Recently, I've blogged a fair bit about how various actions in the United States are rolling back civil rights (and society) decades if not more.
One might almost be tempted to look at that, and believe that we're "safe" from this crap because we live in Canada under quite a different legal regime.
Of course, there's lots of reasons to be worried. We know that the CPC has links to Focus on the Family. So, I'm hardly optimistic that the current Parliament is exactly going to be "progressive" when it comes to social matters.
But, we have our own home-grown varieties of wing-nuts - and they are already starting to whine, whinge and squawk about all of the ills that they see in Canada's society - so soon after the first government that philosophically agrees with them is elected, too!
I was poking around the Canoe CNEWS site this morning, when the headline Moms Should Stay Home practically lept off the screen at me. Granted, Michael Coren is much like Paul Jackson - he writes mostly to piss people off. However, along with the Byfields, he's a rather useful barometer of where the Religious Reich in this country is trying to head.
After dancing around the topic of women being "stay-at-home-moms", Coren ends his attempt to waffle around all the issues with this lovely little statement:
We've declared war on motherhood in the name of a better, healthier society and declared war on family in the name of women's liberty.
Notice the subtle bait-and-switch. Last year, he was whining incessantly about how allowing two people of the same gender to marry was going to utterly destroy families. Today, it's women's equality that is the "evil bogeyman" that is destroying families and ruining society.
This merely serves to reinforce my contention that the Religious Reich, in all its wingnutty forms, wants to return to the society we had around 1200 AD - where the men were men, the women were subservient and the sheep were verrry nervous. (Ooops wrong joke)
Of course, what Coren completely fails to understand in his idealization of the era of "nuclear family" is how many of those families were holding together by a thread - creating a fiction that the outside saw as a "happy family". What went on behind closed doors - alcoholism, beatings, belittlement, whatever - was kept carefully secret, mostly "for the sake of the children".
Today, we live in a society where a woman doesn't have to bear those burdens "in silence" - she can speak out, get out if needs be. A dysfunctional family can be stopped before someone winds up in hospital, or worse, the morgue.
A woman doesn't have to give up her career aspirations because she starts a family. (Does this change something - yes, the men suddenly have to take a more active role in raising the children than was the case in the "children should be seen, not heard" era that preceded the women's rights movement). We no longer have employers that all but fire women when they become pregnant.
While some do choose to do the "stay-at-home" parent role, it's not _required_. It used to be that when a teacher became pregnant, she had to quit teaching before the pregnancy became visible, and most didn't return to the classroom later. Today, women have the choice to do as they see fit.
The notion of family has changed in the intervening decades. I see families where both parents work half to 2/3 time, splitting the childcare job up as needed; others where one parent (either male or female) takes a few years hiatus from their career to care for the children, and still others who manage to make it work with both parents holding down full time careers. Women's "lib" has also liberated men - it's no longer seen as strange - or bad - for a man to stay at home and look after the children. The role of "man as provider for the family" has changed, making the man much more than a source of economic security for the woman and her children.
Are we, as a society worse off for it? No. I believe in fact we are better off ultimately. Today we can talk about situations that have gone wrong, we are free to do something about it without carrying an enormous burden of social stigma.
Does society face new challenges today? Yes. But they can be addressed in a forward-looking manner. Looking to an idealized past is a serious mistake.