Family

Schoolyard Bullies

schoolyard bullyI walk the line between wanting to live in the USA, close to my family there, and feeling horrified by repeated mass murders.  My US family members are all lovely, peaceful, law-abiding folks who are outraged at gun violence. Every time. They don’t keep guns under their beds or tucked into the backs of their jeans. In fact, I don’t think they own any guns at all, but that’s probably a good question for me to ask them.

I also have family members in the UK who are completely gob-smacked that the US violence continues, and they are incredulous that the laws don’t change. My Canadian pals wonder how long we can continue to be friends with our neighbors to the south. I see all the reactions, and I understand all the viewpoints. When you are a Canadian who has travelled a bit, that’s what you do. You understand all the viewpoints.

The trouble is, understanding doesn’t seem to help.  In fact, it seems to perpetuate the problem.  Sadly, even outrage doesn’t seem to make any difference. The bullies have taken over not only the schoolyard, but the whole school, and none of us seems to know how to deal with them.

The bullies, in this schoolyard scenario, are the National Rifle Association and political lobbyists who work on their behalf. They have managed to subvert the whole democratic process to the point where our votes are less and less significant as time goes by.

The only people who don’t have lobbyists are the ordinary people like you and me. Corporations have lobbyists. Industries have lobbyists. Special interest groups have lobbyists. Religions have lobbyists. Charities have lobbyists. The only lobbyists you and I have are the politicians we elect to represent our local areas, and guess who they are going to for advice? Yes, sadly, it’s those lobbyists paid for by groups with deep pockets.

If I could change one thing about politics in Canada, the UK, and the USA, it would be to ban lobbyists. Maybe then the schoolyard would be safe again.

*****

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