It makes me chortle to think that I sound like my mother more and more.
I never thought I’ld say that. But as time goes on, I wonder what she would have thought about the things I grumble about. Actually I kinda know – as she always hated Trump, but we have our own mini Trump as a premier in Ontario, a politico who has taken aim at the exact motherhood issues so close to a parent’s heart- safety, daycare and education of our children.
That one will be able to purchase booze at 9am and drive faster on the highways builds into the mentality of adolescent boys, drunk with the idea that they are embracing freedom. There is all ready so much rage on the roads, frustration, delays and pent up emotion, all feeding into these stupid reversals that I cannot fathom even the idea of pressing forward with these initiatives . Driving drunk is no joke and I think of the mother’s who organized MADD, based on he heartbreak of losing a child in a stupid stupid accident. And fairly recently an entire family,three children and a grandfather were destroyed by a soon to be groom returning from his bachelor party in Las Vegas. Can you even imagine such a tragedy for a mother ? Truly, for what purpose should liquor be made available to wash down your toast and marmalade?
And the assault on libraries also breaks a mother’s heart. For me, escape, relaxation development of imagination along with precious time spent bouncing along side my own once youthful mother to and fro to the library were joys I will never forget. I see in my mind’s eye those Saturday mornings curled on a Library couch, devouring a book while my sister and mother chatted and browsed- and on the way home, happiness of happiness- a detour for a thick creamy straw- stopping milkshake. Treasures I will not forget.
And now that libraries have been transformed into community aid, activity centres and outposts of computers, they serve a greater need, especially for children in rural areas. They are sanctuaries, escapes, and unlike malls where the object is to purchase something or just hang out, the library provides a quiet ( or not) space to think your thoughts, research , or discover an author you never knew existed. The kindness of librarians sharing their personal excitement like sticky raspberry jam rubbed off on me.
Elizabeth Renzetti in her Saturday Globe article It blows to be a kid in Ontario now, but they’re still our best hope for the future states,
“I’m not sure where to even begin detailing the provincial government’s betrayal of the province’s children[ and by extension, mothers] , so vast and senseless has the chaos been. Should we start with the families whose children live with autism…That was a big betrayal, but the small ones hurt, too, such as the government’s decision in December to cut funds for after-school programs and inclass tutoring. Let’s get them out on the street instead, where they’ll learn to make small change buying weed in parking lots. It’s the new math, so favoured by this government…”
It is brutal to cut these supportive services for kids, particularly those families at risk along with the employees drawn to their profession because of their passion for reading, learning, kids and the desire for creating better futures for those who need them most. Even in this fast, crazy technologically influenced world, my own grandsons with all their gizmos, adore the library and the opportunity to just meander about there. And after school daycare at their school is a festival of intelligent activities that stimulates minds by people who truly care.
All this has to do with educating the mind and the soul, finding sources upon which to grow. Without a strong public investment and interest , necessary support will fade and one of the last bastions of a thoughtful society will disappear. The Nazis, of course, burnt books. Libraries in Cairo, Alexandria, Baghdad, the University of Mosul destroyed by Isis were all put to ruin because of a dictator’s belief in their damaging potential to spark a person to think and offer fresh or alternative perspectives, dangerous to the ruling powers. Knowledge lost. Democracy abandoned , a forbidden concept.
People once more controlled- and maintained ignorant like messy teenage boys in their desire for drink and fast cars. But isn’t that what is wanted? Politics that cannot brook any opposition because the tyrant believes himself omnipotent, his or her way, the one way.
How shattering when mothers aspire for a better, kinder, more compassionate world wherein everyone’s pursuit is not solely for self- serving, selfish means. On the one hand, present day initiatives apparently celebrated for cooperative collaborative learning, team building; on the other, disbelief in climate change and zealots who refuse to vaccinate , thereby endangering their communities and returning us to epidemics of crippling diseases. In a world turned so public by Facebook and social media, lack of care for legal aid should be a priority , a rallying cry for those in society who must draw on those services.
In deed, it is a strange world that has stretched out in my 70 or so years, those post war, baby boomer years of working towards equal rights for women, minorities, introducing diversity throughout society from books to equal opportunities for all. I recall the early beginnings of my postcolonial classes before a multicultural focus was even on the horizon and parents of the gifted class worrying that teaching Achebe from Africa and Marquez from South America were poor substitutes for Shakespeare, damaging their offsprings’ success at university. I recall when people smoked freely in restaurants, the others wrinkling their noses at the smoke and the smell.I remember the wonder of computers as big as desks and telephone so awkward they could double as dumbells. I even remember the emergence of Chargex the forerunner of Visa and plastic credit cards.
Ah, to sound like one’s mother, fretting, complaining at change. And yet change that does not improve life does not serve a societal purpose. So often my mother would raise one eyebrow and smile her secretive smile. I guess she knew. And now, maybe I do too.