Sunday, January 29, 2017

Missing Barack

I remember the hope and optimism I felt watching Barack Obama being sworn in as president. A new first for the U.S. - a black president who seemed to speak for all who'd never had a voice. A man of grace and integrity with a vision that was inclusive and with values that, as a Canadian, were easy to embrace.

Kidlet and I watched the inauguration of Donald Trump from the cosy Italian restaurant. She wouldn't let me take her picture with the tv in the background...she said she didn't want a record of it; she didn't want to remember the day. We both teared up watching the Obama helicopter disappear into the gray horizon - and taking our optimism with it.

Politics aside, I can't ignore the growing feeling of despair I feel. It's as though I am witnessing the rollback of goodness and progress. I am sick and tired of the "anti" politics -- anti immigrants; anti undocumented workers; anti women's rights; anti human rights; anti climate change; anti media; fake news; alternate facts; smokescreens, trivial tweets and negativity.

I am thirsty for decency and civility from leadership. In a world in which we are tackling bullying and violence with our youth (and beyond), we see name calling and incivility from the top; base, petty bickering, all unbecoming of the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world.

Fear is rising as the clamps are tightened in the United States. More than ever I am grateful to be Canadian where, so far, we are welcoming to the most vulnerable people in the world and feel a moral and social responsibility to protect and share with those who are in need. With arms outreached we encircle the weak, defeated and traumatized and offer sanctuary and social justice.

The world needs more than a little love. And it starts with each of us. I want my optimism back!

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