It’s taken a while for me to regroup and work out what I want to say – in fact I’m still not entirely sure. These past few weeks have been trying, both geopolitically and in my own life. I was spending a lot of time worrying about my cat, who is dying inch by inch as he is in chronic renal failure. He even spent a night in the animal hospital with it, he’s now back to his ‘normal’ but it was touch and go for a week.
He was a poorly boy. Then of course, we have the gargantuan cockup that is the US of A, or rather their vitriolic president. I’m half German and obsessed with WW2 and the social constructs that led to the rise of the Nazis (thank you autism) and BOOM. It’s pretty much set and match.
I went and protested, I went and stood up for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, something I believe in so very passionately. I went to protest the silent acceptance of Theresa May, shame on her. And I went to show solidarity to my fellow citizens of the planet.
They laugh about the protest on the alt right. There is a great deal of cynicism. They seem to think we are trying to influence Trump – that’s clearly not the point. We are bringing together and uniting, showing our own political leaders we do not agree and are literally standing up to be counted – we are not silenced. Maybe it will effect something or maybe it won’t, but it’s better than cold cynicism on the internet and trolling. We were loud and peaceful and we made ourselves heard. We were butifully vibrant and diverse in our number and we celebrated humanity. It was quite lovely.
So, where to go from here? It’s all well and good, having a nice evening with friends and like minded people in our little liberal bubble, and yes, I should cynical, but I’m not. It was lovely and people were great and we all represented something together – but we need to keep that momentum going. What can I, as one woman do? What can anyone do?
- Write your local MP, they are there to represent you. If they don’t know, we’ll then, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
- Call out xenophobia when you see it, call out racism, even jokes – especially in your own community.
- Check yourself for prejudice and privilege – those of us who are white, we ARE priviledged by our skin colour – and make sure your brand of activism is intersectional.
- DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.
- But do have hard, ideally in person conversations. Facts and figures seem to mean little these days, so we need to change our tactics too – humanise refugees. Connect with the people you’re talking with, find common ground.
- THIS IS GOING TO BE VERY HARD. Especially if you really don’t agree with the other person’s stance. But we need to break through the barriers to learning, in this case usually extremes of emotion, if we want change. Remember, most of this comes from a place of fear.
- Don’t be an idiot. Keep yourself safe. Make sure you change passwords and the like regularly. Lock down your social network profiles, make sure your privacy settings are on high. Don’t lose your temper.
- Don’t become complacent. We will be anaesthetised by outrage after outrage. We will become numb. Keep reminding yourself of what is at stake. This is a long, hard slog, dealing with Brexit, dealing with Trump, dealing with the rise of the right. This won’t be done by Christmas. The consequences will be vast. We will get tired, but, if we don’t keep standing up, who then?
I’m going to try so much harder to be active, within the limitations of my health. I do not want this to turn into a dystopian society, it’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t.