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Going Blue For Equality

Many of the same struggles, between disabilities: autism and blindness #WorldAutismDay #LightItUpBlue #Awareness

Her Headache

Last week it was go purple for Epilepsy and this week it’s blue for Autism. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and I just watched a very interesting documentary on TV Ontario about the challenges people with Autism Spectrum Disorders face, specifically when it comes to employment. I wanted to watch this particular doc because I felt a certain empathy and understanding with this topic and with the people involved.
The spectrum for conditions such as Autism and Asperger Syndrome is wide and varied. It includes many people at many different levels of function and ability. I would never presume to say I know what people with diagnosed Autism and other disorders like it and their families go through every day, but I can relate in my own way.
A lot of the characteristics of Autism and other disorders like it can be similar to some that go along…

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In The News and On My Mind: Supermegafragilisticexpialidocious

It’s a funny thing, but the prime minister of my country of Canada was featured on the US news magazine program 60 Minutes, before being honoured with a state dinner at the White House last week. This week he’s in New York at the UN (trying to secure Canada a seat on the Security Counsel), speaking at an event about why he is proud to call himself a feminist, and he hasn’t once mentioned anything about the size of his genitals.

GO FIGURE!

***

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast.
–JEG

***

Super Tuesday…Mega Tuesday…what?

Comparisons are being made between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump: Louis C.K. said it. Now I’m saying it.

But so many aren’t about to go there. Oh no! Perish the thought!

I am saying it and I am not going to back down from it. I am afraid.

America is full of beautiful places and kind and compassionate people. I know many citizens, writers and bloggers and friends, who don’t want the US to feed off of violence and divisiveness.

At the same time, North American culture thrives on celebrity. Media matters, has influence, seeks headlines and hype.

Is it any surprise then, (not to me), that a reality star, part of the reality TV craze, is so close to securing the GOP nomination?

With celebrities fighting over Twitter about naked Instagram shots, roses and marriage proposals that hardly ever last, and a show about a religious family with 19 kids…dismissed when sexual abuse comes to light and still a network brings such a mess back for ratings.

Is it any wonder? Yes, I wonder.

Donald Trump is a white, privileged male, who has likely had to fight for very little in life, mostly unaware of the struggles many minorities face. He has been a reality star for years, now the ultimate challenge, nomination of the highest office in the land, modern North American king, royalty, this is just much too much of a challenge to pass up, to see if he can take that title for himself.

Of course he can’t back down from this. He’s already practically hijacked the whole entire world into watching him/listening to him talk. It’s the ultimate reality show, on a world stage.

But what happens if he actually gets there?

Hitler. Trump. Of course I don’t think they are the same men, with the exact same plans or intentions. I don’t know what Trump has in mind for the kingdom he wants to rule. I do know that Trump is only the symptom of a larger problem in the world.

I’ve studied pre-World War II history, the great depression, and the uprising of anti-semitism somewhat. Now I watch the news and often I wonder if I am witnessing the sorts of things that those in the 20s and 30s witnessed. I have this yucky feeling inside that I might just be.

Demagog. Xenophobic. These are terms I didn’t even know five years ago.

People see things, with their own eyes, hear things with their own two years, but choose to dismiss them. They are in denial, don’t want to believe it, if it is not happening to them in that moment.

“That couldn’t possibly happen again, oh no. Not on my watch, on ours. Not with what we know, in the world today. That would never happen in 2016, in America.”

But they forget the past, or never fully acknowledged it, and are then on the way to repeating the mistakes of history, at break-neck speed.

Horrible things do happen again, are happening right now, and they are just as cruel and unfair as ever before. My father taught me, as difficult as it is and as negative, to love and appreciate history and the hard lessons it can teach us, if we pay attention.

I wish I could have all the positivity of my mother, but I sometimes think she is counting on the rest of the world being as logical, rational, and genuinely good as she is.

I wish I had all that faith in humanity that my prime minister who, amidst endless questions from reporters about his thoughts on Trump, repeatedly takes the high road over.

He says very little, only that he has faith in the better judgment of the American people to make the right choice when the time comes. He doesn’t resort to insults and petty name calling, like Trump is caught doing in so many sound bites, some I will never be able to un-hear.

Trudeau stays dignified, as us Canadians are famous for, but what does he truly think? Is he worried, like me? Perhaps I can’t figure out how to remain quite so tactful any longer.

Jokes are made all the time now, as a Trump win for the presidency starts to look more and more possible – Americans saying they want to move to Canada if Trump is elected:

Cape Breton: The Canadian island for Americans who want to escape Donald Trump

The fighting spirit going on during these tense times has those in favour of Trump, his own family included saying they will help them pack. I hate to hear all the ugliness, all a bunch of bickering children on the school’s playground.

Some Canadians would say no to this escape plan anyway, turning away our neighbours, immigrants (refugees is a stretch, but who knows). Some Canadians go on to say that Americans must clean up their own messes, but where do we draw that line? For those Americans who don’t vote for Trump, depending on what were to happen after he took office, wouldn’t they have a right, a reason to get away?

In the media, Canadian islands like Cape Breton talk of inviting Americans. If Trump becomes president, not even a US/Canadian border feels like enough space and separation to me. Our world may have borders and oceans between continents, but we can’t remain separate from our fellow countries. Our globe has become much too global in the nearly 100 years now since the World Wars.

I know Hitler used the dissatisfaction that a lot of Germans felt at that time. Then it was the Jews, Communists, us against them. There had to be someone to place the focus, to lay blame, to be afraid of, as fear has always evolved into a lot worse things.

Now Trump is using the dissatisfied state of America to win, something he loves to do, and he’s doing it at the expense of Muslims or Mexicans. I don’t know his true intentions, but he is egotistical and narcissistic.

He has slogans like, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”. Of course, politicians use slogans, but his sounds ominously like something Hitler shouted to crowds at his rallies in the thirties.

The world has always been ruled by white men. We know the history, but some places, the US and Canada, we don’t like to think about the bloody, greedy details so often white washed over in the history books.

Canada and the world at large aren’t perfect either. The North American continent was inhabited by Natives and it was the white Europeans who came over and took all that we have today. Most of us, since then, our ancestors were immigrants at one time or another, but we choose to forget that fact. We must not forget that part.

George and Amal Clooney on 5 years of conflict in Syria

People who know me know I tend to get easily upset, and so I am told not to read Facebook comments, but I sometimes do. I can’t always help myself and I sometimes think it helps me remain compassionate.

I hear from Canadians all the time that they don’t want refugees over here, taking our resources away from us. It can be a chilling reality to hear what some people are really thinking.

It’s the individual stories that frighten: One Florida woman spoke of her family being of a different kind of immigrant. They weren’t like the lazy, bottom feeder immigrants of today. This was her rationale for her feelings. This is a scary position to take, if she really does believe what she says. No empathy, no compassion, not even from most of us who’ve had our ancestors come from other countries in the past. This baffles me most of all.

Hitler believed his success couldn’t be attributed to anything other than divine providence.

Trump said his success, even after the riots and violence at rallies in recent weeks, not even he can explain that one.

All the conflict in Chicago for example only serves Trump’s purpose. No violence is acceptable, but things shouldn’t have gotten out of hand. I wish it hadn’t. Will this continue? Will it escalate?

I am not American and won’t be able to vote against Donald Trump for President. I am Canadian and glad of it, but I have a stake in what happens in the world. I may be in a separate country, but no “wall” (real or metaphorical) could ever possibly keep me secluded and unaware of the scary rhetoric that many are spouting.

Where does it end? I am not fleeing my home right now. I live in Canada, a peaceful place, but I can empathize. Where is the empathy? It’s clouded by fear, misinformation, and stereotypes.

It helps my own ability for empathy to listen to the personal stories: like the young Syrian refugee who now lives in Montreal and studies psychology, all the while keeping an eye on what’s going on back in her home country, all the while remembering the painful and cruel interrogations she underwent when she was arrested for protesting, five years ago back when the conflict in Syria began.

All of Europe are dealing with the fleeing people up close, on the front lines. This can’t be easy. Countries who were accepting at first now experiencing push-back from some citizens, bigotry increasing, stereotypes free flowing.

Hillary and Bernie both made their mistakes, said the wrong thing at the wrong moment and offended someone, but Hillary apologized. Trump has never done this. Anyone who has never apologized or recognized the mistakes they’ve made, because we’ve all made them, is nobody I want running anything. This equates him with someone as dangerous as Hitler was proven to be and I am saying it without hesitation.

More and more are beginning to call him out, but is he a joke (like so many late night comedians would like to think), a harmless nuisance, a guy who will do anything necessary to win, or something worse? I try to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I have never met him in person. How can we really judge another person if we’ve never met them? I don’t want to believe I am living in another 1930s, but we don’t tend to learn all that much from our past mistakes. I hate to say it.

I am scared. If refugees, immigrants, Muslims can be targeted, where does it stop? Women are still suffering in many places around the world. People with disabilities and LGBT face prejudice in both big and small ways. We can’t continue to support white supremacy. If you can’t bring yourself to mention Donald Trump in the same breath as Adolf Hitler, at least call his talk what it is. He may not be in the KKK, but his statements, the things he’s said to get where he’s gotten, they can only be said by someone living in his extremely privileged position. As chaotic as things are in his country these days, such a situation is something so much of the world would kill for. Terms like that are worded that way for a reason.

I know what’s happening around the world is awful – in the five years since the war in Syria began, when I hear word coming out of the atrocities happening in South Sudan for example, and the problems feel far too huge for any solutions to be found.

But there are those looking for compassionate solutions.

I feel optimism when I listen to this expert from Oxford or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I am uplifted when I realize there are still those using common sense, compassion, and intelligence to figure out this complicated world we live in.

I keep up on what’s happening in the US, not only from the news, but from one writer/blogger in particular who writes thoughtfully about politics and in a way I can begin to understand about a system that I often find highly confusing and complex:

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears

We all have an opinion, but so much of it is backed by anger. A lot of what can be found underneath that anger is fear. What are we teaching our children? What is being modelled for them?

What Our Children Are Learning

It’s really hard to let kindness, understanding, and empathy show through all that, but we need to make the effort for the hope of the future generations.

Like I so often think: I wonder what the state of things in my country of Canada, in the US, in North America, and all around the world will look like, one year from now?

One year from now? Fifty? One hundred?

I wish I could turn off the news for good, as I can’t really stand to hear Trump’s smug, ranting voice much longer, but I may not have much of a choice by this time next year, no matter what anyone says, what my prime minister says or does not say out loud.

Does Trudeau have a duty, as the person running Canada, to speak up and stand up to Trump, especially if he’s saying such inflammatory things about all manner of types of people? Or is he showing tact by keeping quiet?

When is it important to speak up? I think none of us, even Trudeau, would hate to think Trump could be compared to Hitler in any way whatsoever.

Trust me, I don’t want to think it (don’t even like using these two men’s names if I can help it), but am following a gut feeling.

Or perhaps I am just using the comparison to prove something through my writing.

Who knows which one it truly is. Not even I’m certain at this point. Some of both I’d say.

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In The News and On My Mind: Seeing Red, #BlueSkyFriday

Remember, back a few weeks ago, when all we had to debate were a bunch of red coffee cups?

didyoureadmylatestblogpostyetimage-2015-11-18-01-18.png

***

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast.
–JEG

***

Okay, so there was always a lot more going on in the world than that, but still…

It’s nearly a month till Christmas, and now the world is, once more, seeing red on the events of Friday the 13th and the latest November terrorist attacks by ISIS.

It began with Starbucks and their solid red cups, but it did not end there. It never does.

I had a conversation with my parents recently. In this conversation, my mom stated emphatically that, in the end, there is no way the US would actually elect Donald Trump as their president. My father and I aren’t so sure. At this point, a lot wouldn’t surprise me. That wouldn’t surprise me. This world is a crazy crazy place.

Listening to another one of Trump’s rants, about the popular coffee chain choosing just plain red, as their Christmas cup design, I was baffled by the attention America has given this man.

I was also baffled by the things that people obsess over, but there’s always something else, coming along, to shift the discussion to another outrage or outcry. People like to be angry about something: sometimes warranted and sometimes not.

Speaking of red…

that expression (seeing red) is one I’ve been thinking a lot about. It fits with my series: “In The News and On My Mind” and yet, going from some silly coloured coffee cups to the level of outrage at those poor people injured and killed in France has me thinking about my favourite colour, as the holiday season approaches.

I went slightly numb when I heard the news in progress last Friday night. Here we go again, I said to myself. It was approaching suppertime, and then…

Gun shots. Crack. Bomb blasts. Bang. Not again.

But just a few days earlier I’d heard about the cracks and the bangs, but in countries and cities I didn’t know.

Everyone knows Paris, but this had been already going on elsewhere in previous days. These attacks happen in other places, but that’s just what happens in places like Iraq, Turkey, Beirut, but not in France. Oh no.

I listened, through the night, until I could not listen anymore. I wanted to wait for more information because I wanted to know what we were dealing with, before my outrage flew out of control, like the rest of the world.

So, my Facebook newsfeed burst with people’s status rants, condolences in solidarity with France, and news stories from every angle. I tried to read it all, to educate myself and remain as informed as possible, but after a bit of a family emergency, a distraction from the wider world’s events, I had something closer to home to focus my attention and all my worry on.

The events of the wider world were silenced, as if someone turned the volume way down, in the background, and I may not have wanted that, but I almost welcomed the change and this other place to put all my energy.

What a lot to happen to my country’s brand new prime minister, a test of his capability, only a few weeks in. On his way to summits, dealing with economic matters and soon to be in PAris for talks on the environment.

Justin Trudeau’s big promised plan to bring 25,000 refugees into Canada by New Year’s was going to be challenged. Some of the Canadian premiers are urging Trudeau to pull back, to think carefully.

Governors are calling for similar caution from President Obama. If even one extremist is allowed entry and the chance to do what was done in PAris, even amongst the larger group, this would be too much, right?

I’ve listened to all this and I am not the one in charge, thank God, but I do not wish to fight fear with fear and violence with violence. That is where the world is heading, where most countries start to head in times like these.

Again, where would I want the world to go with that? If I were innocently fleeing from my home, surrounded by violence and fear, what would I want from the rest of the world?

All the stories I heard with November 11th being just last week. All of what was known and what wasn’t done during the Holocaust. If the rest of the world knows people are suffering, and we all sit back and ignore it, what does that make us? If, one day, it is any of us in the other position and in need of help, what should we expect?

I’m born from a line of those who only want to see the best in people. I am also the granddaughter of two immigrants. We are all, for the most part, immigrants from one time or another.

Us and them. Those and we.

The Islamic State. Islamic religion. Islamic terrorists. It’s all so mixed up in people’s minds, but these are not the times where people should be excused for saying awful things and remaining uneducated. It hurts my head to stay educated on the world, forever changing and moving, but I have no choice now. It’s the world my niece and nephews will inherit, which means I have to care. I have no more choice to stay sheltered and hidden, as I was and did as a child.

I am slightly removed still, an entire ocean between myself and France, but I can imagine what it must be like, having something so threatening right in my back yard. I want the appropriate action taken against anyone who has an express purpose of destroying human life, no matter the reason. I know what he had to do, as president of the country attacked. I know all of Europe is under a whole lot of stress and strain, as more and more Syrian refugees keep coming. Canada just wants to help, but are we next?

We can’t keep all the danger removed from us over here, as much as we might want to. I want to live in a bubble sometimes, to avoid getting hurt, but what kind of a life would that be? People are afraid. I get that.

Out for a night, in Paris, and nobody thought there would be so much blood. Out at a soccer game, to listen to a concert, or simply out for dinner and now there’s more anger and fear than ever.

Oh, of course there’s plenty of kindness, compassion, and love. Facebook shows both the good and the bad in people, just like in other ways. I have read plenty of both. I’ve read some of the ugliest statements from people and some of the most compassionate.

I may be the naive one, the one seeing the best in people, even as it fades in and out. I just can’t bring myself to think ignorant thoughts and make judgments about people I don’t know.

In the week since Paris was targeted:

A Peterborough mosque was torched

and

a Muslim woman was attacked in Toronto while picking her children up from school.

Indifference leads to fear, which often leads to outright hatred.

We expect certain rights and freedoms over in North America and in Europe. We expect the Middle East to be violent and evil.

Fighting between Israeli and Palestinian sides.

More us and them.

Christians and Muslims.

Us and them.

ISIS is getting more creative apparently,

communicating through PlayStation gaming systems.

What?

So many stories and new information coming in and how can anyone possibly keep up or know what’s true and what’s reality?

Facebook can be a curse at times like these. The debate over the changing of profile pictures was everywhere the other day. This is exactly why my mother’s advice to stay out of commenting and debating on Facebook is so smart. So what if someone wants to show their support or their emotion this way. And if they choose not to, that’s fine too.

On and after Friday night I wrote and posted how I felt, on my blog pages and my personal page, but I did not change any profile pic of mine.

All the gun safety talk of late was pushed back with this newest terrorist attack. That’s how it goes in the media.

Before this, I was working on my thoughts for these “In The News and On My Mind” posts. Here’s what else I was planning to talk about:

On the morning before the attacks on Paris I woke up to alarming news. I don’t wish to use his name here, but he is one of Canada’s most notorious murderers and he supposedly wrote a novel.

Read more about it here.

As a writer I was disgusted, but I suppose even Hitler wrote a book once.

Freedom of speech and all that, but I could not read such a book. I believe someone should, to find out what we’re dealing with, but I’m just glad it is not me.

Who, on earth, would help him do this in the first place?

These next two items have to do with the ethics of aquariums, zoos, and marine parks and the role my country plays in the global risk for the environment.

Embattled Sea World to overhaul killer whale show

As this article states, I am not sure Sea World has seen the light. They want to redeem themselves, after Blackfish, but upon seeing it myself and on further reflection, I want better for those majestic marine mammals I love so much.

And then there was Obama’s rejection of Canada’s Keystone Pipeline project.

I don’t want to sound like an environmental nut, because God knows I am not. I know oil has its uses and how much we all depend on it. I also know that the whole topic of oil makes me feel yucky. I don’t like the thought of it being pumped underground. I don’t like the alternative, which resulted in

something like this,

but how often does just such a tragedy happen? I don’t know the political elements that were involved in Obama’s decision or the plans Canada has going forward, but I think of poor marine animals, when the inevitable oil spill happens again, and I want a better option. I know all the fighting and the greed that goes on over oil and Canada has lots of it. I can’t say I was totally unhappy with President Obama’s choice, as uneducated on all the rest as that might make me.

And so it’s my own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who made a promise during his campaign: 25,000 refugees would be brought to Canada by the end of the year. Is this a good idea? More naive liberalism?

Liberals and conservatives.

Us and them.

Perhaps Canada needs to rethink things a bit? Not go back on Trudeau’s promise, but maybe, in the shadow of Friday the 13th attacks, slow the whole process down some.

We’re seeing, learning more and more about the process and how it will all come about. Skeptics ask if everyone so welcoming of refugees is willing to take some into our own homes:

First of all, I want to understand and to hear the individual stories.

From one refugee to another: What you need to know about Canada

It warms my heart that there are, in and amongst the uninformed and fearful comments, stories like these:

Canadian Couple Cancels Big Wedding to Sponsor a Family of Syrian Refugees Instead

We all know about boats full of migrants: women, children, and men too. Women and children are one thing, but the young men are all clearly terrorists, right?

I shake my head at this. I don’t let fear rule my notions of every single man coming off of those boats or fleeing Syria and into a refugee camp. What about the violence and the persecution these men are running from in their countries? Men can be in danger too. It’s the isolation and the desolation that leads to anger and vulnerability. This is what ISIS prays on. We can’t give in. We can’t let them win by making us afraid, using that fear against us, so we end up frozen by our suspicions.

I do not have any answers in this case. I still don’t know how to write about most of this, as it all feels much too big and broad. There are good and bad people everywhere and I refuse to give in to the fear, but more and more it seems that’s what leaders, politicians, and the media suggests.

Satisfied – Jewel

So if you are one of the many, “seeing red” at the crazy world we live in, I can understand and, believe me, I have my moments. However, I beg you to try to keep to your compassionate side, to look towards those who have let anger go, in favour of productive strategies and kindness.

As much as I love red, I leave that for the celebrations that are coming around the holidays, for most of us. The colour red is better suited for holly berries and ribbon. I would remind us all to remember that we are all human, all of us.

For more views on this, here are some posts written by fellow bloggers:

http://sisterwivesspeak.com/2015/11/19/is-your-love-big-enough-the-syrian-refugee-crisis/

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

–Martin Luther King Jr.

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Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND

In The News and On My Mind: Blue October/Red October, #TBT

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast.
–JEG

img_0967-2015-10-22-13-51.jpg

I love October. I love the cool scent in the air, one that brings me back to a different time – fall recesses in the school’s playground.

I love Halloween, despite all my comments to the contrary.

I know the month is usually associated with colours such as black and orange, but today I am talking more about blue and red.

I love colours that I begin to forget. I always will, no matter how vague their shades become to my mind, but I don’t like when a colour is associated with a political party. I love blue: blue skies, water, even and especially I love blue Powerade.

I love red. I would say red is my favourite colour. I love its connotations. I love its fiery, passionate, brilliance.

Blue can be associated with sadness. I can relate to that too. Red is the colour of my favourite literary character’s hair and the colour of hearts and love.

Now I’m supposed to give over my favourite colours to Conservatives or Liberals? No no no!

This October is becoming a mixture of excitement and tension, at least around here in Canada, for the hope that our Toronto Blue Jays will defy all odds and make it to the World Series and then there was our big election.

People in Toronto are dressed in the team colours. Our Boys in Blue. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are blue.

Blue and red.

The Jays play the Kansas City Royals again on Friday and all our hopes rest on this game, again, and I can’t really stand to watch the whole way through. It’s like when my brother or someone else I care about happens to be performing. My heart beats in anticipation for their success and I can hardly stand it.

As for our Canadian election: blue is out. Red is in.

Isn’t red associated with Communism? What?

Why do we ruin our beautiful colours, all of you forgetting how lucky you are to see them, with these differing affiliations?

No! I will not give up my precious colours to any one group of people or one set of beliefs.

I was not alive when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister of Canada, but I hear it was quite the time. Scandal of the day. His son Justin was born into this circus.

It’s strange to think that our Prime Minister is only a little more than a decade older than I am. This leaves him up for a lot of criticism because some say he is too young, unexperienced, as the attack ads always claimed.

Sure, eleven weeks for a political race may sound laughable to the US, for instance, but it was eleven weeks too long for me, with all those “he’s just not ready” attack ads.

Others say he is the fresh, new, younger leader this country needs. The world is moving forward, progress and all that, and I tend to agree.

As I’ve said before, who would want the job anyway? He’s got to be a little crazy, but he must have his reasons. Maybe he really does feel like he can make a difference. Running a country, even Canada for whatever that’s worth, must not be easy.

The fear mongering continues. Justin will raise taxes. People don’t feel safe anymore, within the first few days since the election took place. What are they afraid of? Should I be afraid too?

I wrote a blog post, pre-election, about the question of voting: who should I vote fore, should I give into the fears being raised, and how do I really and truly know who I believe can run this country?

Time For a Change

Throw-back to a few weeks ago and before the election.

Time to look ahead, to the future:

A New Day In Canada

Was our prime minister racist? Was he xenophobic? I hate to think it.

I probably should have stayed away, but I have been reading the Facebook comments on two posts in particular, both reflecting and looking back, with sadness to one year ago today and the death of Corporal Nathan Zirillo.

Ottawa shooting: Day of chaos remembered 1 year later

Stephen Harper, still technically in charge of Canada and Justin Trudeau, soon to be – come together to place a wreath for the dead. They both make use of social media, a sign of the times, but today they were, the two of them, offering their sincerest condolences for the loved ones affected in the tragedy of exactly one year ago.

I visited that spot, on Parliament Hill, last winter. It was a cold and grey day, but it was quiet, people milling about, with no sign that just four months earlier, on October 22nd, there would have been fear and panic of the unknown.

Of course, it should be all about the tragedy, the sacrifice, the bravery and remembering those we lost. Harper’s words were about remembering, but quickly things moved into comments about how people loved how safe they felt with Harper in charge and how afraid they are now that Trudeau is at the helm.

The Trudeau posts’ comments were full of people who are looking forward to a future with a new leader for Canada. Then, more back-and-forth.

I understand. These men aren’t responsible for what some commenter writes, but if I were Harper, all this time, I would be horrified that people are making such drastic statements in the name of Conservatism.

I could stay off places like Facebook, the comments, but it’s out there and I don’t want to close my eyes to it either.

There’s a page on Facebook, with 5641 likes, called Ban Islam In Canada:

“Islam is the world’s leading death cult! Please keep in mind we do not insult other religious beliefs here – IF YOU DO YOUR COMMENTS WILL BE DELETED! This page is about the dangers of Islam – so please respect other viewpoints about God.”

Excuse me! What did you just state?

What do I do when I realize this nonsense exists? I want to cry at the awfulness. I want to get angry at the ignorance. I want to make people understand, make them stop spreading such poison. If I were Harper, I would be horrified that anything like this uses Conservative politics on its page to help deliver its message. Canada is better than that.

I do get that There are going to be sides, but I don’t like it. I’ve said all this before. I hate it, in fact, but my mom always told me not to use that word unless you really meant it. She’s always right. I…um…dislike that.

🙂

I simply couldn’t believe some of the racist, sexist, awful comments made by my fellow Canadians. One man even went so far as to use the word “vaginas” when exclaiming he thought Canada will now sit on the side lines of fights he evidently believes canada should remain in. Really? I kind of wish I wasn’t sharing a country with that, um, farthest thing from a gentleman I can think of.

People are not wanting other groups, ethnicities, races in Canada. They tie them up, immediately, as being Muslim, AKA terrorists. No distinction. No difference to them.

Anytime a white man commits murder, we don’t start blaming all white people. This prejudice that has taken hold of our world, not just Canada, it must stop.

Yes, it was a horrible crime that was perpetrated on October 22nd, 2014 in Ottawa and with the death of Patrice Vincent in Quebec.

Zirillo was on duty. He wasn’t in a coffee shop or church. He knew the risks in such a job, as remote as they were. That doesn’t make it any less tragic for his family, for his child, but there it is.

I don’t know where it was proven the one responsible was a terrorist. If it was, correct me. It was one lone extremist, a radical.

Was he mentally ill or did he know exactly what he was doing? This debate will continue. More attention on mental health? Always.

Did our prime minister use those things to push his agenda? Would someone do such a thing? Did he truly believe Canada was being attacked, because the guy attacked where and who he did? The perpetrator didn’t just attack someone in a cafe or on the street, but terrorists do that as well.

Should I be more afraid than I am about Canada being attacked, being in the wrong place at the wrong time myself one time?

This happened while Harper was in charge. What if it happened when Trudeau was? People would blame him for being soft on terrorism. What do people think of the fact that it ended up happening on Harper’s watch?

It’s all perception really. Facts and events are concrete, but the way they are perceived is an entirely different story.

George Bush was in charge during 9/11 and not Obama. Did Bush make things safer so something like that did not happen for Obama?

Who knows.

I am proud to be Canadian. I feel for the family. It affects me when something like that happens, in the capital of my country or anywhere else.

I choose not to follow the line of fear so many do. I choose to believe that most people who want to come to Canada want to come for the best reasons, reasons having nothing to do with terrorism.

If they choose to follow more of the Canadian traditions and beliefs or if they intend to remain immersed in whatever religion or culture they came from. As long as we are good to one another, what does it matter?

What will that do to Canada? Oh please!

It was said Harper’s campaign failed because he was running on a message of fear. People got sick of it. I only know that I felt it and I was sick of it.

Now, will Justin magically fix all the problems going on in our world today and in Canada? Of course not. No politician can, does, or ever will.

I do happen to like a younger and fresh take on things. He has been in politics, surrounded in it all his life, which you could argue gives him the ultimate dose of experience, as he’s seen firsthand what the job is like.

I’ve learned Justin Trudeau was/is a teacher. He seems to have a more stable family life, compared to his parents. Let’s hope the stresses of his new job don’t damage that.

I hear that Pierre Trudeau was known as a brilliant man, an intellectual, but people are saying Justin has an emotional intelligence and sensitivity that I would like for Canada’s PM.

How is Margaret Trudeau feeling about her son taking on the position? She knows what it’s like and only wants the best for her child and his family.

Let’s give Margaret Trudeau the respect she deserves

It’s the dynasty, the Trudeau family. I don’t know much about that, but as I am now an adult and observant of things, even as I try to resist it, it shall be interesting to see how those who keep pushing the fear tactic will handle whatever happens.

Are we allowed to call Justin Trudeau hot?

I can’t see Justin and his apparent good looks. That’s certainly not why I would have voted for him, as so many are claiming was done. Really? Does anyone really believe another would vote for a guy to run the country, on his appearance? Do sighted people do such a ridiculous thing as this, ever?

So the “Blue” Jays go on to fight another day.

And the red Liberals have the majority.

I choose to go with sunny yellow. Hope, bright times ahead, sunny skies and green lights for Toronto, Ottawa, and the rest of Canada.

The Daily Show gets the last word, practically.

It is my blog after all.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND

Time For A Change

Who are you voting for? Who am I voting for?

Good question.

***

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
–JEG

***

From Harper Lee to Stephen Harper.

Another one of these “In The News” posts, two weeks in a row, but this one is a special edition, not my favourite topics, but definitely in the news here.

I read so many awful, nasty comments in the Facebook post from a local college. The question of refugees, Syrian and other, was being debated. It was shockingly sad to hear some of the statements people were making.

What would I do if I had a home no more and had to leave? What would I want?

I did one project, in high school, about the immigration process. I have no clue, being born a Canadian, what it takes to become one.

Is Stephen Harper pushing a cynical agenda, a lot of prejudice against any specific group of people? Could anybody be so wrong as to vilify any whole group of people for the actions of the few? Are there those living here who don’t feel safe, feel wanted, feel accepted?

I knew very little about much when 9/11 happened. I don’t see how bad it’s said to have gotten since. That’s not my experience, but I know how important it is to feel like a part of one’s country, society, treated like a real person who matters.

Fifty years in Canada, and now I feel like a second-class citizen

“It was great to be in London with hundreds of enthusiastic Conservatives last night. People here want lower taxes, balanced budgets, and more good Canadian jobs. They’re voting Conservative on October 19th. Will you be doing the same?”
–Stephen Harper

Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been leading Canada for, what seems like forever to me now.

Does that mean it is time for a change?

Research. Educate. Check the facts. Pay attention to your gut. What are the facts anyway?

I have felt an unease, a slide, a nagging in the pit of my stomach these last few years. I don’t think I like what’s happened to my country, the direction we’ve been led in, but perhaps I wouldn’t have been happy before that and I just wasn’t paying much attention.

I’m told Harper looks so staged when he speaks. He won’t allow for questions. He won’t answer, won’t address.

What’s going on with the environment? What is our stance on military issues, fighting, peace?

Harper’s talk is always about budgets and other boring things. Okay, so they are necessary for the running of any country, but I know very little about them. I try to educate myself, watch the news, but read a lot, honestly, on Facebook. Articles are posted there and I read about how other Canadians live and the concerns they’re having.

His threats are all fear based. I hate that. The other guys, Trudeau or Mulcair, they will screw our country up, Harper and all Conservatives keep saying.

Vote for him or they will raise taxes. Vote for him or spending will become out of control. We wouldn’t want that, right? What sane person would want that? Of course. No brainer?

I hear this again and again. I never hear him talk about the health of the environment. I never hear any feeling in his voice. Do I truly believe that he cares at all? Would anyone else, anyone, do a worse job than he’s done? Could it get any worse? How bad is it really?

Disabled Canadians Are Invisible In This Election

Promises. Promises. Promises. I am tired of broken promises. I don’t want to feel invisible anymore.

The US has the Americans With Disabilities Act. Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but I am looking or feeling for more of this. It is a big concern for me, even if many Canadians are more worried about taxes.

The rich, middle-class, poor. Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green Party…so much to keep up with and keep track of.

Who do I want to run Canada? Who do I vote for and do I only feel as strongly as I do because that is how I was raised? Hmmm.

How do people pick up their beliefs? I wonder all of this as the next federal election is coming in a few short days. I want to vote, make the right choice, and see it make a difference. Is this all possible?

These are some of the questions I have been pondering lately, in the run-up to October 19th.

Re-elect Stephen Harper? Vote Liberal and Justin Trudeau or NDP and Tom Mulcair?

I voted, for the first time, back in the last election. I have done it a few times only. I didn’t exercise my right to vote, as a Canadian citizen, up until recently.

I know why I didn’t vote before that. It’s the same reason many people don’t.

Oh, I can’t possibly make the slightest bit of difference. I hate politics. I don’t know who to vote fore, so why bother, casting a vote for someone I don’t even really like?

I said all of these to myself. It is true that I hate politics.

It’s rhetoric. It’s attack ads. It’s making false promises, only to not come through with them after being elected. I loath it all.

I guess I wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but there are worse things, like not having the ability to vote at all. I tell myself this now, in moments of pure annoyance, and I say to myself that I’m damn lucky to live in Canada, even with the parts I dislike. I should be grateful and thankful and I should vote, just because I can.

So that old question, that I’ve struggled with, has been resolved in my mind. The next question, after the why, is the whom?

“Nice hair though.”

This has been a favourite line of Conservative attack ads against Justin Trudeau, along with the pronouncement that he’s just not ready yet.

I don’t know how anybody could be ready to run a country.

Do I vote for the liberals? NDP?

I ask my dad what he thinks. He tries to explain about the local politician in our area, which has been Conservative for a while. I grow weary of politics, but I must become more informed.

Minority government. Majority government. And my mind begins to drift. Blah blah blah.

I wish I had more interest in these things, but I honestly begin to doze. Politics, I can’t grow up and get away from the feeling of boredom I have always felt at thinking about government and all of its proceedings.

But then I listen to my father’s passion when he speaks of the country his parents came to, all those years ago, to start a new life. They gave him one, made one for him and his brothers. I truly believe hearing the passionate tone of my father, to understand what he cares about seeing for Canada, has been good for me. It’s taught me to figure out what I feel strongly and passionately about too. He’s shown me the importance of paying attention to how I feel and what my heart tells me is right.

I wonder how much family has influenced my thinking, but at some point we must all decide for ourselves what we believe.

I know what I truly think and feel, somewhere deep down, in my gut, I know. So why then do I still question it?

I know I want protection of our resources, our wild life, our oceans. Just the word “oil” has begun to leave a bad, you might even say an oily taste in my mouth.

🙂

I know I want freedom, to remain the welcoming people we Canadians like to think we are…to feel like we are accepting of all races, cultures, and religions.

People are going on about their discomfort with the niqab. It doesn’t affect me. I wonder what it matters to anyone else. I can’t see the coverings Muslims wear. Why do we fear this? We do not understand. It’s a sign of oppression, as we’ve been told, hear about in extreme cases that make the news.

Can we sit down and talk to those people, those women, to find out if they are happy. Do they have good lives? Are they afraid?

Islam and the Muslim religion are the targets in our world today, not only here in Canada, as we all know.

Culture and belief systems are powerful things. I don’t see to judge. Being blind helps me with that.

“This is Canada. If they don’t like it, they can go back to where they came from.”

This is something said repeatedly, at nauseam. I want us all to live our lives how we want, as long as that doesn’t include harming others. Why is that so complicated?

Instead, again there’s only more separation, more division, more one side against another. I want to feel like this isn’t always the case in Canada.

Fear of terrorism is real, but how much? How afraid should I really be that my safe home could ever see the kind of danger other parts of the world see? Do I fear or do I remain rational, find compassion, believing in a just and peaceful world?

Most people are good, only want to be left alone, to live their lives. Why must we make it more than that?

Okay, so after talking about all these things, what answers have I really found? What conclusions have I actually reached? Where do I stand?

I must go now and stop reading the upsetting things being said, the nasty back-and-forth comments on Facebook posts about who should run Canada after Monday, and move no to more important things, things that feel hopeful and positive. This afternoon’s game, the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers. It’s all up to Toronto now.

This is their shot. Can they do it?

#ComeTogether

All I know is I feel better when I hear how hyped people around here are. The impassioned back-and-forth of politics giving way to the pride in our only MLB team.

What is it about sports, a baseball team, a game that makes us all feel so energized?

I wonder, as I’m watching. I feel the excited tension in the pit of my stomach, a nervous energy, but a quickening of my pulse, my heartbeat. It’s just a game of course, but the feeling is contagious.

Of course there are those little funny things that make the game extra fun.

US broadcaster’s comments anger all of Canada

Not such a big deal. He didn’t know. He didn’t know I spent more time, as a child, not playing baseball because of my visual impairment, but playing around a baseball diamond. My sister, my brother, my parents all played. He didn’t know. Made a silly comment and suddenly Twitter was buzzing.

I focus on the positivity I get from my mom. They can win this. It’s possible.

As Scarlet O’Hara mused, in Gone with the Wind: I will go back to thinking about politics and the important issues of the day, in the news, tomorrow.

Indeed Sheryl, indeed.

Oh no! Will she sue me for using this song in my post, if she doesn’t agree with my political views? Hope she doesn’t see this.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Poetry, RIP

In The News and On My Mind: Sticks and Stones

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
–JEG

Here we are again, going in circles.

Again, President Obama, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver are compelled to speak about gun violence.

And, I guess, so am i…

President Obama Speaks At Press Conference For Oregon Mass Shooting

There are more causes with days or weeks or month recognition in October than I could shake a stick at.

😉

This week I focus on mental illness, because it is the week to recognize that people are suffering and, once more, we are forced to talk about it because havoc has been caused in its name.

In my Facebook newsfeed, I can’t keep track of the causes and their turns to be highlighted, but most of it hits me hard, has touched my own life in some way.

I’ve been rereading some Harry Potter lately and I began to think about weapons in that magical world. They have their wands, which are like our guns, and then there’s Hagrid’s trusty bow and arrow.

Okay, so just this week, in Toronto, a man was found dead after being shot with an arrow. It happens, in all sorts of ways. We kill each other and we can’t seem to stop.

I think about the way it was, hundreds of years ago, when there were arrows and swords.

Now we have guns.

People are going to die, be it from an arrow, a bullet, a blade, or a drug.

Those who feel alone or have no support will lose the battle sometimes. It’s up to those who have had the support, to give that support right back to others.

Stephen Colbert said, “Insanity is changing nothing and pretending something will change”.

I hope we never lose the humour, his type of humour and honesty, in the face of these hard and harsh realities.

The LAte Show, Stephen Colbert – Some Thoughts On Pretending

Rowling’s wizards could and did horrible damage and caused horrific cruelty with their wands, but this was mostly due to evil groups such as Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters.

Law abiding wizards used their wands, more than we use guns, specifically speaking in Canada, but still I say you could compare it to the world a lot of people want to live in, most often in the US. They want a gun accessible, for a feeling of security and a way to protect themselves and their loved ones, in the case of a dangerous intruder threatening them.

Whether it’s a bow and arrow or a shot gun, hunting was and is a way of life for people, for need or for sport, in Canada and elsewhere.

I don’t know a lot about guns and I don’t know the laws and the loopholes. I do know that the battle is between us and them, one side against another and I don’t like it. It’s about one side saying “they” want to take “our” guns away from us.

Then the other side says they want less mass shootings.

I can’t help but think of a time when settlers came to this continent, us against them, and guns were introduced.

Us and them. Us and them. Us and them. It never ends.

It never ends and I’m sick of it.

I know which side I am on, but then I realize just how futile being on any side is. Where has it gotten us? Why can’t any sort of compromise be reached? Why are humans so stubborn, immovable, and unwilling to bend at all?

And then the two sides fight over mental illness.

Mental illness or guns?

Where does that put the people with those illnesses, the vulnerable? How do they feel?

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week and my next post will be one I’ve wanted to write for over a year, but I couldn’t resist including John’s clip here because it is part of this conversation.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – Worst Time To Talk About Mental Health

His idea is a radical one, a drastic one, and one the one side would totally discount, but again his honesty in the humour he dishes out is worth listening to.

I’ve enjoyed John Oliver since I first saw him with a role in the show Community, but take a look at John’s segment because I want to do more for mental health, as my next post will continue to demonstrate.

I think we need to not focus on one over the other. We need to focus on both. Why oh why are we always so quick to pick one side, divide, separate? Why do we go to extremes?

Don’t we use the term “extremist” for violent and evil terrorists?

Someone who would storm into a classroom, movie theatre, shopping mall with a gun or guns able to take down many people is committing an act of terrorism, aren’t they? They are terrorizing people.

Are they mentally unstable, ill, sick, disturbed? Call it anything you like. It’s an extreme and it is terrorizing.

Oh, but those people are going to the extreme of an extreme, right? We all like our extremes, our sides, but we aren’t like them, oh no.

Most people with mental illness aren’t ever going to shoot up a place. Some could commit an act of violence, but mostly it ends up being on themselves, as with conditions like self harm, cutting, or suicidal ideation.

When a mother drowns her three children and then herself, that makes the news. When the mother kills her children and not herself, we see her face as she stands before the judge and jury to accept the verdict.

We condemn her for hurting the innocent, but how do we prevent that from ever taking shape to begin with?

As with the latest mass shooting, we hear about it for a long time and the ripples can be felt spreading out, in every direction. People do use these occasions to back up whatever facts or points they want to get across, for their own reasons. It becomes political instead of social or humanitarian. Then we do move on, or most of us do.

We don’t hear about the every day struggles of mental illness in someone’s life. We don’t want to, we choose not to, would prefer to avoid hearing about that part of the story, the ugly, that part that comes before the possible tragedy. I read a lot of these stories on the blogs I come across. The ones I read about are the stories that will hopefully have a happy ending.

Like this one, for instance.

When suicide can be and is avoided, it’s a wonderful thing, but it is an ongoing struggle for most people. We need to be aware of it, be honest about it, find humour in the good parts of life to help combat it.

I don’t know why we listen to the news or a press conference really. Can what’s being said really mean anything lasting or practical? I must, like everyone else, try not to let the negative futility take over my thoughts.

Like John says, we owe people more than just words. We owe them a plan.

For me, here, words are the plan, but I don’t know the answer for a plan to prevent tragedy like we see again and again and again.

I am not afraid. I don’t live in a dangerous part of town. I have support and love in my life. I don’t live in poverty.

I do not fear for my life. I do not carry a gun. I think you would probably agree that not being able to see and guns don’t mix and I would agree too.

🙂

I wish they weren’t in the hands of anyone who couldn’t be sure of being proper and safe, but are any of us truly guaranteed safety with a gun in the picture?

Some would say yes. They would feel powerful and in control. Us against them. Me against them.

😦

Then another shooting makes my television’s news program and the insanity continues.

An eleven-year-old boy shoots an eight-year-old girl.

And I curse guns all the more. They didn’t keep that little girl safe. They didn’t keep her alive. They won’t permit her to grow up and have a future.

I can’t find a smidge of humour in that, honestly.

Dear Congress – Sincerely, A Mass Shooting Survivor

Not only has this particular, firsthand account received a huge amount of attention, but even my comment I left, from my perspective as a Canadian has received several likes, more than I would normally get.

We need different perspectives and we need to pay a little more attention and learn a little something from all of them.

I see a climate of fear and one that perpetuates violence. I see that being so deeply ingrained in US culture specifically.

I may be blind, but I am not blind to what things might be like here in Canada. I know it’s not my experience, but my somewhat sheltered life has put me at a greater position of hopefully having a better understanding, somehow and somewhere among all the chaos.

Nothing will change, as fatalistic as that might sound, as long as this deeply ingrained fear persists, if the “them against us” view of the world continues, no matter what country is in the headlines.

As the well-known rhyme says, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

Sticks. Stones. Words. Lies.

Then there was the story that just broke about a comedian/actor who told an awful lie. He’s been busted and a lot of Americans would like to see him hung out to dry for it.

Words. A few little words and a story of exaggeration, told in a small group of people, and nothing more might have come of that, if it weren’t concerning the sensitive subject of September 11th.

Steve Rannazzisi Comes Clean About 9/11 Lie

He speaks about this to Howard Stern and Howard listens, gives the guy the chance to explain and to begin to apologize, but does not take calls. Probably a good idea. There’s always Twitter and the rest of the Internet for that.

I wasn’t involved in 9/11 and so I’m not quite so raw over the matter I guess.

That September 11th, it seemed bigger than I could possibly comprehend on that day, but these things happen in the world.

I am a fan of The League, ever since I was introduced to it by someone a few years ago. Who would have thought that a show about fantasy football would be my kind of show, but when I actually sat down and gave it a chance, I liked the humour and the guys and the characters they played.

Steve didn’t directly hurt me. I can give the guy a break. Others can’t. Outrage and anger for some. Forgiveness for others. Compassion from me because I am able.

Listening to the interview was interesting. With my interest in psychology, it is fascinating to hear someone explain, justify, rationalize something so irrational as pretending they were involved in something so horrible. What kind of a person would or could do that? A lonely one. An insecure one. A misguided, attention seeking, weak guy in a weak moment.

I just recently saw a program about a woman who insinuated herself into online grief chat rooms with 9/11 survivors and the families of those who lost their lives.

She did it for money or for a hole inside. How is Steve all that different?

People’s intentions matter. Their actions, for some, matter more.

Compassion is the way we should be leaning. Anger is the tempting route to take. Violence and weapons go hand in hand. Hatred and anger feed off of each other.

Guns kill. The line, guns don’t kill people, people kill people has been bandied about so much. It’s becoming a cliche. People kill other people with guns. I am not for banning things altogether because I know, like with drugs, that doesn’t solve the problem. I am for compromises, understanding, and care..

Terrorism kills.

I firmly believe we can not bend under the pressure, snap, and let the hate win. Words can be used for good, for positivity, for kindness. I use my words for that.

Next week, for In The News and On My Mind I will talk more about immigration, refugees, and the federal election here in Canada.

Do I vote? Will I vote? Will it make any difference whatsoever if I do or don’t?

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions

In The News and On My Mind: School’s Back In Session

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
–JEG

Labor Day was Monday and now it’s back to school. This week is, thought by many, to be the end of summer.

A lot of what’s been going on in the news, I’m not sure, should be talked about. I’m not sure those I am referring to deserve to be mentioned by name, so I am going to try my best not to.

Instead, because these stories are still on my mind and, many are extremely bothersome, I will focus on recognizing those who do deserve it, just to balance things out a little.

***

Not sure how I feel about the British monarchy, but I did watch

“The Queen”

in theatres, on its release, and again, on television the other night.

It’s sixty years of Queen Elizabeth and Britain is celebrating her this week.

At the moment, those making the news with names I hesitate to mention include: a “comedian” who believes fat shaming is acceptable, another “comedian” who has gone on the record and defended rape, and the continuation of the circus around next year’s US elections.

There is a difference between honesty and bullying behaviour. It’s a fine line and I don’t know where that line is. We’re much too serious these days, we must learn to laugh at ourselves, but that can hurt when you constantly feel as if you are the one being laughed at and the universe always seems to be making jokes at your expense.

I don’t know what right anyone has to say any woman is “unrapeable”. I’m sick and tired of men like this, making stupid statements like that, falling back on the “innocent until proven guilty” line. I also don’t care how important of a TV sitcom doctor/father icon anyone was for the African American community during the eighties.

As for all talk of building a wall and kicking people out, splitting families up, this is likely a non issue anyway, but, I must admit, I do look forward to Colbert’s Trump jokes over the coming months.

Then there’s the judge who is becoming some kind of right fighter for the cause of religion and biblical belief. She has the right not to do anything she doesn’t feel sits well with her and her God of course, but she does not have the right to go against the newly set law of United States, as it has been set. The world is becoming a more accepting place, overall, and those who wish to fight this will get left in the dust of the past. Why do we seem so keen to stop progress and challenge love? It’s fear. We can’t let fear rule over common sense.

There’s been more news, stories every day, about the flooding of mostly Syrian refugees, into neighbouring, European countries. Boat. Train. On Foot. They keep on coming.

Images are powerful. I heard something about the image of a dead child on a beach. I can’t see it, but the visual in my head is still heartbreaking.

Germany is being praised for its acceptance of these people, so desperately in need and so is Iceland.

What about Canada? Would we here step up as well? What if I had to flee my home? Wouldn’t I want a safe place to open their arms wide for me and my family?

The decline of the once so self righteous Ashley Madison cheating website continues and I was, admittedly, happy about it from the start.

Then, last week, a literary website that featured a short essay of mine back at Christmas ran into some issues. There was a hack or a virus and the person running the site wasn’t sure everything would survive.

How Cranky is Our Little Editor? – Brevity Magazine: Precise Literary Nonfiction

I have included a link, in a past blog post of my own, to my essay on that site. I was worried that would be lost forever, as sometimes backlinks fail. This has happened with things I’ve written, guest posts I’ve done previously.

Surely, my glee at the misfortune Ashley Madison’s been having wasn’t resulting in karma being directed right back at me, was it?

🙂

I offered up that possibility, on Brevity’s Facebook page, that it may have all been down to it being my fault, and thus issuing my sincere apologies to them, assuming this might be the case.

All the names of those caught using the cheating website have slowly been released. This included a member of America’s most notorious TLC family of religion, and multiple children, so recently known to have been outed for sexually abusing his sisters over the years. Not to mention, the head of the cheating website himself.

He swore, although he ran it, he never used it personally. Yeah right!

One of my favourite late night television segments joked about the hack:

Jimmy’s Thank You Notes – Ashley Madison

Although the fate of Ashley Madison may be in question, Jimmy is right. Like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, it could always become OKStupid! This is because I believe people would continue to share their private details and take foolish risks and engage in secret keeping against those they claim to love.

Again, I hate to pick on them and specifically the guy who ran it. Anyone who can convince so many men and women to hand over their most precious personal information (names, addresses, credit card info, fantasies) may think he’s clever, but may not be making the wisest of choices, even for himself.

As the new school year begins, there is more of an uproar on the newly revised sex education curriculum in the schools here, last updated back in 98 and as school has begun, certain parents are keeping their children out of the classroom.

I don’t know what these parents are imagining. It’s as if they are picturing daily sex ed classes, all day every day, all year, from September until June, with a continuous bombardment of sexually descriptive indoctrination, but, from what I heard, the sex ed program is only days long and isn’t even scheduled to begin until the spring. So, these children aren’t missing anything, right now, other than the usual: math, science, and language arts. The only damage being done is that the children are pulled out of regular classes, with their peers and friends, into a make-shift class, organized by the fearful parents themselves.

I like how Canada and the US seem to be so afraid of the proper education, our priorities so horribly messed up on so many things, but something as important as sexual health and physical safety are left up to the internet and tales told out on the playground. Maybe we should have Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver explain the whole thing to us all:

This week, not only has school resumed, but the late night TV wars are beginning.

I like Stephen Colbert and I have been looking forward to his taking over of David Letterman’s spot.

I watched the premier and it didn’t feel all that different. Speaking of the cheating website’s troubles:

“With this show, I begin to search for the real Stephen Colbert. I just hope I don’t find him on Ashley Madison.”

Sure, he is now no longer playing a role, but just being himself. I just couldn’t tell. The tone in his voice and his style of speaking were very nearly what they were on The Colbert Report. I am glad because that’s what I like about him, all political affiliations aside.

I’ve always loved Conan and Fallon is always entertaining. I rarely have stayed up until midnight to watch, often preferring to check specific clips out on Facebook and YouTube after-the-fact:

Letters From Kids – Suggestions For Jimmy

A lot of these shows have been bringing the children into their skits lately. The other Jimmy has been asking kids a lot of interesting questions in his segments. It’s always a slam dunk with the audience.

***

I just saw a goofily-captioned picture of a puppy right next to a photo-story about the awful things we did in Hiroshima 70 years ago. How can we be the same species who loves cute puppies and came up with such a terrible idea as an atomic bomb? This being human is a strange thing.

Indeed, JEG, indeed it is. Let the stories about cute puppies and children always be there to balance out the horrible headlines about injustice and hatred.

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