Keeping mum hides many sins

Cliff Buchler.

Many folk of yesteryear stuck to the ridiculous principle that politics, religion and sex were infra dig in conversation.

Even as a youngster I couldn’t get my brain around why these subjects were left to the privacy of the bedroom after hours. This presupposed it was acceptable for mom and dad to debate the state of the church, Parliament and the Kama Sutra.

One memorable dinner I had the cheek to ask the question: “If we can’t talk religion, politics and sex, what’s left to talk about?”

My left ear was stung with a klap from my dad. Yes, then corporal punishment was the in thing. But it didn’t stop me debating these subjects throughout my life. Let’s face it, our lives revolve around them, whether we like them or not. Political systems requiring voter participation are accepted practice. So why can’t we discuss the merits or otherwise of political parties and their leadership qualities in the open? Must we remain mum about Nkandla and blatant corruption?

My dad’s warning that we’ll offend someone still holds no water. Offend whom? Those who condone these goings-on? I say: good show, let them squirm.

The same goes with religion. When still prepubescent I heard on our radio valve set that the Vatican in Rome housed some of the most magnificent artworks and other exclusive items worth untold millions. I asked the question, and am still asking: “Why is this source of money locked up in secret chambers when millions of the church’s loyal adherents are obliged to give of their meagre means while living in poverty?”

Then there’s also the question of the Vatican Bank, corrupt as they come. Who benefits? The billion members, among whom millions are starving? Offensive question? To the keepers of the treasures? To the bankers laundering money for criminals? See the worry in my eye?

My heart goes out to those brainwashed into believing in a set of religious rules without being allowed to question obvious anomalies and discrepancies, and the way those at the top conduct themselves.

Sex? Unlike politics and religion, my dad had a separate rule. One which I liked. At the table he admonished: “Don’t talk about it”. And out of earshot he whispered to me: “Just get on with it”.

Can’t remember what the “it” was. So, no debate. Sorry.

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