Tag Archives: Canada

Trump Elected: USA Returns to the Dark Ages?

I woke up this morning to the bad news. I still can’t quite believe Trump was elected President of the United States. I’m processing the shock. It seems like a terrible joke.

It seemed unbelievable that Trump would become the presidential candidate for the Republicans. But then it happened. At first I thought this was simply an idiotic move by the Republicans, and would ensure Hillary Clinton would win. It seemed unbelievable that Trump would have any support at all, but despite the scandals and horrific things he said, the pre-election polls showed he was only slightly behind Clinton in popularity.

Having Trump in the race certainly made things more entertaining. And sickening. And provided plenty of fodder for amusement, such as Juice Media’s video Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump.

But as Trump’s popularity continued, it stopped being funny.

As the date of the US election drew closer and closer, I was getting more and more alarmed.

When I went to bed last night, Trump was leading. I had a feeling of foreboding.

I frankly dreaded checking the news this morning. And there it was. Trump elected President. Have United States citizens collectively lost their minds?

My baby find s out Trump won
My baby finds out Trump won

How could a man who has been proven to be a liar, racist, sexist, and a bigot be elected to represent the United States’ people? I remember in a past election a commentator saying that Americans would elect the person they deserved. But it seems to me that there are a lot of wonderful people in the United States who do not deserve to have Trump as their president. I feel sorry for all those who will suffer under Trump’s reign. No wonder the Canadian immigration website appears to have crashed due to Americans seeking to escape to Canada!

And from my perspective as a Canadian, I know that just as Americans who did not vote for Trump will suffer, we who absolutely did not vote for Trump could also suffer. This is the danger of being the neighbour to a superpower. And I’m sure the rest of the world is concerned too.

I wonder if this is how citizens of France or Poland or Belgium or any other neighbours felt when Germans elected Hitler. “How could such nice people elect such a racist bigot? How could such a great country let itself fall into the hands of a narcissistic tyrant?”

When I told my partner the news this morning, his first reaction was that Trump must have rigged it somehow. If anyone could do it, I guess someone as rich as Trump could rig the election. But even scarier is if it was NOT rigged. That the majority of Americans really did vote for Trump.

In the Juice Media video, the announcer jokes that Americans can vote for Trump if they want to return to the Dark Ages. Let’s hope the rest of the world is not dragged down with them.

Keep Shining (especially in Dark Times!),

Julie

Comments? What do you think?

Can a candle reach you?

Canada’s Shame: 582 Indigenous women and girls have been reported missing or murdered since 1980. That estimate is low. We each have the responsibility to demand justice, and to work for change. One small thing you can do: Tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper what you think.

Is this message compelling and coherent to you? Can it blaze through the cacophony of messages competing for your attention? In this age of information overload, anyone can share their voice, but we are each competing for your mindshare. For your willingness to pay attention to the message.

These were the questions I asked myself on October 3rd, in an earlier version of this post. I was doing my small part to promote the 7th Annual Families of Sisters in Spirit National Vigil, held on October 4th, 2012, on Parliament Hill (Unceded Algonquin Territory).

In Canada, Indigenous women are at a greater risk of violence than non-Indigenous women (as you can see in the above image, courtesy Amnesty International). Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS) is a volunteer, grassroots, non-profit organization led by families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Their annual Vigil gives the families of these loved and lost women and girls the chance to speak, to be heard, on the Hill. It is an opportunity for everyone to listen, to be there is solidarity, and to show that the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women and girls is unacceptable and must stop.

In the mainstream media, “if it bleeds, it leads”, so most of us have heard the sensationalized versions of some of the murdered women’s stories.

But when do we hear about the inspiring work of FSIS, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), Amnesty International, KAIROS, and others, to demand justice and change? NWAC started the original Sisters in Spirit Vigil in 2005 based on Bridget Tolley (co-founder of FSIS)’s idea. Since then, more and more Vigils are held in solidarity with the FSIS Vigil on the Hill. Mainstream media coverage of the Vigils has been scant in past years. On the morning of October 3rd, NWAC issued a press release calling on local and national media to cover the October 4th Vigils.

This year, more families than ever from across Canada made the trip to be there on the Hill, thanks to FSIS. It was that much more important to show them that people do care.

I’m unknown. I don’t have big money to amplify my message. I don’t have a platform. I don’t have a job that pays me to craft compelling messages, or the personal resources to grant me the time to craft these messages.

But a flame burns inside me to draw attention to issues I feel are neglected. Despite my day job, I write songs. I can’t help it. And against the odds, despite the fatigue, despite wondering if it is a wise use of my energy, I try to create works of art that may shine brightly enough, despite the humble origins, to reach you.

So friends and I made a video to encourage people to attend the Oct 4th Vigil, and to draw attention to the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. It was launched on September 14th, 100 views on the first day.

But no comments, and only a few likes. It was like dropping a pebble into a still pond, with barely a ripple.

Then it picked up again. It did not go viral, but had a respectable 540 views as of 3pm the day before the Vigil.

Myself and many others sent emails, posted on FB, and tweeted the night before and the morning of the Vigil. But mostly there was nothing more for us allies to do but see if the energy, effort, and all those messages would actually translate into people attending.

Suddenly, it was 6pm, time for the Vigil.

And it was well attended. And beautiful. And heartbreaking. And honoured our Stolen Sisters.

At dusk, I wondered what the Vigil looked like from the perspective of the Families. So I climbed the Parliament Hill steps to get behind them. As Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo said that all the supporters present were like Medicine for the families of the missing and murdered women, I could see and feel this was true. I saw hundreds of people indeed Filling the Hill, with Love and Light.

The Families’ view of the crowd’s Love & Light at the Families of Sisters in Spirit Vigil, October 4th, 2012. Photo: ©juliecomber.com

Let’s make this blog post interactive! What do you think of the video (below)? How effective do you think it was compared to the Poster and FB Event to encourage attendance at the Vigil? What about compared to partnering with the Take Back the Night (the 34th annual Ottawa March started right after the Vigil)? This is a shifting game of weighing the effort and money it takes to create a promotional message against how effective it is. A low budget but carefully done video is like a candle to illuminate a neglected issue. How do we coax that candle’s flame to catch, to blaze the message out and achieve positive change?

Keep Shining,

Julie.