I despaired, along with millions of others, when Donald Trump was elected. I dwelt on the racist and misogynistic things he said, of the people who would suffer (more) because of him and his example, and of the possibilities of a nuclear ‘World War 3’. Cheery stuff.
But it wasn’t just Trump that provoked me into this, it was a culmination of things life had thrown in front of me, warmed by the hysteria around Brexit, catalyzed by Trump, and stewed in the crucible of Armistice Day.
Thus it fell out of the pot on 11th November 2016 through a declaration on Facebook:
“I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand!”
In light of recent events (both Trump and beyond), and on Armistice Day – a reminder of the disastrous consequences of the failings of people – I have felt sad, frustrated and at times, hopeless.But I refuse to give up hope. Not yet. In hope of peace and understanding and kindness in the world, I have been reflecting on what I can do. I shall try to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.
I made a commitment to myself to do this.
In as many ways as I can think of, one step at a time. The foundation for this was to be better informed. You cannot hope to solve a problem if you don’t know what it is. I have begun my mission of reading, listening and watching more news and from a wider variety of sources. It was only after doing this that I suddenly became aware of how much time the BBC wastes on coverage of who’s in the final of Strictly Come Dancing and how little on the war in Syria for example. We have a social obligation to be informed, especially when making decisions in voting, and I will openly confess that I am guilty of far too much ignorance.
In the short term, I wanted to join in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. This is something I have always been keen on, but this year I wanted to get more people involved, and have asked housemates (with bribes of drinks and nibbles) and work colleagues to join me. Although it can be easy for people to dismiss letter writing to governments as ‘not going to change anything’, and sometimes it doesn’t, there are numerous cases where the pressure of Amnesty International has made a difference, and has change lives. As Red says in The Shawshank Redemption, “That’s all it takes really, pressure, and time.”
I also wanted to start volunteering. I am moving house in a matter of weeks, so not really the best time right now, but once I’ve settled again and have a bit more time on my hands, I would like to do my best to help and showcase local charities and their causes, especially to help those who are most vulnerable. *watch this space…*
And finally is my blog; the culmination of my commitment and a hope that I can collaborate to inspire and be inspired by the many wonderful people both in my friends and family, and in those friends I am yet to make!
Let’s do this!