Here & Now with S Sorrensen

Lismore. Tuesday, 12.10pm:

The university plaza is empty of uni students, but full of school kids. A uniformed horde is sprawling over most of the tables and chairs. They're a noisy bunch.

One young bloke nearly knocks me down as I'm walking into the plaza. This laughing adolescent runs, not looking, right at me, chased by his mate. He sees and dodges me at the last moment. His shirt is untucked and flicks me on the arm as he flies by, but his hair is perfect and motionless, combed to one side in a sort of carefree, natural sweep as fixed as plastic.

He throws a 'sorry!' over his shoulder at me, applying the brakes to skid within the radar of a discipline of teachers standing at the centre of this lunch break, drinking coffee and chatting, their eyes constantly scanning.

Education is a wonderful thing.

Pity about the debt it comes with.

Education was free, once. It is the hallmark of a civilised society when it invests in its young. It shows foresight. Many of the older men who have put education up for sale were themselves educated for free at the public's expense, but times have changed. Foresight is gone; the future is a cyber fantasy.

Society is replaced by the marketplace; citizens by clients. Education is job training, not knowledge (because knowledge sees the real future). And if you start your adult life with a debt it keeps you on the straight and narrow.

I meander through the young crowd towards the Thai place. I like the Thai woman there. We speak French to each other. That's a bit strange I know, because the French never really got a foot in the Thai door, and France's historical influence on the North Coast is minimal, but we both enjoy the language practice. And her fish curry with brown rice is excellent.

Children are our future, but as a society we treat them badly.

The Royal Commission into child abuse is welcome. The idea of subjugating our children to the whims of sexually repressed men with a penchant for dress-up and wine is appalling, but we did it, nonetheless. Right now, politicians are huffing and puffing with that sort of pseudo indignation and inflated righteousness they love, but despite the sometimes genuine concern about the heinousness of what went (and goes) on under the sad gaze of a broken man nailed to a plank, there's an underlying hypocrisy.

Because child abuse is the norm in our society.

We send our young to wars in foreign lands which have never been a threat to us.

We mistreat the foreign young who flee the consequences of our war effort and land on our shores desperately seeking refuge.

We force our young onto crowded roads in metal bombs because public transport is a public service and taxes are better used as subsidies for our big business buddies.

We poison the water the young will need when they realise they're thirsty for more than the American sitcoms and Facebook we drip feed them.

They suicide while we congratulate ourselves on our economic boom, as if this boom wasn't a future-destroying deception.

But most of all, we're condemning the young to a dark future as we overheat the planet to supply us with the stuff of distraction.

We know what we're doing is wrong, but we'd rather not face it. We have built a church of denial. We prefer to believe in virgin births, life in heaven, royal commissions, efficient light bulbs and eternal economic growth, rather than the awful reality of what we are doing behind the closed doors of our denial.

We are child abusers.

Topics:  opinion

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Local artist is telling some of our most poignant stories

 Lennox Head artist Kate McDowell performing part of the piece at La Boite HWY Festival 2016.

The Adventures of Wonderbabe the Terrible

Top 5 events at Tropical Fruits 2016

IT'S ON: Tropical Fruits Festival over New Years.

Festival guide hits the streets this weekend

Weekend remembering the forever young

Weekend to Remember our loved ones killed on the roads.

Local Partners

Exterminate! Exterminate! The Daleks are coming

THE Power of the Daleks is one of the most celebrated Doctor Who adventures, revived in a brand new animation 50 years after it was broadcast in the UK

November will be a big month for NORPA

ARTS: NORPA has added new shows to the Dreamland season from November 23 to December 10.

Peter Garrett, Dreamland and the 2017 Season Launch, among others

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

60's British rock legends to return to Australia

The Troggs will play a string of dates across Australia in November.  Photo Contributed

We all remember 'Wild Thing' and now you can hear it live.

Depp jumps ship from agency of 25 years

Johnny Depp has signed to CAA after 25 years with the United

Orlando Bloom 'buried' Katy Perry in birthday flowers

Orlando Bloom "buried" Katy Perry in flowers for her birthday

Exterminate! Exterminate! The Daleks are coming

BCC Lismore will be screening a limited-run theatrical special presentation event of Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks animated series from Saturday, November 12.

A much celebrated Doctor Who story is coming to Lismore and ByronBay

MacBook fires up: New "touchbar" will include emojis

COULD emojis help the MacBook again deliver a laptop revolution?

Angus T. Jones got miserable on Two and a Half Men

Child star's misery while shooting 'Two and a Half Men'

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?