What is the outcome on our children?
Over the past few weeks headlines in the newspapers and lead stories on radio/television have been preoccupied with the alleged bad behaviour of politicians.
From Pamela Wallin in the Ontario Senate to Rob Ford Mayor of Toronto all you see and hear from the media is their alleged breach of public trust.
The front page of the Saturday Toronto Star November 2, 2013 is a good example. Immediately below the Star’s name banner in large bold black lettering is ‘The mayor headed down and visited the security desk alone with a half-empty bottle of brandy’.
The next story under this and again in bold black lettering is ‘Fraud, breach of trust alleged in Wallin case’.
Does the public have a right to know when their elected officials violate the trust bestowed on them?
Of course we do!
Do politician have the right to due legal process - the assumption of innocence until they are found guilty at the end of a court process?
Of course they do!
The challenge and tension lays in the balance. More importantly, as a parent and grandparent, I want to know who is being held accountable for the affect this constant barrage of socially demoralizing information is having on our children!
To assume they are not being affected is to say they are not active players is the social fabric and as a society our preoccupation with juvenile justice says they are.
How can we as parents teach social accountability in the face of societies unending addiction to believing the worst of our politicians before they have been provided due legal process?
Do not misunderstand me. We need to know that Wallin and Ford are under investigation. We should know for what and beyond this as citizens they have the same rights as you and I. They have the right to a private legal process. To inflict trial by media on them is just another form of vigilantly justice in my opinion.
What sparked this post was two conversations that I overheard today.
The first conversation was a heated discussion between what I can only assume was a teenage boy and his parents. The youth was challenging their authority to tell him drugs were wrong and would ruin his life when the mayor of Toronto uses and is successful.
The second conversation was an older couple who were discussing how they could not trust the Trick-or-Treaters who were collecting for UNICEF. They were of the opinion that the children would be “skimming a take off the top” and yes they referenced the senator.
In the first conversation the youth aligned himself with reported bad behaviour of a politician to dismiss his parents worry and in the second all socially conscious children who collected for UNICEF were deemed to be deviant and the proof was reported bad behaviour of a politician.
On the first page of the Toronto Star was a third story that of Lonnie Bissonnette. It was above the banner and lost in the noise of the other two stories. Bissonnette is a young man paralyzed in a parachute jump who refused to give up on his dream, his future and parachuted in his wheelchair with the support of friends. This life affirming story of courage and youth triumph was buried beyond the first section of the paper, unlike the other two which took up many pages.
I want to leave you with a metaphor. Is societies addiction with gossip about our politicians flooding out the positive social values that we want our children to learn and emulate as adults, just as the Saugeen River flooded out the children playground yesterday.
What is the outcome for our children? Who is considering the consequence on our children and society at large?