today's protestersPosted by profoundtruths on 2010.02.12 at 22:03
I've been carrying my "Vancouver 2010 another downhill event" pin for the last 3 years or so. That said, since 2002 I've been heavily anti-olympics, I remember the 2002 social cuts and how they affected people and I said, "we take care of our citizens, then we have a party". I argued with everyone and I voted no on the plebecite and I was always taking heat for my views.
My kids are athletic, so I've tried to let them develop their own views. I want them to aspire to greatness and I want them to compete in major events. But my kids have decided on their own accord that they aren't really into the hype of the olympics. I have informed them at times about the cost and how we could use the money instead, but I really have tried to keep the derogatory comments to intellectually based arguments.
I also teach my kids about protesting about free speech and about the fact that every luxury we have was died for by protesters - the 8 hour day, child labour laws, free speech and unions... people died for all of those. I make my kids listen to Utah Phillips and we talk about things like the Bread and Roses March. My kids as toddlers were on the cover of the 'spare change' newsletter holding placards outside of Gordon Campbells office.
My kids have been disappointed by the Olympics - for the first time in their schools history a team has gone absolutely undefeated for an entire season and my kids would have been on that basketball team winning the city finals, or at least coming damn close. That is, if the city finals weren't cancelled for the Olympics.
My kids school is fortunate enough to be close to an ice rink, so for PE each year in February or March the kids get to go skating a few times. Well, except this year. This year their rink is being used by athletes. But at least they get to meet the athletes... oh wait. Nevermind, no they don't. They can go in a handful at a time, but they must enter before the team arrives, leave after the team leaves, no standing, no moving, no talking, no cheering (yeah, you can't even say "good goal") - oh and a coach is allowed to veto this arrangement at anytime without warning. My kids think that this is stupid, none of the younger grades can do that.
Then there was the stupid bumbling idiocy this summer - they decided to bus kids from East Van to the new oval; parents signed the waivers and the kids would spend 3 hours at this thing for about 45 minutes of ice time. But aside from the venue waivers and the city waivers they didn't have us sign the VANOC media release, so the entire group of kids were held up for about an hour or so. We're not sure how long because after an hour my kids said, "lets get out of here - this is stupid". My kids knew that this was a bullshit reason to not go.
But the torch was going past their school today, and they were out with all their friends. My husband went along to keep them safe because I know that sometimes the police can be heavy handed - I've been to my fair share of protests in the past. My kids wanted to go, so who am I to say they can't.
After school my kids came home and they were quite upset with what happened, they felt really bad for the kindergartners who were afraid of the menacing guys wearing balaclavas. Apparently some of them had to be escorted back to the school because they were crying and afraid. My kids have always been told that protest is a good thing and that there should always be critical thought about what our leaders do. The protesters really shook them though.
Then my daughter told me about one protester that came right up to them and their friend and said, "your parents are to blame for this bad decision, you'll be paying for the rest of your lives for this". Apparently my husband used this opportunity to explain what their parents think, which startled the protester - it's really easy to pick on kids and yell at them about things they cannot change or respond to. My daughter said that when my husband started to tell the protester that we voted no, he ran off.
When they came home one of my kids said to me - "if I'm paying for it anyways, why didn't they at least let us watch it?"
The funny part is that most of the students are not that different from my kids; kids share their views and my kids are outspoken. A large contingent of those kids would probably be with the protesters if it were held a few years later. Instead, those protesters undid all the work I've done to tell them that the best thing you can do for your country is to think for yourself.
So me and my family and their friends watched the Opening Ceremonies because the protesters have lost all credibility with us.