I Get It Now

It seems self serving to say I’m not racist, but given the climate right now, I need to. But at the same time, I was naive.

Naive in that I don’t treat anyone different based on their gender, colour, or sexual preference. You judge others as you judge yourself. The first wake up call for me was when Trump was elected president. How could there be so many people who feel that he was the best option? God Bless the Electoral College.

Now, in the wake of the disaster that was the Charlottesville demonstrations, I get it. There is a segment of the American population that is feeling threatened. They see there has been a shift in society and they want things the way they used to be. Like 150 years ago. A demonstration to preserve a statue erected for General Robert Lee, one of the losing generals of the Civil War, was purported to be a stand for history, for the fabric of the American culture.

Except, that history was white washed.

There are countless web pages devoted to the “real” (fill in the blank general, politician, founding father). They were human, they were flawed, and many of them agreed to the accepted norm of the time; that owning another human was not just legal, but their God-given Right because they were born the whitest shade of pale.

The insult to the injury of these statues is that most were not erected at the end of the Civil War, in fact, the last monument, built in Arizona (not even a state during the war) was installed in 1975!?!?!? This was a conscious effort to remind African Americans that in spite of perceived advancements in their station in life (voting, non-segregated education, not being owned) the shade of the past was a literal and figurative presence.

The next realize for me was one it was pointed out that following World War II, there were no statues erected in Germany in honour of Adolf Hitler nor any of his evil cohorts. No schools are named after them. No bridges. No parks. The horror of the Nazis was erased from the country with only history books and the memories of the Holocaust survivors to give voice to the madness. That is why there was such shock when the Auschwitz-Birkenau Holocaust Memorial was opened; you had to see it to comprehend the nightmare.

Imagine being an African American child who walks to school every day, past the eternal monument giving tribute a man, who fought a war to separate your country, over his desire to own your ancestors, which he had the right to torture, rape and kill. Now imagine knowing that this same marker is a meeting place for racists TODAY, who still subscribe to such asinine theories as intellectual superiority based on skin colour.

Can you imagine that child’s frustration to open a history book and learn that not only is his community white-washed of any reality regarding what slavery was actually about, but also his education. White students beside him are taught the same thing, which perpetuates the Myth. White is good. White brought advancements. White is right.

We know differently now. Stories, movies, books, memories all tell of a different reality. This one involves fear, prejudice, assault, abuse, torture and a facing the reality that in the 21st Century that the first black man elected to the highest office in the land will be followed by another white man, who incites hate and fans the flames of the KKK and Neo-Nazis. Two steps forward, sixty years backward.

I turn my gaze to my own country. How easy it is to judge, but, those in glass houses…..

What of the pain of a Japanese child, separated from family and placed in housing in B.C. during the Second World War? What of the ongoing profound injustices done to aboriginals from the time the first European settlers stepped on dry land – not the least of which involved church and residential schools. Just two samples of wrongs that didn’t make into my history book, not sure about yours. Don’t understand why the Aboriginal Community is outraged? Because we still aren’t teaching what happened, so we can stop perpetuating our own Myth.

Many feel the reparations the Federal Government has attempted are a waste of time; after all, why should we make amends, WE weren’t the ones who offended. But actually, we are. As long as we force these minority groups to feel the white washing of the past lives on today, we continue to injury them. We need to see history for what it was. – a one-sided account. Recognize the imbalance and injustice, and fix it so that they are not bleeding today from the wounds of our forefathers. We need to own the mistakes of the past to not repeat them. I think that’s someone elses’ quote, but since we are talking about appropriation here….

I seriously debated writing this column on this topic, not because I’m worried about backlash, frankly, I don’t give a shit. If you don’t agree with my position, and identify with the morons who showed up with torches, chants and starched and ironed golf shirts on Friday night, keep rolling pal, ain’t nothing for you here.

But I was given pause because there is already so much talk about this topic. I feel we need action. I have family and loved ones who are Gay, Jewish, Black. The chants from Virginia felt like stabs into everyone of my people’s souls.

That’s when I realized, it might be the first step to actually do more with my white privilege than to yell at a TV screen. We’ve had several talks around the dinner table about what this all means and what our role in this humanity can be. We won’t be standing by in tense silence when there is a slur, a sign, a posting. We will not be ok thinking that we are the silent majority, and that most of “us” don’t think that way. Even one person spewing this kind of filth is one too many. We must speak up. We must push back.

Trump felt justified in saying that, and I’m paraphrasing here, “two wrongs don’t make a right” with regard to the riots in the Charlottesville park. Hmmm. If we were talking about a shoving match in the kitchen about the last cookie in the jar, I’d be onboard with it. But we are talking about the exact opposite extreme – an attach on humanity, and you cannot judge the motives of Anti-protests trying to stop hate with force, using the same stick as the Protesters who came to the park chanting Nazi slogans and instilling fear in anyone who wasn’t one of “them”. If the suggestion is that Good lowers itself when it fights Evil, then why the Hell did we have World War II? The Allies should have stood back and said, “Gosh, Mr. Hitler, we’d really like it if you pull your armies back from Western Europe, and when you are done, COULD YOU STOP PUSHING PEOPLE INTO GAS CHAMBERS?”

I think we all know what that response would have been.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~ used by lots of white guys

What is Left Unsaid

It’s day 15,641 of the never ending U.S. election, and the reason I’ve not been more vocal is; a) I feel there are far too many people spouting garbage disguised as knowledge, b) if I start being vocal, I just might never stop.

With this in mind, and being that this is the eve of the election, I’m allowing myself ONE opportunity to write on this topic. ONE. UNE. UNO. 1. And I think you may be surprised.

At first I thought it was an “Emperor’s New Clothes” situation, where everyone could see what I saw, but was just too darn polite to say anything. I then realized, no, there are actually people who are drinking the Kool Aid here.

It became mildly amusing watching what appeared to be a reality show on Meth. New revelations. New scandals. New excuses.

That’s when it occurred to me. This is the ultimate reality show, with the entire American population as contestants. These two candidates are merely ratings props, but the fallout will have very real implications. As resident of the nation to the North, I recall the classic saying, “When the U.S. has a cold, Canada sneezes.” We have a lot riding on this election too.

I have family and friends who live in America. I’m very worried about what this election means for them. Regardless of who wins, there will be a large segment of the population who will be up in arms; some of whom have threatened to take up arms. I can’t image what it must feel like not to know what you future holds. What your country will become.

I feel it is just too easy to tear apart the candidates. Saturday Night Live has political satire covered. I just hope we can all live with the outcome.

 

p.s.

On a lighter note, Second Born Son decided to go as one of the candidates for Halloween. I’ll let you decide which one….

Yes, I had nightmares!

Yes, I had nightmares!

Letters That Need to be Written – Part VII

Dear Republican Party/Voters of the United States of America,

As a Canadian and a rational, somewhat intelligent person (I did put on blue socks with black pants today, but otherwise…), I want to kindly, gently, and firmly talk to you about an unhealthy relationship you are in right now…

…with Donald Trump.

Consider this an intervention of sorts. Friends don’t let friends date idiots.

We stood back when he first came on the scene with designs on you. We understood he was going to come at you hard, with the goal being your “#1” especially with such a large field of potential suitors. To a certain degree, one could see the initial attraction; money, celebrity (which, although it’s not OUR thing, we know you get sweaty palms over fame), and charisma – of a fashion.

We gave him a chance to win us over. We saw how he was peacocking and showing you how “in charge” he was. He’d go on and on about how he could show you how things could be GREAT again, even though things seem really good for you right now – especially after you broke it off with Bush  2.0.  Even then, we had our doubts about Trump, and hoped you would keep him in the friend zone.

Now, with less than a year until the Nov 8, 2016 presidential election, and Trump having some notable success in key states, we think now is the time for us to have a chat. You obviously are taking him a little more seriously, therefore, we have to take him a little more seriously.

<PAUSE>
Truthfully, it’s 9 months from the Presidential election. We don’t need you making a BIG mistake right now that will make you feel like you need to “seal the deal” with Trump. Please make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions!!!
<PLAY>

We are your BEST friend. We’ve lived beside you our WHOLE LIVES. We want the best for you. We want to get along with your “special” person. Right now, Trump thinks what’s best for you is a wall between us. What the hell did we do to deserve that? I realize this is a small slight compared to the asinine slams he has leveled against (including, but not limited to, as this list grows daily): Mexicans, Women, Muslims, African-Amercians, Megyn Kelly, fellow Republican candidates, John McCain, wait, I’m running out of time on this…..

Really, we question why you are interested in him in the first place, aside from the aforementioned glitz. The guy is, at the very least, a misogynist. I shake my head when I realize that this is a man who has not one but three “Mrs. Trumps” on his roster, not to mention two daughters. We think he knows how good he’ll have it when he’s with you. You have a lot more to offer him, than he does you.

Remember, you are judged by the company you keep, and Trump is on the record as praising Vladimir Putin. Putin, the bully and egomaniac of Eastern Europe, then gave Trump a verbal high five by saying he is a great man. This is not comforting to us!

Maybe you think he’s harmless and you are just stringing him along because his insane rants amuse you. I don’t think this is a game of Chicken that you want to engage in. Time is ticking and the longer you keep this moron around, the more you will believe get used to his crap! And don’t think we haven’t notice that his favorite word is “stupid”. Coincidence?

Perhaps your infatuation with this clown’s wealth (his corporations have declared bankruptcy, if may you recall) is clouding your judgement. Maybe you don’t see what the rest of us (read here: THE WORLD) sees? Trump is the loudmouth guy at every party, who is obnoxious before he gets drunk and is intolerable once he is inebriated. He’s not smart or even clever, as he blathers on about being so popular that he could shoot someone in plain sight and get away with it!?! He picks fights with unsuspecting guests, tells outrageous stories, then he defies anyone to question him, refuses to be accountable for his actions even when he’s caught red-handed,  and he will NEVER apologize because he is NEVER wrong. Just ask him! He is basically pissing off all of your friends. Remember Britain? Remember how it took you so long to get to a good place after that whole Independence thing?! Well, if you hook up with Trump, he’s not exactly welcome in England! What does that tell you?

If you give him a chance with you, what do you think life will be like? Personal jets and badly decorated boudoirs? Oprah, or Dr. Phil, or Dr. Oz, or Dr. Zeus said, “When people show you who they are – believe them.” He’s showing you who he is. It ain’t good. You won’t change Trump. He won’t get better. If anything, he’ll get worse once he’s “The One.”

Please understand USA, we are not judging you. We too have been in our share of unhealthy relationships. Hell, we just got out of one ourselves. (We don’t like talking about Stephen Harper, but for the purpose of helping you avoid such a disastrous mistake, we’ll make an exception.) We know you deserve better. You deserve someone who will let you shine on the world stage. Someone who values you and isn’t looking to further their own life ambitions. Someone you won’t be embarrassed to leave alone at a family gathering. You aren’t a career move, you are the self proclaimed Greatest Country In the Free World, mainly because we don’t want to argue with you over THAT. (Although we all know the truth now, don’t we?)

Call it of now. Save yourself (and us) the heartache.

Your pal,

Sarah