Been busy, same old excuses: long Council meeting on Monday (update coming!), events in the evening, and of course there was the hijinks of Tuesday night, which sent many of us to a restless sleep.
I vented a bit on Facebook this morning, and it seems to have received a positive reaction, so I may as well plagiarize myself:
The following is heart-felt, and contains offensive language. If that bugs you don’t read it; but I won’t apologise. We need offensive language now, because all the nice talk didn’t seem to work.
To all those well-employed financially-secure comfortably-housed quasi-Christian straight white guys (just like me!) who are dropping into my Facebook feed talking about how Trump winning isn’t a big deal, because the sky is not falling and the people have spoken and yadda yadda… I just want to mention what a self-entitled asshole you are, and remind you that you cannot see the problem because you are immune from the problem.
It ain’t your rights that are going to be trampled by Trump’s promise to overturn Roe v. Wade. It isn’t your family that will be torn apart by Trump’s promised forced migrations. It isn’t your home that will be destroyed by the bombs that will be dropped by Trump and his BFF Putin as they split up the oil-bearing new colonies of their choice. It isn’t your children who are going to drown in the sea or catch cholera in a camp while trying to flee those bombs because of the walls promised to stop them seeking safe harbour. It isn’t you who will be discriminated against, jailed, tortured, because of your religion, your name, or where your parents were born. It’s not your generation that will see the ravages of resource scarcity and mass relocation caused by a failure to account for our carbon emissions. It isn’t your child who will be shot in the street for being black in the wrong place. It isn’t you who will be bullied, intimated, abused, raped, and murdered because of your gender, your gender expression, or who your soul tells you to love. Indeed, this isn’t your problem and your sky isn’t falling. But that doesn’t mean everything is OK.
So why don’t you, just for a few days, do what you did for the last year as this horror was unleashing itself? Shut the fuck up and let people grieve for lost hopes, and go back to watching golf on TV.
That all sounds very negative and despondent, but I was getting those posts filling my feed – “nothing to worry about here” – and every single post was from a guy who fit that description, as do I. I didn’t have the will or energy to reply to them all. Of course, the central conceit is wrong, Trump won’t be President for a couple of months, and even then, his most ambitious promises won’t be realized for months after that. Let’s re-asses the sky fall after that.
We have a bit of time. Let’s grieve for a day or two, then let’s get back to the fight, because it has only become more important. And there is much to fight for, and so much to do.
Today I attended the Civic Dinner in New Westminster, where we thank the hundreds of volunteers that give of their time, their energy, their minds and hearts to make our City run better. Some bring Arts to the City, or help connect the Police to the community, some try to support small business growth, some to advise the City on environmental protection or work to make our City friendlier for immigrants, for the disabled, for the elderly. Community working together like this to support others is part of the fight against those who only turn inward for ideas, and turn outward only for blame and excuses. In New Westminster, we are winning this fight.
The countdown to May 9th has already begun. We have had enough lessons recently that campaigns matter, that getting involved matters, that voting cannot be the only act of democracy we undertake. Whomever you support politically, before you vote for them you should support them with your time, with your money, with your ideas. Politics matter in your everyday life, and it doesn’t take too much involvement to see that affect. I only hope, if you are reading my stuff, that you want to work for and support those who think community includes those who are not like you, those who have different experiences, different histories, different opportunities and challenges. A healthy community is a mixed one, where we
accept celebrate what makes us different, and support those who need support the most, regardless of the cost. It doesn’t make us weak, it doesn’t make us poor, it makes us human – the most collective of all primates. This fight can be won, but it takes a little work, and time is short.
Finally (and this is the hardest one), we need to figure out how to staunch this hubristic Fascism already entering the Canadian Conservative leadership race. Some will call me out on taking partisan digs, but the hateful words already arising in the Conservative race have been emboldened by the new Trumpism: there are current candidates calculating how to best bring the Canadian political landscape down to the Trump level, for the fun and profit of their wealthy supporters. We need to stop that from happening.
And I have no idea how we do that. We can say “Don’t be silly, Canada won’t accept that”, but the United States were just as assured 18 months ago. Trump demonstrated you can’t use this “we must shame her /call her out / defy her” response to the faux-rebellion hate rhetoric, because the power in her words aren’t in what she says, but in the reaction of the media, the chattering class, pundits, and all who can be lumped together as “elites” when push this talk to the outside. Critique her straight-on, and you just reinforce her outsider, “straight-shooting” persona. This is Fascism 101 folks, not rocket science.
I don’t know the answer, but we better find it soon. I hope better minds than mine are on the problem. Because if history is any example, the path is terrible. One thing we know about Fascists – once they attain power, it is incredibly difficult to remove them. There is a dimming of the light south of the border, it is incumbent on us, one of the planet’s most compassionate, caring, and giving societies, to shine brighter. Peace, Order, and Good Governance: That is our promise to ourselves, and the world. Keep up the fight.