I know nothing. I am narrow-minded. I am naive. After four years in university where I learned the value of a strong argument, and a willingness to acknowledge the relevance of opinions that do not accord with my own, I have also learned that there is no sense in arguing with a brick wall – only exhaustion ensues.
My father, Rick Tone, armed with the power of the keyboard and a PhD in Wikipedia, has been extremely vocal about his opinions, particularly in regard to the controversy surrounding Vanier Catholic Secondary School. He has been equally vocal at the dinner table about my incompetency in the formation of opinions on all subjects socio-political – to the point where I am skeptical that he would consider me smarter than a fifth-grader.
But sweeping adjectives, name-dropping, and Internet scholarship will only get you so far, and do not address the real issue. These can also lead to the misattribution of quotes (Mr. Tone, it was Martin Niemoller, rather than Bonhoeffer who “did not speak up.”) Well, after having my Gmail account overloaded with Dad’s opinions on this matter, I have chosen to speak up .
Who or what determines moral propriety? My father looks to a book for the answer. This or that is morally bad because … the Bible said so.
In my opinion, right and wrong should not be determined by what a pen puts to paper, but rather by our common humanity. To allow policies to linger that make being you something that is wrong – is wrong. When you become a thing that needs fixing to restore moral worth, intolerance and hatred are perpetuated.
Ironically, as my father referenced Niemoller last week, I couldn’t help but think how neatly this quote works when turned around. The gay-straight alliance donning rainbow socks was a display of “speaking” for a group that has been, and remains, marginalized in society.
A group of students, coming together and working towards a common goal, is beautiful, not wrong. Vanier students’ demonstration of solidarity with those perceived as others is a demonstration of the health, vibrancy and strength of a community – not of its degradation.
I had a child at the age of 17 – maybe I missed a Sunday school memo or two – but I refuse to believe that having my daughter makes me a morally bankrupt person. According to the Bible, I also live one of these alternative lifestyles that my father proclaims will be the ruin of society. For me, the ruin of society surfaces when our right to exist and be ourselves is removed – when we can no longer just be.
My father will likely respond to this, pointing out that I watch too much John Stewart, attended a biased liberal arts university, am having an emotional but never logical reaction, and that I know little about life with a capital “L.”
Well Dad, I’m sufficiently embarrassed by your most recent opinion piece that I am willing to accept that.