… so now what?
Today is the 4th day of a new year, and as I prepare to take down the Christmas decorations, I’m reflecting on the year past and wondering what good came of it, if anything.
2016 for me in the great scheme of things, was a huge step backwards in terms of social democracy and political change. I recall as a school student discussing with fellow students that I would never see a Black President of the United States in my lifetime. So imagine my surprise when Barack Obama won the 2008 and 2012 elections. Not only did I live to see this phenomenon, so did my parents and grandparents. We were all given hope that anyone who worked hard enough, and had a good heart could achieve anything – how long could it be before we see a female United States President?
Then 2016 happened. So did BREXIT, then even worse Hillary didn’t win the electoral college. It wasn’t so much that the UK is facing a future outside of the EU, and the US elected Duck a la Orange, it was the fact both political campaigns highlighted what many people suspected but didn’t want to face – that the UK and US are populated with many ignorant people, who are lead by power hungry, racists and bigots. Playing on our fears, many claims were made including how the the NHS would be saved by leaving the EU. Then within hours of winning, the leader of the BREXIT campaign admitted on live national television that it wasn’t true, and knew it wasn’t true, but didn’t say anything in order to get the votes.
Meanwhile hate crime has increased, with Neo-nazis now given the mandate to intimidate people they deem unworthy of British citizenship. At times it feels like we are living in pre-WW2 Germany.
Then Hillary didn’t win. I knew deep down that this was a possibility, but everyone around me, maybe in a desperate action of hope kept saying, there was no way the US electorate would vote for a proven racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, non-tax paying, questionable billionaire and proven idiot. Besides, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person ever to run for President!
The events of 2016 has proven to me that we are all so out of touch with one another, then the blatantly ovbious results occurs, we are all taken by surprise. Yes, it was great to have a Black President as it represented a move towards equality. But representation is not the same as reality.
This all of course pales into insignificance when we see the war victims of Syria, the suffering of refugees as well as victims of terrorist attacks.
So what has 2016 meant to me?
- The most qualified woman, can still be beaten to the role by the least qualified man.
- Racism is still a thing in the 21st century.
- Sexism is still a thing in the 21st century.
- White Supremacy is still a thing in the 21st century.
- We are more concerned about Kim K W, than we are about who is running our countries.
- Our Parents, Grand Parents and Great Grand Parents worked hard and suffered greatly, and as it turns out, for very little positive societal gain.
I hear the arguments that we should just accept BREXIT and the US Presidency results and carry on. But doing that for me, means accepting that everyone I know and hold dear has lost several hard won for fights. It means that women still won’t be paid the same as their male counterparts, it means that people are in fear of physical and verbal attacks just because they are wearing a different style of dress to their attackers, or speak with an non-British or American accent. It means that if my brothers want to take time off work to care for their children, they will be seen as less manly. If my sisters wear trouser suits instead of mini skirts, they are seen as inhuman.
While I can list a number of personal highlights, such as hosting my first photography exhibition, expanding my social network platforms and improving my sewing skills, these now seem empty whenever I switch on the TV news. Perhaps I was too hopeful – I thought we were finally moving towards equality, respect and peace. I thought we were moving away from nuclear war, and towards world peace. Now the threat of WW3 and social discord is more apparent than ever.
The easy option would be to just give up and hide in a corner.
I can’t do that.
But, sadly, I also know I can’t do much either. But I can do something, and sometimes that is enough.
It’s now 2017. I want to move forward, but not in the same direction as BREXIT or Orange-head. I’m still working towards peace, harmony, respect, understanding and love. These are my overall goals for 2017.
Watch my January resolutions, by clicking on the image above.
What are your goals for 2017? Please comment below. Thanks for reading.