A combination of a late Saturday shift at the store here for me and a spot of illness up in Canada for our esteemed guest blogger conspired for a late publication of this morning’s Cuppa. Much apology from the Little Bitty in Syracuse. Mr. Curran is here for his weekly turn, nevertheless. Take it away, Paul.
Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the living room. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B have prepared a nice, comfy place for us so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather this morning is cool at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit with a few clouds (for those of you flying in). As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie-free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. Oh, oh, speaking of sweets, I popped down to our local Tim Horton’s and nabbed a selection of the newly offered pastries filled with Nutella to add to our selection for our guests. How has your week been?
Once you have your beverage, please get comfortable and I would like to discuss the destruction of freedom for the vulnerable, the disenfranchised and the marginalized – those who are dying for their sexuality. This is a sneaky process that is slowly creeping across the world’s political scene under the guise of many excuses and typically in response to conservative values combined with budgeting. In the current U.S. election, the target has been Planned Parenthood. Attacking this group is attacking the most vulnerable in our society – pregnant teens, single Moms, the poor. In Australia, legislation called “Safe Schools” program is being gutted by the present administration. This program provided funding for the education and training of students on the topic of LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered) population. It taught acceptance, sensitivity and understanding while allowing LGBT students a safe place in the Australian School system. There is an excellent post by a writer Mike Cullen on his personal experiences growing up gay in a school system with no help from those would have us be a gentler and kinder society. He is currently 41 and has decided to speak out in favor of the legislation by telling his own personal story for the first time on his blog. Mike’s post can be found at: https://writinginshadows.com/2016/03/19/an-open-letter-to-the-prime-minister-of-australia/#comment-1568 entitled “An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia”.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
An open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia
Mike describes a horrendous childhood in Australian Schools as an LGBT youth and then the discrimination that followed him from school. He calmly describes the childhood terrors of being pursued, beaten, and threatened with sexual devices. Typically politics and legislation make me yawn, and I don’t normally comment much. This legislation is an exception – kids are being abused and some are committing suicide because this legislation is not in place. In Canada we have had similar issues but we “addressed” it with anti-bullying legislation – which focuses on the transmission of hatred against groups or individuals but does not address the development and fermentation of that hatred and the resulting abuse. Or as Mike so eloquently put it: “I knew by the end of primary school these boys were correct. I was a poofter. I was going to burn in hell. I was going to get AIDS and die, alone, hated by everyone. I knew I deserved the beatings, the abuse. I never raised a hand in my own defense. Why would I? They were right. I was a disgusting, perverted faggot. They’d known all along …”
Would you like a refill of your coffee with perhaps a dollop of adult beverage in it? Perhaps another sweet? It gets rougher. To continue then: And the hatred doesn’t just spew onto the hated, it shrivels the soul of the hater as well – destroying both: “I heard a foot step scrape on the gravel road, and when I turned around there he was, a whipper snipper chord in his hands. His friends had followed him, and nothing happened. I heard a couple of weeks later he’d committed suicide. I couldn’t feel sad about that.”
And in the end it was too much “He was holding a dildo, I’m sure you know what they are. He and his friends held me against a wall and told me if they saw me in school again, they’d use it on me. Once they’d delivered their ultimatum I walked out of the school, not just the bathroom but the school. I put my locker key on the desk at reception, and walked out. I never went back.”
Mike barely survived this onslaught with loving parents and a supportive home network – something most kids don’t have. And still the school system where he was supposed to be safe happy and learn, was instead a tortuous, hate filled, scary, threatening environment. And it continues to be so for the LGBT kids of today. This Safe Schools legislation needs to be continued and fully funded. Instead, their new Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull, a man who sells himself as one of the people, understanding and acting on the concerns of the population –is defunding this initiative and gutting the legislation, all in the name of saving money.
And so more children will be tortured and abused and will die on his watch because of his actions – and in his schools in his very backyard. Never mind the immigrants or the foreign policy or WHO or UN save the children – defenseless Australian children who trust us will wither and die in their own schools because of Turnbull’s actions. And that’s not “figurative” or “probable” or “statistically” – that’s REAL lives right NOW. Their only hope is to escape the very schools they are told are so important. They are being lied to and ignored until they escape or are so damaged in self-confidence that their lives will be marginalized.
A number of great thinkers in human history have defined “civilization” as a measure of how we treat the weakest, the poorest, the most vulnerable, and those least able to defend themselves in our society. Using that definition, Turnbull and many other world politicians are engaged in an all-out attack on civilization by removing and reducing the protection and help for the disenfranchised. They do so at the behest of the rich and powerful who would like to see that money in their pockets instead. A perfect current American example of Turnbull’s tactics would be Trump as he berates and threatens the immigrants, the Muslims, the poor, the unemployed and anyone else who is not like him.
Thank you so much for reading this post and please join me in supporting Mike in Australia for his letter to the Prime Minister at his blog “Writing in Shadows”: https://writinginshadows.com/2016/03/19/an-open-letter-to-the-prime-minister-of-australia/#comment-1568
That’s about all we have room for this week folks, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week.
I’d like to close with a “provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.”
(Wiki) Remember, those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”