FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF, Travel, TravelWriting

Summer In Progress, #TGIF #FTSF

Well now – summer, 2018 is halfway gone. I know. I know how loathed I am by people when I point that fact out, but tis true.

Q: What did I learn this summer so far?

A: Don’t visit Florida in July. Far too humid.

It was
the summer of
Orlando, Florida.

It was the summer of
National Federation of the Blind conventions,
jitters of the first-timers, and memories made.

A group of members left Canada (from the Canadian version of the NFB) and spent a 4th of July (Independence Day) in one of the states of the union. From a distance, fireworks could be heard, after one of the many downpours came and went just as quickly.

My summer really started on that cloudy Wednesday.

It’s been the summer of seminars, speeches, and banquets, which included one free palm read.

An early morning solo swim, where the night before the pool deck, dark and silent, held a certain charm of its own.

Airplanes and the world’s quickest flight home.

My summer has now included a chest cold and a shattered iPhone screen, tire driven over, when I did not secure it safely inside my purse, but I now listen more closely to the rhythm of my heart.

Halfway through the summer and another FTSF with host Kristi and co-host
Kenya G. Johnson
of Sporadically Yours.

Next up: autumn, my favourite of all seasons, though this summer hasn’t been half bad.

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TToT: Living The Life We Want – So Slam That! #NFB18 #10Thankful

It was my first Independence Day in the US (independence being the key word there) and I had an unexpected and unpredicted time away. I owe it all to the CFB, sponsoring me to see what the US’s national convention is all about.

The difference between what exists in the US and what we’ve got here in Canada was hard to miss while I was in Florida all week.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful to be representing Ontario in this national magazine.

July 2018 Issue of The Blind Canadian

I’m thankful for this travel agent.

ANITA PATON – THE TRAVEL AGENT NEXT DOOR

She’s awesome!

I’m thankful for UPS volunteers.

It is a convention, held once a year, and this one had nearly 2500 attendees who used a white cane or a guide dog. All of us were trying to get the hang of a large hotel and conference/convention centre and having UPS volunteers around, to give us a bit of direction now and then was a big big help.

I was so overwhelmed, my first time attending, that sometimes I’d get panicky and have to stop and take a few deep breaths and refocus. I could continue on from there.

I’m thankful for the experience at this convention because it fostered further confidence and independence.

Convention 2018 Agenda

I’m thankful I got to meet a friend, in person finally, whom I’d been speaking with for years online.

He was great to talk to in person. Thanks, Timothy, for the coffee and the dinner and the company. You brought a bit of calm in the storm that that week felt like at times, so wound up, rushing on all around me.

I’m thankful for a still night on a closed pool deck.

Florida was so muggy that I didn’t mind getting to spend almost all my time in freezing cold convention halls. It was not so bad though, when the sun was down.

I’m thankful I didn’t have to change into my dress in a restroom stall.

I had to get it right, being back in the States and in Florida again (my fourth time) that they there were referring to washrooms as restrooms.

We had the banquet on our final night there and I didn’t want to have my dress on all day, through the final business hours. We weren’t staying on site, so I could have gone back to change at some point, but really there just wasn’t time.

So, thankfully, the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
president generously granted me her room and better bathroom to change in.

I’m thankful for a final, early morning solo swim.

We’d been so busy, all week long, that I finally had to wake up earlier than everyone, on our final morning, and go down as soon as the pool opened, at six.

A security guard had to help me find the door out, from the lobby, but once out I had my pick from the lounge chairs and I used my white cane to get the layout of the pool deck.

My chair was straight out from the bar of the stairs into the pool. Once I was in the water, I slowly made my way around and discovered the shape and the depth.

It was just what I needed and totally worth the waking up so early part.

I’m thankful for an inspiring speech in this room. A table full of fun people. A delicious salad and platter of desserts.

FFCvPbK.jpg

I’m thankful for a flight, gone by too fast.

Life’s full of metaphors, including lift off and landing, and living in the moment are all important.

Here’s to living the life you/we want.

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Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Song Lyric Sunday, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday

A Mother’s Love Shaped Me, #SongLyricSunday

In high school English class, I was told once to count how many times the word “blood” was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I was given a bag of pennies and told to keep track with them. Well, I didn’t use pennies to count how many times the word “heart” was used in one of my favourite albums, but I can swear it was almost certainly at least once in every single song, if not more.

Huh, hmm…blood…heart…perfect combination right there.

I tell you, this Apple Music thing is a wondrous tool at my fingertips and it has sucked me, once more, into an endless vortex of songs and albums from my past.

PdXwLJW.jpg

On this Mother’s Day I dedicate
this one (SLS)
to my own mother, who raised me, showed me what the heart is for.

From those early days when I was obsessed with music like Wilson Phillips and their hit “Hold On” and so much more. So much of that music I loved then, before I knew about or had ever really been in love, music involving the heart was all around me.

I found one song on that album I could have gone with, with the word “heart” in the lyrics, but I went with this Cher song instead. )There’s more to her solo career than only “Turn Back Time” and “Believe” too.):

There are plenty mentions of that most essential of organs, that pumps and beats, on this entire album. This was one of my favourite (self-titled albums), from way way back in the day, thanks to my father’s bringing the cassette tape along when we drove to Florida in 92.

It would overtake Wilson Philips, for me, soon after that and ever since then, but a classic is still a classic.

***

Beneath the white fire of the moon
Love’s wings are broken all too soon
We never learn
Hurt together, hurt alone
Don’t you sometimes wish
Your heart was a heart of stone

We turn the wheel and break the chain
Put steel to steel and laugh at pain
We’re dreamers in castles made of sand
The road to Eden’s overgrown
Don’t you sometimes wish
Your heart was made of stone

Look at the headlines
Big crowd at the crazy house
Long queue for the joker’s shoes
Ten rounds in the ring with love
Do you lose and win
Or win and lose

Sweet rain like mercy in the night
(Lay me down, wash away the sorrow)
Caress my soul and set it right
(Lay me down, show me your tomorrow)
Summer tears, winter and the moment’s flown
Don’t you sometimes wish your heart was made of stone

Mercy, mercy wish your heart
Was a heart of stone
Get the picture

No room for the innocent
Peak season in lonely town
Knocked out of the ring by love
Are you down and up Or up and down

I ask the river for a sign
(In a dream we go on together)
How long is love supposed to shine
(In a dream diamonds are forever)

But you and I, hurt together, hurt alone
Don’t you sometimes wish
Your heart was a heart of stone

Mercy, mercy wish your heart was a heart of stone
(With a heart of stone, you’ll be well protected)
Don’t you sometimes wish your heart was made of stone
(With a heart of stone, you’ll be well connected)

[Repeat and fade]

LYRICS

***

Blood and the heart. Angels and heaven. I love lyrics and this set, this song always gives me chills.

Thinking of a heart of stone makes me think of the silent, frozen courtyard of the evil white witch’s castle, in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Chronicles of Narnia with all those statues of creatures she turned to stone and left to stand, stock still, but winter would eventually come to an end and the ground/stone/heart would/could then thaw.

It has, again here, and spring comes once again, Mother’s Day with it. When I think of spring flowers, I think of my mom. She taught me many things…for instance…

No matter what I’ve been through since childhood, in love and through loss and no matter how much I may have wanted to, I could not remain bitter for very long.

No matter what I see now still, when it comes to love that does not last, I can’t cling to the bitterness or disillusionment of that because she modelled something different.

Whether it was/is the way she loves my father (coming up on 39 years now), other family, my siblings and me, or especially now with her grandchildren. She taught me what the heart is meant to do.

So Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Xo

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Sewing The Seeds, #TearsForFears #Compassion #1000Speak

“Time…to eat all your words…swallow your pride…open your eyes.”

I won’t include a link to TFF’s most well-known song: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, because I am sick of power and reckless lack of humanity.

As we show the next generation the way, we need to show them love, but too many of us won’t admit where we went wrong ourselves.

Though, (both love and hate, as movements/floods), can, instead, be seen as seeds sewn in each and every one of us given the right environment for such strong emotions.

Adults, those who are handed the positions of power and leadership, do your job and LEAD!!!

I am tired. I am not thinking all that straight. I just can’t…

I was pulled in two different directions on this night, just after February 20th, and of equal wonder, though firmly rooted in sadness for everything I wish could be different but isn’t.

First, a group of youth from the Jane and Finch area of Toronto were treated to a screening of Black Panther and given the chance to see a black man as superhero for a change.

Then, I heard recording of the students in Florida, one in particular, speaking out on the BS they see from the adults and those running their country.

I wanted to cheer all these kids on, to believe they would be in history books in years to come and for only the best of reasons, that they would see nothing else but positive role models that might show them some hope somewhere along the way.

I have two sets of nieces and nephews: one set currently attends a school in an urban setting, in a highly diverse neighbourhood, in one of the busiest cities in Canada.

My second set (nephew for the moment, but soon both nephew and niece, or soon enough) who go and will go to school, in a rural area. It’s out in the middle of the countryside, where their parent/aunt/uncles went to school once upon a time, long long ago, where we grew up in a highly sheltered setting.

If I thought, ever for one moment truly, that any of them were at risk of having some angry/out-of-control person walk into their classrooms with a dangerous weapon, able to kill like we all saw in Florida last week…

My chest both constricts painfully and threatens to burst at such a notion as this. I can hear the anger and the pain and frustration in the voice of that young woman on the video, speaking up for her friends and classmates and herself.

I know there is anger and it is justified. I just wish she wasn’t left with such anger in the first place. It seems to be pushing a great many young people, those speaking with such poise for the media and the world to hear, and these are young people who were born around the turn of this new century, barely even born when 9/11 occurred.

Now I am forced to contemplate my own loved one’s voice shake with anger like that, if anything were to ever happen so dreadful as all this, and I don’t want to.

February 20th was the 3rd anniversary of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, the blogging event that a bunch of writers created all the way back in 2015 and of which I was moved to join in on at the time.

More regular violence in places like Syria (those poor babies), (in schools/places of worship) but also there have been changes for the better since 2015 – #MeToo and #TimesUp to name a few.

On this anniversary, with so many horrible things/monumental things having taken place in the last three years, I thought I’d write again on the subject of compassion toward ourselves, each other, and the wider world. Today I was inspired to speak about this, using one of my favourite bands and their lyrics to make my point.

And so, another senseless event, and I have nothing to say, but I find words anyway, but perhaps I am just too naive to know any better. I still believe:

The songs I’ve chosen for this post, from Tears For Fears, they make me cry and they make me keep on hoping, shouting my message of compassion, even in my most furious and pained moments.

As for 1000Speak, this blogging movement for compassion did not continue more than a few years, as I sensed many of its original participants found they eventually couldn’t restate the same things anymore, that they had no more to give to it, no more to add. The fatigue sets in and we ask “what’s the point”?

I get it. I mean, after all, who’s really even listening to my thoughts on all this anyway?

Things change and life goes on, I understand, as sad as that made me, and still does. I feel that same way, but I still write. I don’t give up on compassion. I keep saying my piece. I am glad new voices are always being added though.

Children do need to be where we find hope, where we first look to demonstrate our own humanity, as those who should know better, even if some of us never were shown the way ourselves.

Compassion is a seed that must be sewn and sewn again and again and again.

Thank you to all the hard-working gardeners who keep at it, season after season, year upon year, and throughout all kinds of weather.

As TFF lyrics once put it, as far as compassion and the spreading of it goes: “it’s under my skin and out of my hands.”

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Travel Ling, Lingering #TGIF #FTSF

“Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for that one. I love that and the travel it hints at, alludes to. It’s thrilling, just writing that quote and reading it back to myself. I recently carried that quote with me, on my first solo trip to Mexico, reciting it in my mind whenever I needed a shot of bravery.

When it comes to travel, I could go for days and days, writing about it I mean. That much travel, while sounding just as thrilling as Seuss’s quote, would exhaust me. I do it in my imagination though, all the time.

If I had the money and the energy, I’d be off. Sure, I’d always come back to my home, as that’s how travel is most appreciated, but I would not be satisfied to simply stay in one place all my life. I would suffocate in that bubble.

Pop!

***

I long to break out of that. I want to see new places. I have a list, a long, long list. I call it my
Bucket List (the very first blog post I ever wrote),
though that name is well worn with travellers the world over.

***

I thought it the summer my parents left on a road trip out west, through the U.S. and Canada. I came up with my travel blogger title and I was off.

The Insightful Wanderer (@TheIWanderer on Twitter)

It was in me, of course, ever since forever. My grandparents lived in just such a bubble, but they didn’t stay. They left sometimes, though always coming home again.

My most favourite treasure from my grandmother are the journals she kept, for years, where she jotted down the daily events of her life and family. Then, just a short distance from where she kept those, were the stakcs of photo albums, full of photographic evidence of the places her and my grandfather saw during their fifty five years together: all throughout Canada and the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.

Life and reality are just as important as a life of travel. Some can avoid that, I suppose, but not me.

I have limitations. I fully acknowledge those, but recently I challenged them too.

***

I immediately started thinking about what I would write, upon reading this week’s prompt for
Finish the Sentence Friday
and my first thought was Mexico.

I would write about my recent trip there. Why not? What else could I possibly write about now, while the memories are fresh? But wait…

I have things I want to say, but I can’t get back to it, whether in my own head or when trying to explain to others just why that trip meant so much. I try and try and try to explain the feeling, but somehow, my experience doesn’t come through. I feel unsatisfied with how I am describing it and how they are hearing it described by me. I guess the expression “you had to be there” is right. Oh, so right.

I travel back to every moment of that week, from my fear and intense anticipation. To my sense of peace and calm and rightness with the world and my place in it at that instant. I don’t want to say words now fail me, but perhaps they do. The envelope of photos I now carry in my purse of my trip don’t do the thing justice either, somehow locked in the past of the actual purse I carried with me. Nor does the bracelet I wear on my left wrist, every bead carrying that week’s sense memories within.

***

I went so far as to create a whole travel website, separate from this blog, while the force was still strong to attempt the world of the travel blogger. I had it all mapped out, saw things so clearly in my mind.

I wrote up an About Me page there, before the new site went live. It laid out all my most favourite spots: Niagara Falls and Ireland.

I put forth an illustrated list of the places I’ve been so far: Cuba, Florida/New York/Michigan/D.C./California, and Germany.

I spelled out everywhere I dreamt of going: Hawaii, Palau, Australia, and New Zealand. I wanted to be adventurous, surprising even myself, and in this dream I stood at the bottom of the world, surrounded by ice and penguins.

I didn’t truly believe I’d have the stamina, resources, or opportunity to make it that far, but, really, who could say?

Then, my website fizzled out. I let myself down. I studied travel blogs galore and somehow, I couldn’t become them, social media and pitching tour companies and all. I couldn’t. I was not a list maker and a personality so strong. My fantasy of becoming someone, I perhaps wasn’t meant to be.

I am a literary writer. That’s who I am. I can take all the travel blog success courses I want, have as many Skype sessions with an already established travel blogger as are offered in any given online course, and I still failed.

***

But I didn’t. I found a way to travel anyways. I found a group of my people, other literary type writers, somewhere full of magic and reality, all wrapped into one.

I couldn’t hold onto that week forever. It came and went. I may feel a little aimless since then, since arriving home, but that’s okay.

The world is a giant place. Anyone who doesn’t open their mind first, it doesn’t matter how far or how nearby they go or stay.

Travel all sorts of places, in your mind, through reading/watching a good book or movie. That’s just more ways to open your mind to the vistas (boy do I love that word).

Read travel blogs, as I still do, if that makes it all more real.

Acknowledge your limitations while challenging what still might be.

Meet people. Meander through a place. Taste a new food or sample a helping of another culture, far flung from your own.

***

I may not have that beautiful travel site I saw in my mind, but I am still wandering through this big, beautiful world and I am doing it with all the insight I can manage to unearth as I go.

I will linger here a bit yet still, but I know I will be off again, sooner or later. If you linger too long, you risk getting stuck. I hate to burst your bubble, but it must be done.

I meander and linger and meander some more. I look over those vistas I can no longer see. I meander with these words and with myself. Still figuring it all out.

I’ll be sure to let you know, here, when I’ve been everywhere. In the meantime, Dr. Seuss’s words keep me going, moving, living.

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Magic: Lost and Found, #FTSF #JusticeForTim

I’ve always said that I think all children should get to see and experience Disney World at least once. There’s a child in all of us. Become a kid again.

Oh, sure. I was the little girl afraid of the characters (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy) who walked the park and posed for photos with families. I was the girl afraid to ride Space Mountain. I still count my family’s 1992 trip to Florida as an important childhood memory.

Our parents announced the trip to us one night at dinner. I still vaguely remember that announcement. We were eating chicken and I looked at the flowers on the old plates my mom had at the time, thrilled for two weeks off school and a giant road trip with my family.

We drove in the blue van. We stopped in Atlanta, Georgia. We went to Disney, Sea World, the ocean. It was my first time at the ocean, in my young memory.

We collected shark teeth that we found buried in the sand. We swam in pools and ate oranges. We did Florida up right.

***

In the last week alone, In Florida, a terrible mass shooting took place at a gay nightclub and a little child was killed by an alligator. I don’t mean to single out Florida, I loved my time there, the next two times as well as the first. It’s just…when was it that I realized no place is Disney perfect?

All this shock and sadness and grief and horror in Orlando.

***

When we were in Florida we visited the Everglades. We took a boat ride through the swamps. How many alligators were there in those waters around us? That is their home. How do animals and people live side-by-side and stay out of each other’s way? These are questions that plague me now. They never even crossed my mind when I was eight.

I held a baby alligator. I felt it squirm. His mouth was held closed. I couldn’t possibly grasp what a full grown version of the animal would be like. I didn’t have any fear of meeting one and not surviving the encounter. My parents would keep me safe. The alligators would know I was not food, right?

You think Florida, you think alligators. You don’t hear about a child dying from such a danger, at a resort. It is rare. It is unimaginable.

When it comes to more youthful days, I will always remember Florida with my family. For one family, a father who couldn’t hold on and a mother and sibling who were helpless on shore, Florida will never be happy.

***

I am grown now. I can’t pretend and believe in Disney magic, when the news stories just keep on coming at me.

A baby’s lifeless body was found in a dumpster in a town not far from mine just yesterday morning.

A father was taken from his wife and little girl.

It was May of 2013, and the news reported a young father was missing, after he put his truck up for sale online, and left to take it for a test drive with a few perspective buyers. Those buyers had selfish and evil intentions.

He never came home. His killers would be charged.

I heard the wife plead for her husband’s safe return, but something in me knew that would never happen.

When I heard that a little girl would never get to visit Disney, wide eyed, with her father, I was horrified. I felt ill.

When I thought how I’d feel if someone dared to take my brother away from his child, I through the big yellow envelope I was holding across the room. I couldn’t pretend that all was well and that bad things didn’t sometimes happen to decent people.

***

Today is exactly twenty-two years since that chase which was broadcast on live television. I did not have a clue who O.J. Simpson was. I hardly ever followed the news. I was only ten and I didn’t think much about the worst news stories of the nineties.

Now I know more. My eyes have been opened. I can’t go back to that ten-year-old girl I once was who was off playing, while the adults were glued to some high speed chase of a famous athlete on TV. I can’t go back to being that eight-year-old girl who was afraid of the live action characters that seemed real in some of those Disney rides. Life would soon get more frightening, the real world as it’s often known.

I do live some of my youth through the children in my life now. It keeps me sane. It keeps me believing in a little bit of magic still.

***

The verdict has come down today. After a week of horror unfolding, within seconds spread across social media, I was relieved to hear about some criminal justice done. That little girl and her mother and their family will never get their loved one back, but the killers have been found guilty of first degree murder. They are going to prison.

The power of justice. The magic of youth.

***

This week’s Finish the Sentence Friday hosts:

Finding Ninee, who is exploring reliving childhood through one’s children.

Along with her is

Deborah of Life is Like a Hand Grenade,

stepping in at the last minute.

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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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