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  • Writer's pictureElana

State of Affairs

The world is a scary place right now. A surreal place. An unbelievable place.

I am not a political person. I hate elections. I usually avoid discussing politics. But with everything that has been happening lately, I just can’t stop reading about it, watching it, thinking about it, or talking about it. I can’t make any sense of it. You’re probably thinking: I can’t believe Elana is writing a politically-oriented blog. Honestly, neither can I. But unbelievable events call for unbelievable actions. I’m outraged, and I have a platform to share my thoughts so here goes…

Trump has always seemed ridiculous to me. Long before the election he was a joke. During the campaign, it only got worse (or better depending on how entertaining you found his shenanigans). There was a comedian who, during the election, compared him to a kid trying to get elected as class president; promising free lunch and 3-hour recess and that was just bang on in my opinion. The Mexican wall… bringing back torture… banning whole religions from entering the country… you just can’t do that! Can you?! Whether you agree with his policies or not, or you think he’s capable or not, or you even like him as a person or not, (and I’m a “not” on all 3 fronts,) I can not understand how anyone is on board with stripping people of their basic human rights.

I have friends whose families are at risk because they are gay, friends whose status in the US is at risk because of their religion, who are afraid that if they leave the country, they will not be allowed back in. Waging war on the entire religion of Islam is not going to keep the U.S. safer. It’s going to foster more hate, more resentment, more violence. It’s going to fuel the extremist fire and cause way more problems than it solves.

This powerful video from holocaust survivors has been circulating urging us to remember the Holocaust and never allow that kind of discrimination and persecution to happen again. Meanwhile, an image from a Holocaust Museum about early warning signs of fascism has been going viral, because really, is there a single one of those warning signs that we haven’t already seen demonstrated?

Heather Richardson, professor of history at Boston college, posted an incredible message on Facebook about how Trump’s administration is playing what is called a “shock event” game; a strategy designed to distract, destabilize and divide people who might otherwise come together. That sounds about right… and it’s terrifying to think that all of the shocking events that we’ve seen so far are just a distraction to an even greater horror.

I don’t believe that this will go on for 4 more years. It can’t. Things can not continue on at the pace that they’ve been going for the past week. There will be major change: an impeachment, a world war, a terrorist attack, or something else. But something will interrupt this insanity.

There have been a few particular stories that have shocked me this week, even in the middle of all this horror:

  • Trump bullying the Mexican president into cancelling their meeting over Twitter (and, actually, pretty much everything he tweets)

  • Statistics released on the number of people killed by terrorism vs. the number of people killed by armed toddlers

  • Information that the banned Muslim countries only include countries where Trump has no business dealings (despite the fact that terrorists historically have not come from these banned countries)

  • Sean Spicer citing the terrorist attack on the Quebec City Mosque as a supporting point for why the ban is in place (did he misunderstand the fact that the terrorist was Caucasian and Muslims were the victims?)

  • As a follow up to Trump’s executive order defunding women’s reproductive rights (signed in a room full of men), this crazy lady said that birth control should be illegal

  • Controlling the public’s access to information by silencing government agencies such as NASA & EPA

  • Firing the Attorney General for disobeying Trump’s orders (this isn’t a reality TV show, Mr. President)

  • The White House claiming that the 5 year old boy who was detained could have posed a security threat

  • A breastfeeding 11 month old baby, who also happens to be a U.S. Citizen, being denied access to her mother for hours

If you feel like these stories are sucking the life out of you, here is some good to help balance this out a bit:

  • The number of women I know who participated in the Women’s Marches on Washington, in Seattle and in Toronto was amazing, and their stories were inspiring. This was such a strong example of what an impact organized effort can have.

  • Sally Yates, former Attorney General of the United States was just nominated for the “JFK Profile in Courage” award for her bravery standing up for what’s right and defying Trump’s ban.

  • This wonderful photo and story of Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell and Muslim Fatih Yildirim protesting together with their children

  • Meryem Yildirim, 7, left, sits on her father, Fatim, of Schaumburg, and Adin Bendat-Appell, 9, right, sits on his father, Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, of Deerfield, during a protest on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

(Update: recently added) This heart-warming video about acceptance and belonging from Denmark, that made my heart grow in just 3 minutes: And if you just need a laugh, this video really got me chuckling:

There are a lot of parallels being drawn between Donald Trump and fictional villains such as Voldemort, President Snow or Darth Vader. Let’s be honest; there are parallels to be made. Ruling by fear, discriminating against others, evil plans to take over the world, narcissism, heavy breathing … But one thing those stories all have in common is a hero. A Harry Potter. A Catniss Everdeen. A Luke or Leia Skywalker. Someone to lead the resistance. Individuals can make phone calls and sign petitions and protest (and good for everyone who is doing whatever they can!) but without a leader, it’s just chaos. Without a leader with a plan, telling individuals exactly how they can help, everyone is just scrambling and distracted trying to do good in whatever way they can. And they’re making a difference in the lives of individuals, or even in groups, but who is going to actually take down our villain? Where is our hero?

I have to believe that some very smart people are coming up with a very smart plan. I have to hope.

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