I was reading two articles from the tabloid The Toronto Sun today.
In the first one, Thane Burnett laments the fact that his daughter's 16th birthday does not invite him, and her party had over 50 guests, many of whom are boys much older than her, and "now influence my daughter more than I do". He rants against the smoking and the cursing at the party, and fondly recalls much younger milestones.
In the second article, Michael Coren, a neo-conservative whose previous diatribes were mostly about how the Christian way of life was being swamped by Islam and why the West should care, and why God's law is law and how multiculturalism is a dirty word, gays are the spawn of Satan (or something to that effect) and so on, now rants about how the Western society is slowly sliding into an abyss.
He compares teenage suicide rate, school challenges faced by principals, women's liberation (an oxymoron amongst religious fundamentalists), divorce rates, single parenthood, rise of STD and other such pessimistic figures and concludes that the 1950s were the golden age of Western civilization.
I could not but help think back to my own 16th birthday. I had just finished cramming for the hardest exams on the planet (the O Levels). It was just my friends - close friends - and all guys. My parents were never banished anywhere.
Maybe a more equivalent comparison would be my sister's birthday parties, right here in Canada. Even if there were guys, these were either her good friends or sons of family friends. Never were the parents out of the scene. Smoking? No way. Even my uncle who smokes at the age of 50 would puff out if his father, my grandpa, walked into the room. There is a culture of respect towards our elders, that is undeniable. Family ties are strong, even though it's hard to believe at times.
What about Coren's worries? In spite of his vast irrational fears of the Muslims taking over Canada, I would bet bottom dollar that all those figures that he mentioned, they are much lower amongst the Muslim (and not just Muslim, amongst immigrant communities of South Asians, Arabs, Chinese, Africans even if they may not be Muslims) population than amongst the general populace.
It is time we are proud of our qualifications. Most of us finish university, we do no drop out of high school and become vagabonds. We may listen to hip-hop but we do not become gangsters. We may date but we avoid single parenthood and on most cases, pre-marital sex. Yes, we are not ignorant to believe there are no abortions, there are no drop outs, there are no drug abusers, there are no fatherless families, but the numbers are much, much lower. Our way ... works.
If you want your ideal picture of a 1950s life, or what's the good out of that value system, Mr Coren, take a look at us. If you want to be invited to a 16th birthday, Mr Burnett, come to one of ours.