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Why would a politician attack 16 years old?

Posted in View Point

Published on September 12, 2019 with No Comments

Elections is the time, when in order to meet their objectives politicians tend to take a dig at each other and at times this does turn dirty. However, verbally assaulting a teenager for her attempts to make a better world and to make a mockery of her medical conditions was never witnessed. But this time, with a new leader at the horizon, the same has happened. Cal Thomas has rightly said, “One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.” The leader who has taken this unprecedented step is none other than Maxime Bernier, the leader of People’s Party of Canada, and has proved that quote of Cal Thomas right. Maxime Bernier attacked 16 year old climate change activist Greta Thunberg in an eight part Twitter tirade. Thunberg is the Swedish girl who started the Fridays for Future movement. She has been able to inspire hundreds of thousands of students around the world to protest against climate change. At a tender age of 16, Greta Thunberg is at the forefront of the movement. Having spoken at the United Nations, Greta Thunberg has become the voice of generation and is winning hearts all around the world.  Last month, she took a sailboat from England to New York rather than fly in order to reduce her carbon emissions. She’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as an activist, and is on the cover of the October issue of British GQ magazine.

However, Her endeavor hasn’t found a positive response from certain quarters. Greta Thunberg arrived in US last week after a much publicized trip across the Atlantic. Her speeches and protests she’s led since, have sparked anger in those who believe that climate changes need to be address.  Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, took to Twitter on Monday night to not only mock Thunberg, but to make assumptions about her mental health. In one tweet, he claimed her to be “mentally unstable,” “obsessive compulsive” and to have an eating disorder, among other mental illnesses. Some have accused Bernier of cyberbullying the teen.

On the other hand, there are people who have stood by her and have not taken her being called “mentally disturbed”, lightly.  While she’s dealt with the hate exceptionally well, referring to her autism as a “superpower” and standing strong in her beliefs, and this has won her even more hearts.

Why a seasoned politician like Maxime Bernier who recently parted ways with the Progressive Conservatives and formed his own party be so concerned about a young activist? Why should he be putting out tweets about her mental health? As he leads his People’s Party of Canada in their maiden elections just five weeks away, Maxime Bernier surely has better things to do than to propagate hatred towards a 16 year old girl.

This is not to say that Thunberg shouldn’t be held accountable for her actions just because she’s young, or that politicians can’t challenge her beliefs. However, there’s a difference between respectful discourse and bullying, which is what grown adults have resorted to. It’s clear that politicians like Bernier are attacking Thunberg for a simple reason: with nothing much to present to Canadians as an agenda of growth, he has come out looking scared.

At just 16, she has her point of view, a plan, an agenda and has the world listening to her. What many seasoned politicians have not been able to achieve she has done it. At just 16, Thunberg has become an inspiration. And, at 56 years old, Maxime Bernier is afraid of her.

If Bernier wants to challenge Thunberg, he needs to rise to her level of maturity. He needs to question her political views rather than attack her based on factors beyond her control. Hope he will even take a break to listen to what she has to say — there’s clearly a lot they can learn from her.


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