Monday, January 30, 2017

What to do?

When the Olympics are happening, since I follow a lot of athletes and Canadian journalists, my Twitter feed is full of tweets about the Games, and when I see a Tweet that isn't about the Olympics, then I am almost confused like, "what could they be talking about? Isn't everyone else as obsessed with the Olympics as I am? How could they be carrying on with their normal lives?".

I feel the same way now - I follow a lot of like minded individuals on Twitter, and have weeded out some non-like minded ones, and so my Twitter feed is filled with condemnation of Trump and his executive orders, support for the protests, and a sharing of information needed to navigate this new world we have found ourselves in. This was especially true on Saturday evening as travellers (some holding US Green Cards no less) from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, etc. were being detained in airports across the United States and regular people were doing everything they could to get them released.  We sat and scrolled through our feeds, refreshing the trending hashtags and reading what people were doing.  A lot of people on my Facebook were also posting on the topic and even some things on my Instagram were relevant to these events.  Like during the Olympics, when I would come across a post about something not related to this, I would be confused for a minute, "what are they talking about?".  Right now, bad things are happening in the United States and we need to pay attention to them.  They are a powerful nation, a large nation, both geographically and by population; what it does affects the entire world, we cannot underestimate this.  Canada stands to lose a lot from policies enacted and carried out by the US.  I was proud to see our Prime Minister and some Premiers explicitly welcome all people to our borders.

I know I held onto some hope that Donald Trump could not do too much damage, that he was only one person in a large organization with checks and balances, that he was all bluster and he would fall into line once taking office.  Sure, he would push the Republican agenda, but it wouldn't get out of hand.  We have seen that this is not the case.  In addition to this ban on travellers from Muslim countries, there has been a freeze on the Environmental Protection Agency, a gag order for governmental agencies, and of course the appointment of individuals to executive positions that seem like jokes since they are so completely inappropriate, but they sadly are not jokes, it's all real.

However I do still have hope, as shown by the millions who marched on day after the inauguration and those who went to airports across the country on Saturday night, and those who post messages of support for those protesters, and the judge who granted the injunction, however temporary, and the list goes on.  Good people are out there and they will continue to do good things,  but we cannot sit by silently, just living our lives and pretending this isn't happening.   We have all read this before:

I can't remember if it was a tweet or a poster from the airport protests but it said: "First they came for the Muslims and we said, 'Not this time, motherfucker!'".  Let this be our thought this time.  Don't hide your head in the sand and just carry on.  I mean, yes, carry on with your life, but be aware of what's going on and do what you can.  I don't know what that is for me yet, and it may be as simple as challenging comments I see. I don't expect to win the arguments, but I don't want to let these things go anymore. There is a campaign out there that says "make it awkward".  When someone makes a bigoted, sexist or racist comment or something, call them out, don't be silent.  People think that because of Brexit and Trump that this language is acceptable, it isn't, don't let this be the norm.  Speak up.  Stay woke. 

I entitled this post "What to do?".  I don't know what to do, but doing nothing isn't an option.  


  1. Very good commentary, Sarah. I think I will write to Trudeau and say, Thanks!, for his comments of welcome. We now have three Syrian families living in our small town. They are always smiling!

  2. Oh I hear you. It is truly an upsetting time right now.