Our Leaders and the New Morality

Today we were witness in Canada to the sight of government and church leaders half-apologizing or non-apologizing for the mass unmarked graves of children who died at their institutes of learning.

These institutes, known as ‘residential schools’, were created with the explicit purpose of erasing the cultural identify of indigenous children by separating them from their families and strictly regulating their learning and behaviour.

Despite being told of the mass graves by witnesses during the Truth and Reconciliation hearings neither government nor religious leaders felt it would be important to search for the children’s remains and acknowledge their deaths.

Now everybody is shocked, but they shouldn’t be. It’s the same pattern of abuse that we’ve come to expect from today’s self-professed guardians of morality.

Police, for example, were first told of the decades of abuse of boys by the Christian Brothers at Mt. Cashel orphanage in 1975, but it was years before anyone heard about it and not until 1989 that some newspapers first began documenting the story.

The abuse by religious leaders was not one of a kind. The story of abusive hockey coaches is well known in Canada and one that continues to surface even this year. There’s missing and murdered Indigenous women. There’s a long list of excessive force incidents by Canadian police. Canadian military leaders have resigned in disgrace after presiding over a culture of sexual abuse.

None of this is meant to diminish the offensiveness of the mass graves and the residential school system. These are in a category of their own (at least in Canada) and are a complete and utter disgrace. It is only to point to a pattern.

It is long past time we stopped looking to government, corporate and religious leaders for any guidance on morality. They have shown us time and again how deeply immoral they have become.

Each time you think there is a line they couldn’t cross, they seem to find a way to sink to new depths of depravity. You would think that scenes of dozens of dead children would have deterred gun rights advocates in the U.S., but they didn’t even slow down. Similarly, the revelation of mass graves has done nothing to deter those who celebrate their authors today.

To be frank, I think the people complaining about ‘cancel culture’ and ‘political correctness’ and saying ‘history is history’ should just shut up.

I, for one, have had it with their fake moralizing. Go peddle your hypocrisy elsewhere. We know who the immoral people are, and it’s not the people calling for diversity, inclusion, equity and reconciliation.

It’s not worth much in the face of such tragedy, but to my Indigenous friends and colleagues, I would like to apologize on behalf of myself and any of my ancestors or compatriots who played any part in this outrage. I’m sorry. Sincerely, genuinely, deeply sorry.

I am committed to genuine truth and reconciliation. At the very least, we can begin with a full and proper investigation, and at the very least, we can stop celebrating the memory and morality of those who perpetuated these crimes. That, at least, would be a start.

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