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Life as Performance Art

     A few years back I was starting to look for a new car.  I pulled into a dealership that had some makes and models that caught my eye and had a good rating for reliability, safety, and sipping (rather than guzzling) gas.  Within seconds, a salesman came jogging up to me, clapped his hands together and demanded, “What can I sell you today?”  I looked at him and said he could not sell me anything. I might buy a car, but he wasn’t selling me anything.   He had allowed his agenda to make a sale turn him far too pushy, and I drove off the lot.
     It is not that I don’t trust people; it is just that I am wary of their hidden agendas and motives. If someone is trying to sell me a product or service, pushes a bit too hard, and says they are really doing their best to look out for me, I like to give them the Royal Order of the Boot down the front steps or with a ‘block’ on my computer.
     Right now, one of the hot button news topics,  a story that is ‘trending,’  and one that is generating a very generous dollop of controversy,  centers around the transgender movement.  The truth of the matter is that I don’t care whether you are male, female, or about to or already have transitioned.  I am not being nasty; It simply is not any of my concern and business.  But then, I do not care about your politics, religion, hobbies, preferred food and entertainment, or much of anything else.  None of these things are  my idea of a valid  litmus test for a friendship.
        I do care if you are an honest person, your word is good, you keep your paws off of my stuff,  you have respect for others, and are somewhere on the broad spectrum of “nice.”
    Where this whole topic of transitioning and transgendering does concern me is when it involves younger and therefore more vulnerable  children.  In some schools and school districts there seems to be a very concerted effort to pressure and fast-track very young children to make serious life-changing decisions,  and then hide it from their parents.  That is disrespectful.  More than that, I think it is wrong because there appears to be a boatload of hidden agendas. 
        When you and I were growing up we probably explored all sorts of career options. Our elementary school  had a field trip to a police station.  We looked at their equipment, talked with the officers,  and learned what they did.  While our class was at the station,  I found it so exciting I wanted to get hired on the spot.  I’d get to drive a big Ford Crown Victoria, turn on the siren, have a sharp looking uniform,  talk on a radio in ‘cop lingo’, and chase down the bad guys.  My eagerness might have impressed the chief, but he wasn’t about to turn me loose with a gun, badge, and high powered car.  I’d have to wait until I was older,  meaning more mature, and pass other tests.
      A little later, I read a National Geographic magazine article on smoke watchers in our national forests. I want to sign up so I could sit in a tower and help Smokey the Bear save forests.  At the same time my uncle had a drug store that included an ice crème fountain.  When I was about 10,  I wanted to be a soda jerk with that spiffy bow tie and white hat.  The list goes on from there.
       Each time I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life.  I knew what was best for me.  Or, as The Olds phrased “what I wanted to be in life.”   The problem was that afternoon or the next day or week, I wanted to be something else.  Today we would say that the ‘influencers’ were hard at work.  Thank goodness The Olds did not allow me to make permanent decisions while still a youngster.
    I am sure many of you did much the same thing before we settled in on a career or profession.
     That is what troubles me about this rushing children into transgendering and transitioning. I do not believe young children have sufficient life experience and maturity to make major decisions that will affect the rest of their life.   When a person is older, perhaps 18, and legally adult, if Frank wants to become Frances,  or Frances transition to Frank,   than they hopefully understand the ramifications of their decisions.
    It has always been about age and maturity, because we believe that we have a duty to protect those who are young. That is the reason President Theodore Roosevelt pushed through the child labor laws, very much against the vested interests and agenda of the meat packing and other industries who wanted cheap child labor. It is why, after centuries allowing anyone of any age to buy alcoholic beverages,  in a split decision a century ago this month,  the British Parliament passed the Intoxicating Liquor Bill that forbid sales of wine, beer, and spirits to anyone under the age of 16. It set an example for other nations to follow.  It was against the agenda of the distillers, brewers, and pub owners, and they tried to have the law overturned.
     Usually there are two factors behind almost any agenda:  power and money, and it is usually the latter.  As a long-time friend advises, “Follow the money.”
      I am just cynical enough to ask questions about the agenda behind those who are pushing children into making lifelong decisions at an early age.  I will not be surprised if it is a lot of money.  Money for the workshops and other training materials and lessons on how to encourage a child to make a premature decision on their sexuality. Money for therapists and for medication; still more money, this time for surgery, and then therapy that follows.  And, of course,  money for lobbyists and social media influencers to push the agenda.  It comes down to a whole lot of money, and that has to come from somewhere or someone.  There is not a lot of transparency on any of this. 
      What troubles a lot of people is that there seems to be an agenda to do this behind the backs of a child’s parents.  We have long believed that it is a parent who has the ultimate authority over their child, but that seems to be disappearing. A young child is not allowed to vote, open a bank account, in some cities even get a public library card,  and a lot of other things without the permission of the parents.  Most schools do not allow children to go on a field trip without the written permission of his or her parents.  And yet, teachers and administrators often refuse to talk with parents about one of the most important decisions any person can make.    
      There seems to be a lot of murkiness in all of this, and young children are not merely caught in the middle of a debate,  but sometimes being used as pawns for agendas that are being kept from us.

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