The overwhelming sensation that I am becoming a statistic is finally setting in. I naively assumed that simply dressing differently and writing articles would solidify my individuality, but as I approach what older people commonly refer to as "the best years of my life" it is becoming frighteningly evident that I am a barcode, not a human being. In our modern world, hell-bent on complete and total simplification, it is becoming passé to live a simple life, substituted instead for thousands of intricacies that amount not to improvement, but assimilation. To everyone in the world excluding those around me, I am a statistic. I am one of 31 million Canadians, I am one of McDonald's "billions and billions served" and now, most recently, I am amongst the one in ten Canadian families that has undergone a divorce.
The specifics of my parent's separation are unimportant. What I find most fascinating is that, for the first time, I have become the object of my own ignorance. I frequently scoff at those cancer-ridden smokers who declare sincerely that they "never thought it would happen to me." I've never smoked a cigarette in my entire life, but in regards to a divorce I never really did think it would happen to me. After all, my parents were together for 20 years, married for every single day of my life. As I walked down the street in my childhood, bombarded with billboards telling me what to buy, unknowingly becoming the very first generation raised on globalization, the family unit was one thing I could always count on, but now that has fallen apart.
My utter casualness about the situation has been surprising. In one respect I feel obligated to hug everyone and sob until my eyes can take no more as though I were a character in "Kramer vs. Kramer," but I haven't, and honestly don't feel like it. I don't feel sorry for myself or any member of my family. Now completely disjointed from that dependant unit as I live on my own at school, my thoughts have been with no one. It's as though I'm watching the entire scene in one of those horrible Meryl Streep films. I am 16-years-old now, and I really don't need that unit any longer. But what is sincerely disturbing is the level of divorce in both Canada and particularly the United States.
One million children have experienced new divorces each year since 1997 with no end in sight. And these are not apathetic teens like me, these are dependant children. There is a higher percentage of households with children and only one parent, than households with children and two married parents. Children of such a young age need significant guidance, especially now, as targeted markets are increasingly going after younger and younger age groups. One parent, no matter what is said by those exceptions, cannot do the job of two. We can't have Erin Brockovich in every household, and this disintegration of the marriage is making it increasingly hard for kids to find the guidance they need in this insanely complicated world. This frightening trend is perpetuated as well, as it was found that children from a divorced family were 50% more likely to divorce themselves.
It disgusted me that politicians and voters all over the world were accusing same-sex marriages of "destroying the family unit." My question is: how can you break something that's already wrecked? More than half of first homosexual marriages don't result in divorce. You know why? Because we haven't given them the right to express their equally valid love with a marriage certificate. Because politicians still, after decades of a segregated church and state, don't have the guts to allow gays to marry. George W. Bush, in all his unrivalled wisdom, declared that he believes marriage is between a woman and a man, but how is the marriage institution still sacred when 9% of America's population is divorced and 50% of first marriages end in divorce?
My parents are divorced now. I am part of that menacing statistic that essentially dooms love from the very beginning. I would have been much more worried five years ago, still dependant on the unparalleled strength and solidarity that my parents represented together. If parents are supposed to be the role models of children, then all they need to express is love. Homosexuals can do this as well as any heterosexual, perhaps even better, as I find it unlikely that they would fight so hard for marriage and then desecrate it like we have. In Canada, where I've lived all of my life, 46% of the children living in poverty are from single-parent homes. This is the quintessential modern statistic to me. The fact that we allow so many foolish parents to leave their children's futures behind, but as a majority cannot tolerate the bonding of two caring, same-sex individuals. This modern world has some learning to do.
Mike LaPointe is a Canadian high school student living in Port Hope, Ontario. In addition to being a published newspaper columnist, he is the editor of the online culture source Fuzed Magazine. You can email him at email@example.com
Canadian divorce statistics: http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsCAN.shtml
Canadian population statistics: http://www.statcan.ca/english/Pgdb/demo02.htm
American divorce statistics: http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsUS.shtml