"And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:9
The world is different now and we should all be afraid.
The new President of the United States is passing so many Executive Orders, it's surprising he doesn't get carpal tunnel syndrome from all those majestic strokes of the pen. His administration is not concerned with facts or with people, rather the man and his minions are concerned with looking good to a handful of followers and to hell with everyone else (including entire nations).
The President's ego is the largest part of his anatomy.
His counselor, the woman with the blonde hair, talks about "alternative facts". The memes exploded and continue to explode. Alternative facts are lies. And now "1984" by George Orwell, a dystopian novel where one political party and its leader control all aspects of life - actions, speech and thought has become a best seller again.
Big Brother is watching...
Within a few minutes of being sworn in, several pages disappeared from the White House website including (but not limited to) the LGBT page, Health Care, Native American rights, climate change and so on. In any new administration, this may be perfectly normal - new ideas, new policies, new pages. But with what will these pages be replaced? Given recent actions by the President it's not looking good for human rights or health care.
"Protesting is one thing, but there are many other ways to resist, and we must resist no matter where we are."
In this world of Newspeak, the rise of thoughtcrimes, goodspeak, and blackwhite may begin to creep in and take over. That is, those who oppose the Party will be punished and those who blindly follow the leader will be safe. We're already followed by a million little bots on the internet that watch our every mouse click - is it that much more of a stretch to believe that the government will do the same?
What happens in the United States ripples throughout the world. Their policies affect other nations. As much as you readers may live in other countries, don't be fooled into thinking that America stops at its borders. To think that is to be blind to the realities in which we live.
The Women's March and other demonstrations are a start, but only that. With an administration that hates dissent laws can be changed and new rules put in place that curtail the ability of groups to assemble (although Constitutionally this would be a difficult task).
For those of us living with HIV, the ripples could include increased drug prices which in Canada may mean that some Provincial formularies might drop certain drugs coming from the States if the prices are too high. For those living in the U.S. it may mean a lack of services and supports, less access to medications or harm reduction supplies.
What to do?
Protesting is one thing, but there are many other ways to resist, and we must resist no matter where we are. If you live in a country outside the U.S., making sure that our politicians stand up and listen is one aspect of resistance - call your representative in a Provincial or Federal government, voice your concerns and hold their feet to the fire. Write letters to the editor (even to U.S. papers), use your sense of humour (there's certainly fodder here), post and re-post articles on Facebook and other social media sites, follow the President on Twitter and dare to speak back to him (he hates that), respond with compassion to our brothers and sisters in America and listen to their fears. Commit thoughtcrimes and don't give into doublespeak. Read 1984 again - Orwell wrote it as a warning, not a guidebook. Be vigilant and pay close attention.
Tell the truth as you see it and say "no".
“You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear..." Lauren Oliver, Delirium