Thursday 7 May 2015


I was in the office yesterday and someone remarked on the plainly home-made nature of my Yes Equality badge (not half so shiny as the professionally made jobs [L]).  This launched a round-the-aspidistra discussion on the probability of the referendum on Marriage Equality passing in now two weeks time. Someone pointed out that 90% of the 18-25 group are polling as being in favour of the change in the Constitution. I replied that it was all very well but they had to a) register to vote (before 1700hrs 5th May 2015) and b) vote. Unless they do and do so in numbers, the silverbacks may yet win the day and we'll spend another decade as a medieval backwater washed up from the tide of history. By way of illustrating the extent of the problem, there is story going round about a twenty-something being asked how s/he intended to vote on 22nd May.  "Duh!" the youngster replied "I voted already". Turned out s/he had 'liked' the Yes Campaign page on Friendface.

My mom-of-schoolkids informant tells me that from 12-14 all Irish school-children are required to take a course in Civic, Social and Political Education CSPE which is what Americans call 'Civics'. Apparently, this worthy endeavour is unceremoniously dumped when the kids move into the 'important' subjects for their final years in the school system in the run up to the Leaving Certificate and College.  Like so much in the education system, if you don't use it, you lose it and the youth alluded to above has become a dupe of another system, and is not yet able to navigate an inconveniently real world.  I'm not sure what use it is to tell pubescent kids how town-planning or proportional representation works, when they are much more worried about acne and having the right shoes and don't have a vote to swing for the practical exercise of proportional representation.

I do my best to bring my personal experience into my teaching - one of the benefits of being 60 is that I've had more such experiences than someone aged 30, so I can often dredge up an anecdote on water or radon or the kidney from my own life - often enough slightly off-topic, but no harm in that.  I doff my hat to Dennis Henderson, a Civics teacher in Pittsburg, who was arrested and charged with "disorderly conduct, obstructing the road and resisting arrest" [aka being black].  He has used the experience and his day in court obtaining justice as grist to the mill of his Civics classes ever since.  Sounds like an interesting guy who is treading the line between celebrating indigenous black culture with his young charges and recognising that they have to come to an accommodation with The Man if they are to progress out of the ghetto.

But here we go. More propaganda for the Yes campaign. 
Mrs. Brown says Yes to Equality.  
Chap asking for Sinead's hand in marriage.
Even the benighted Kiwis said Yes.

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