All of a sudden, it was OK for America to get back into hate crimes again. Behaviour that had been previously seen as scary stories from a discarded history text book are suddenly back in the news. Here we are, a long history of "haven't we become so much better" wiped clean with story after story of bigotry, Islamophobia, and Neo-Nazi ideals rising from the ashes.
With the entire continent engaged in some of the most polarizing politics seen in decades, everyone seems to have one thing in common: Everyone thinks people these days are too easily offended. But they aren't. They're no different than they've ever been. And, as for political correctness, it doesn't exist.
I see you. I see you lurking in the periphery of my Facebook feed, posting pro-Trump rhetoric and awful hate speech. I mean, you aren't saying the things presidential candidate Donald Trump is, but you are sharing them. You are siding with him. I could have blocked you. I could have hidden your posts from my view, or I could have just defriended you. But I didn't, and I won't.
Building progress and trust, as the U.S. did, takes a long time to accomplish far more than constructing a building. But Trump will help destroy such progress if he is elected as the president of the United States. All the respect and admiration the world used to have towards this great country will vanish into thin air.
George Clark is pretty easy to laugh off. But when March 8 rolled around, I found myself on the Alberta Legislature grounds with a crowd of a couple hundred overwhelmingly white people gathered for George Clark's glorious revolution. And while it started out as funny, by the time it was over it had gotten a little scary.
Before I talk about the wretched Muslims ruining America, I'm going to admit I'm not American. I am Canadian, which I realize is pretty unfortunate. To make up for this deficiency, I've always pretended to be American. I pretend because it is feels great to be "exceptional" and more civilized than the rest of the world. I pretend because it makes me feel safer to fear others who are different. I pretend because American Republican politicians aren't afraid to demonstrate their overt bigotry by generalizing an entire group of people. Now, it's time to finally stop pretending and fulfill my true destiny.
The power of small acts of kindnesses should not be underestimated, for they are more powerful than military expeditions. Indeed, it is not the youth who are loved that are prone to radical indoctrination but those who are forsaken at the margins. It is also important to understand that strength lies in diversity, for if we unconditionally reach out to others, they will likely reach out to us in our time of need.
There needs to be a concerted effort to confront the rise of prejudice that was encouraged by the Conservatives in their bid for re-election. Although Steven Harper has been defeated, the lingering "permission" given to bigotry needs to be challenged in every workplace and community across Canada. Canadians have never been immune to the corrosive influences of racism and anti-Semitism. At this point in history we are called upon to specifically challenge Islamophobia. The fact is that our Muslim brothers and sisters have been made to feel defensive about their faith and unsure of how their neighbours accept them.
You do have the freedom to say what you want. You don't have the freedom to escape the fallout from your words. When you are a bigot -- and I use the word without malice -- you are trying to block another human being from having the same rights you have. You can feel however you want to feel. There is nothing wrong with your religious or philosophical beliefs, and in our society, you are free to practice them and believe what you wish. But freedom of speech does not carry a get-out-of-jail-free card.
There are thoughtful and effective ways to look at all the facets of violence against women and it can certainly be done without promoting bigotry. For example, in March, the Ottawa Police, the Ottawa Rape Crisis, and Algonquin College partnered to put on a full day event on violence in the name of honour.
In an article reacting to my blackface blog post, I am accused of calling all Quebecers racist. Somehow, by sharing my thoughts and experiences as a Quebecer, I ceased to be one myself -- placed by this media outlet as a spiteful outsider to the only society, culture, and civic family I've ever intimately known.
Don Cherry's regressive rhetoric betrays Canada's reputation as a nation of inclusiveness and cultural tolerance. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has tolerated this treatment for too long. Don Cherry's distasteful diatribes belong in hockey's past, not in the Canadian national pastime's present or future.
Writing in The Jerusalm Post, Israeli Sharon Udasin quoted Nofar Gal, who lives near the border with Gaza: "The situation in the South has been very difficult not only for us humans but also for our pets." Predictably, her writing about an Israeli's pet dog triggered outrage in sensitive non-Israelis. The professionally sensitive -- liberal reporters -- were especially incensed.
The film the Innocence of Muslims has recently been thrust into the spotlight and has played the willing role of firestarter to what can be seen as a tinderbox which harbours the sensitive feelings of my Muslim brothers and sisters. You, my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, fell for it. You have played right into the hands of this hate-monger filmmaker and into the hands of his bigoted friends who view Muslims as "crazy," "intolerant," "violent" all in the same breath. And thanks to you we have handed them another high profile example. On a big fat shiny platter.
There was a time when it would have been unthinkable for an American president to utter those words, but today that era has passed. In a nation divided by Democrats and Republicans, secular and religious, north and south, today marks a day where America has moved one step closer to no longer being a nation divided by straight and gay.
Someone's mother falls to the sidewalk; on the next street someone looks up. In the cathedral, a burst of laughter; in another city the pigeons fly up and scatter. Someone put down in a New York subway a newspaper picked up in Australia. For each event, the inarticulate glory, the equal and opposite, will tell the story.