I am totally caught up in the story of Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Canadian Attorney General and Justice Minister who in recent weeks was demoted from her position in cabinet, then resigned as a Minister.
The Globe and Mail published a great story about her today – Why Jody Wilson-Raybould was destined to speak truth to power – an excellent article that really needs to be part of your reading this weekend.
In the article, Jody Wilson-Raybould is called a Hiligaxste or someone who corrects the path of the powerful. In indigenous culture, the Hiligaxste was a woman who grooms men for leadership roles. In our current culture, this means speaking truth to power.
This is such an important role today in our fractured society. No matter what level of governmental power one looks at, those in power continue to act with incredible impunity. In the case of the former Justice Minister, Liberal leaders, starting with Justin Trudeau have called Wilson-Raybould hard to work with. One MP even said she lost her post because she couldn’t speak French. The Prime Minister most recently stated she was moved because another minister resigned.
It is always difficult to speak truth to the mighty.
The attacks against Jody Wilson-Raybould are all very lame, but typical when those in power react to a strong-minded colleague who doesn’t easily back down – the Hiligaxste.
More people are standing up and saying things that are way out of the comfort zone of conventional leaders. In the United States, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is shaking up the political order by promoting a Green New Deal. While many people do not yet know what the Green New Deal (GND) is, the very idea of reworking the economy to mitigate climate change is too radical. Those in power are now warning that because of the GND, the hamburger and ice cream are now threatened.
I’m not making this up!
In truth, the GND is a new policy direction that truly looks to speak truth to power and offer something new.
The GND is, at its heart, a form of social-democratic populism. Its intent is to involve the entire citizenry in the shared project of adapting to the 21st century, and in so doing materially improve the quality of life of the poor and middle class. It is an attempt to rebalance the economy and the political system, away from a monomaniacal focus on private goods, toward a more generous view of public goods and public purpose.
It is encouraging to see these women defy the political hierarchy in their countries.
In another hopeful sign this week in Europe, thousands of students walked out of their classrooms as part of a coordinated walkout against climate change. Chanting “Save our planet”, these students are correcting the path of the powerful. While our political leaders – at least in Ontario – are fighting efforts to establish a carbon-tax – Carbon-tax opponents don’t let facts get in the way (Globe and Mail, February 16) – students are speaking the truth that political leaders do not want to hear.
This is what it means to speak truth to power – whether it has to do with the politics of power and money or the inability of governments to see the looming climate change disaster, people like Jody Wilson-Raybould, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the student protesters are certainly the Hiligaxste.
For educators, what side do we want to be on?
The student protests in Europe were sparked by one student, Greta Thunberg who has been protesting outside the Sweedish parliament for weeks. It has not been an easy thing to do, but she is doing what must be done to correct the path of the powerful.
I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate. I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades.
And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.
Greta Thunberg – a Swedish schoolgirl with Asperger’s syndrome – sparked today’s action after protesting for weeks outside her country’s parliament.
Greta Thunberg, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – people doing the uncomfortable thing, people making the powerful uncomfortable.
It is important that these issues get talked about in the classroom. The momentum for change can be delicate. It can be dashed on the rocks of indifference if people do not support these new leaders. It can create a world of change if everyone wakes up and joins their voices with these people.
I have said this many times. Educators need to get their heads out of the sand and wake up. These people are leading important changes and they truly are challenging the status quo in their own ways.
If you support them their efforts could change our world. If you don’t, why not?