As indicated by last month’s critically acclaimed documentary Bully, bullying awareness seems to be in vogue right now. A welcome development, to be sure – the more children learn to overlook race, weight, orientation, or any of the million other reasons kids find to hurt each other, the better – but amidst this outpouring of compassion for the young, one wonders: aren’t we missing somebody?
Conservative Canadian MP Maurice Vellacott noticed the discrepancy:
He calls it the “cruellest of ironies” that there’s no protection in Canada for fetuses at any stage of pregnancy.
“In this case, it’s in every case a terminal victim as a result of the bullying that occurs,” Mr. Vellacott said in an interview Thursday. “It seems almost too obvious to state, but it’s bullying in the worst degree.”
Mr. Vellacott has long advocated for laws to protect fetuses. He joins fellow Tory caucus member Stephen Woodworth in calling for a public re-examination of the abortion issue – something Prime Minister Stephen Harper opposes.
Of course, one of his colleagues doesn’t see it that way:
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett called Mr. Vellacott’s appeal “ridiculous,” noting that it came Thursday, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
“It represents a certain number of Mr. Harper’s supporters and it just feeds that group, even though it’s totally offensive to all those Canadians who have fought so hard for gay and lesbian rights and a woman’s right to choose, so in some ways he’s managing to offend all of those people,” Ms. Bennett said.
Bennett has the offense exactly backwards. However severe anti-gay bullying may be in Canada, I’m pretty sure it’s not legal for gay kids’ mothers to kill them because they decided they don’t want to be parents.
And if by “rights” she’s referring to same-sex marriage, that’s an entirely different can of worms. The tangible legal benefits gay couples desire (like hospital visitation) can be achieved without redefining marriage, and the intangible satisfaction of government endorsing somebody’s relationship, aside from completely missing the point of marriage, is just that: subjective perception of an intangible effect, whereas the direct, literal violence of abortion is about as tangible as can be.
Indeed, that’s precisely Vellacott’s point: we purport to be so attuned to the suffering of our children, yet we turn a blind eye to the most egregious violence of all, inflicted on the most innocent of all. (Actually, that’s not completely accurate – merely ignoring abortion might be preferable to the enthusiastic celebration of it that goes on today.)
That’s the dirty little secret of too many of today’s politicians and activists: their compassion extends only to the easy cases, where there’s a photogenic victim or no-risk credit to be had by taking a stand on something everyone agrees about. But when we can pretend the victim doesn’t exist, or if the offense has a powerful interest group backing it, well, tough luck.
Canada’s true anti-bullying champion, Maurice Vellacott, should be commended for calling out this hypocrisy and sticking up for the littlest guy of all.