, didn`t play soccer and never attempted to integrate or accept the programming of Canadians, I know now, didn`t know it at the time and without my dad`s persistent drilling messages, telling me, demanding that I think individually and to challenge everything, without my Dad`s warnings I too would probably be a widget..
Dad was raised in a very religious family, God will care for you if you accept the doctrine, abide by the faith(ful) rules, my Dad was forbidden to go to the movies, to friend boys of other faith but the times were achangin and the great man, my father rejected faith, turned away from religion, yet he can quote every biblical verse and phrase and understands the meaning, for Dad, free thinking and solemn choice was more important than scripture...Dad acted out and lived his life, not as a sinner but as a man open to ideas, open to change, as a man who wrote written words with his left hand no matter how hard the establishment forced him to scribe with his right..I too am left handed..
Falco didn`t fit in, we widget boys teased, taunted and in looking back terrorized Falco with relentless name calling, Falco was now known as Faggo, a homosexual slur directed at the boy for no other reason than for what he ate and how he dressed, I found myself calling Falco that name, others too, he never harmed me, didn`t name call back, I wasn`t the first to call him those names but I was one of the last...Falco committed suicide, we the mass produced factory special boys drove Falco over the edge, none of us said sorry on his death,, it was like he never existed, no somber funeral, no school announcement, move on and carry on....Two grade years later a teacher sent me home from school for wearing a simple white T-shirt that had on its front the words...Suck-em-up..below a picture of a mug of beer ... sent home and suspended..... Dad had brought me the shirt back from Hawaii....My teacher, a Ms. Fox claimed it meant something else, as in a sexual something else, and I was no sexy student or involved in sexual relations with anyone, although my love for Camille Jones was engrained in my mind, she too was tossed from school, although much earlier..
To get back in school, to have my suspension removed had to promise not to wear that shirt ever again, apologize and basically conform, I apologized, promised not to wear the shirt again and returned, however, the table had been set, within a week I was gone from school, this time the choice was mine, never to return, my dad was right, went to work, went up north, lived with men, with free-thinkers and remembered every lesson dad taught me, my greatest teacher..
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, young men, a long hair, a rebel, non-conformists, jailed, chased out of towns, ridiculed by the faithful believers, by those indoctrinated, in the end they were both shot, killed by what we call today rednecks on a highway in rural America for the mere sin of being different, the more time goes by the more things seem to stay the same, hatred of difference, clashing of religious faiths, head gear, face coverings, social economic place in life...Chicken manure thrown on homeless people in Coquitlam and Abbottsford, directed by elected officials, elected officials responding to requests from religious constituents within their conformity towns, chase them heathens out..
Seeing Canadian politicians exploiting difference and fear as a tool and a means to maintain their grip on power is more frightening than anything I ever seen in my life, have we forgot the mass peace marches against the unwinnable and ongoing Vietnam war, have we forgotten newscasts from decades ago showing scenes in Iran and other countries, large groups of people with signs saying death to the west, death to America, nothing seems to have changed, only the names of the enemies.
Why now does foreign hatred of us require unfettered police powers here, here in Canada? the ability of CSIS and the RCMP to jail us, on mere suspicion..Middle eastern hatred of American/western civilization is nothing new.
I wish I could have been schooled today, teachers today fighting for acceptance of difference, for gay, lesbian and transgender students, educators wanting diversification, wanting free thinkers, public teachers of mind now waging war not against different students but against a BC Liberal Government hell bent on starving resources from our children, forcing conformity, preaching LNG trades and ditch digging as the new normal while simultaneously endorsing the same religious factory doctrine that has caused great grief since time began..
A federal Conservative government engaging in an election campaign based on bigotry, hatred and fear, puzzles me, thy name may be Conservative but thy actions are of excessive spoilage, not to conserve water, preserve farmland, not to be frugal, no long term conservation of finite resources but sell, dig, export, slash, cut, burn, pollute, a growing pattern of giving more and more away while receiving less and less in return, a corporate government determined to concentrate wealth and privilege for the few, this puzzles me, a logical thinker would believe that religious zealots and those religious types would reject our Conservative government, but they don`t, they embrace this abuse, why, out of fear of change, fear of headgear..
Tom Mulcair has taken many principled positions against Stephen Harper`s nasty omnibus bills only to be rewarded with falling poll numbers, Justin Trudeau is forced to placate the cantankerous many by accepting ugly legislation, albeit with a promise of amendment and I understand his reasoning, principled stances don`t win elections and without stripping power from the evil that is Stephen Harper his status quo widget factory ideology will remain, stagnating religious indoctrination will continue to fester.
Poll after poll tells us that Stephen Harper`s largest voting demographic is those older than 65 and in particular older white less educated males..
"The demographic profile with respect to age, education, and gender is pretty familiar, with the Conservatives in great shape with older, male and less well-educated Canadians. Perhaps the most interesting demographic pattern is the link to the new Canadian vote. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s public comments about ‘jihadists’ and the niqab seem to be finding favour with the less educated and with francophone voters in Quebec, particularly in Quebec City. But there seems to be a tradeoff: The Conservatives are now doing poorly with new Canadians, which is now one of the strongest segments of Liberal support."
I owe a big thank you to my dad for forcing me to think, can`t imagine being lumped into a category described as older less educated males, my youth, factory conformity with a widget producing educational system, ....Looking back it makes perfect sense why the polling and voting demographic is so, explains why corporate ideological Governments are starving public education while simultaneously enhancing religious based widgeteering education..
Invoking fear, bigotry and difference as wedge issues to drive apart, to segregate Canadians, assaulting science and silencing scientific voices, maybe one day more progressives(like the newest Pope) will gain control of the widget factories, of government and educate the future generations, teach them to accept free thought, to abhor the propaganda preached by corporations and false gods.
Maybe one day the cantankerous many will turn into the endangered few.
Written by Grant G
P.S....I`ll always love you Camille, my first encounter with a free spirit...
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open