Just a thought… Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat. [Henry Emerson Fosdick]
I trust you had a lovely weekend – or at least one that had just the right amount of activity and nothing at all. For me, it was definitely more of the latter, and that’s how I like it right now, still settling in as we are after a winter away and then the trip to Southern Ontario.
By the way, if you caught the Globe & Mail on the weekend (or last week’s Toronto Star), you saw that Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy remains at #1 on the Canadian non-fiction list, and #3 non-fiction overall. I will not (and do not) take this for granted, not for a moment. There will come a weekend, perhaps soon, when it’s no longer at the top of the list. But for now, it all feels surreal.
As you probably did, I spent the weekend thinking about New Zealand, thinking about the rise of white supremacy and its terrorism worldwide and the reluctance of even some of our leaders to call it out and risk alienating any Islamophobes in their base, thinking about how a horrible mentality has been given such a prominent platform, thanks to the internet. Unfortunately, as heart-wrenching as these attacks are, these slaughter(s) by appointment, as news commentator Waleed Aly said on Australian television, are not shocking. See his entire commentary here.
The language of hate, the increased use by so-called leaders of incendiary words like invasion, the ramping up of we versus they that we’re seeing more and more in our own New Zealand-like paradise – Canada – just continue to sound a call that is louder and clearer than ever: if you are not like me, if you don’t pray like me, if you don’t think like me, dress like me, make love like me or vote like me, then I don’t want to know you and I don’t think you belong in MY country.
It’s making me sick: this poor poisoned earth, where the air we breathe and the oceans we fill with garbage are a clear and obvious reflection of the toxicity of the thoughts and beliefs that fly invisibly from one device to the next.
Maybe you’ve not said these words or had these thoughts. I’m going to bet you haven’t. But who are we if we let comments posted to us by family or friends and acquaintances on social media go unchallenged? Even if you don’t click like or retweet, not calling out someone when they make xenophobic, racist, sexist or out-of-bounds comments is quiet affirmation.
When I’m followed on Twitter by someone whose banner says Make Canada Great Again or something equally Trumpian, I block them. When someone sends a Facebook message that says I bet 99% won’t share this about something they claim our government is doing, or planning to do to them, I do a quick bit of research and write back saying, You’re right – I won’t. Because there are no facts backing this up.
I’m sure that’s not the response most people expect or want when they just spew widely something that fits their narrative, regardless of whether it’s factual or not, but I’m tired. Tired of the hatred. Tired of ignorance disguised as opinion disguised as fact. Tired of intolerance. Tired of it all.
For heaven’s sake, we all share one little blue dot in this vast universe. We just get 80 or so years each, if we’re lucky. As Canadians, we feel blessed to call one of the most beautiful, bountiful and – for the most part – peaceful countries in the world our home. Isn’t it time we started acting like it: looking for a common goal on higher ground, instead of pulling each other down into the mucky and miry playground of small minds bent on destroying everything we’ve built in this country? And for what – to make Canada, a country that continues to strive for improvement every day, great?
It is great. Just being here, we’ve won the geographic birth lottery. We’re far from perfect and not all attempts at getting better have been successful. But we’re in this together, this big beautiful mosaic that we call Canada. And we’d better wake up and realize this before we find ourselves pitted against each other any more than we already are.