Saturday, January 21, 2017

Now more than ever

Now more than ever

Yesterday, Donald Trump was sworn in as the American president. As he began his swearing in, rain fell as if in solidarity with so many that now live in fear. Trump swore on a bible that he doesn’t read and on a constitution that he doesn’t believe in (and probably haven’t read either). For years, the conservative movement have used anger, fear and lies to manipulate the American public. With the help of Russia to weaponize the fear and ignorance that they have spent the last 8 years breeding, they won the ultimate prize in putting a con man/puppet in the most prestigious and powerful position in the world, and in turn, giving rise to a new era of fear and uncertainty for the world.

For decades, the US and most of the world have been slowing evolving in the progressive values of equality and caring for not only ourselves, but our fellow human beings. We started to care more about the state of the planet, about those without a voice and those under such horrible situations that we can’t ignore. While most of world was working towards these goals, we ignored a dangerous minority growing all over the world. A minority who fears losing power, a minority that has no interest in equality and a minority that seeks to force their hateful views on everyone around them. This minority was cultivating a local and global fear culture, and succeeding.

Hate/fear groups are generally well known by organisations that keeps track of this type of thing (e.g., Southern Poverty law Center). We’ve had too many run ins with these hate groups in the US (and worldwide) to not keep track of these groups, but where we failed was to take action when the canaries were sounding the alarm.  For too long, the general public ignored that these hate groups were growing in numbers and influence (esp in the last 8 years of the Obama administration). Meanwhile there were others who naively tolerated their hate in the hopes that they would somehow change on their own. 

By ignoring or trying to somehow get along with these hate groups and not taking the steps to root them out (or at least a stronger plan to contain their numbers and influence) is how we’ve ended up with a Trump presidency. During the last 9 months (or so) of the presidential election, progressives were not prepared to battle with this level of hate culture. They were well funded, well organised and had the help from a major foreign power. It would’ve taken a major effort to combat them even if we were prepared which we were far from. Even towards the end, too many progressives still believed in the good of people and believe that people will do the right thing.

Never again.

We need to realize and examine the mistakes that we’ve made, but it’s time to move on. Spending too much time looking backwards is not productive. We’ve had a few months now to feel shocked, sad, and drink our misery away. Trump is now the president and he’s bringing in a host of hatred and ignorance to his cabinet to further spread the hate culture in the US and around the world. 

Now, it’s time to get off our asses. It’s time to work. Make no mistake, we are all under attack. Even if you're not being attacked today, you will be tomorrow. If we don't rise up for each other, they will divide and conqure.

This time, we need to be better prepared. We cannot underestimate the strength of hate and fear again. We must be prepared to fight (we can’t bring a drum circle to a gun fight). It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be pretty, it’ll take a lot of time and effort, but it’s something we must do. We must think about the long and short game (the hate groups are extraordinary at the long game). 

Hate groups all around the world have been embolden by a Trump presidency. We must show them that they will never be the norm, we will not accept the hate and fear that they represent and we will drive them back into the dark corners where they came from. They may have caught us unprepared and won this battle, but we will win the war.

Today, as in the times before, we fight not only for ourselves, but those who are powerless, those that will be a target by this hate administration, and for future generations.  Now, more than ever, organise, take action and join the resistance!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Pup’s movie corner

Pup’s movie corner

 If you haven’t seen Star Wars: Rogue One, stop reading. Go see the movie now.

I was pretty stoked to see this movie. After seeing the trailers and finding out what it’s about, I was even more excited. For years, fan have complained about why in the world would you design the ultimate weapon with such a ridiculous flaw. Now we know.

I was amazed by a lot of things in this movie, but probably the biggest thing is how someone went to the Disney movie execs and said ‘hey, we’re going to make a movie where everyone dies. Everyone.’ and then having the execs say ‘sure, go ahead’. How did they manage that? Jedi mind trick?

The movie filled in a lot of holes in the New Hope and added a lot more depth to the Star Wars universe. What I thought was most interesting is getting a better view about the alliance. Like many alliances, this one was hanging on by a thread. Everyone wasn’t in and everyone was certainly not ready to commit to fighting. It took the bravery of a few people to wake up the masses and take on the threat.

While I’m used to these types of endings where the heros die from Asian cinema (pretty much the cornerstone of a good hero – that they die), this was really unexpected from a western movie, especially one made by Disney. It brings a harsh reality that often times gets missed. We have probably never heard of most heros and what they’ve done for the world (or for certain countries/people). Those that win and those that survive gets to tell the tale. The dead does not speak, no matter their heroics. 

This could just be my 2017 mentality, but what also strike me about the movie was about taking action. You don’t just sit by as you watch the world get taken over by bullies and tyrants. If there’s an opportunity, we must do just that. We must stand up for the weak, for those that can’t stand for themselves and for the future of the dream that we are all in this together.

There are so many things against the people right now. So many people without hope and so many being oppressed by those tyrants mad for power. For those of us who can do something, however small, it’s time for us to stand up. It’s time for us to come together, come out of the woodworks, even if we’re just a rag tag band of misfits. We all have a part to play in this and we must fight back the tyranny.

Rating: 4 Paws (out of 5)

2016 Wrap up / What will the New Year bring?

2016 Wrap up / What will the New Year bring?

One post. That’s all I managed in 2016. I know, I’m terrible. For the last few years I’ve posted during my year end wrap up that I’d write more the following year, but I’m failing pretty miserable. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. If it’s the thought that counts, there’d be hundreds of posts in 2016 but alas, one must actually type them out.

I think most people (who reads this blog anyway) would agree that 2016 really sucked. The American people have decided to listen to a con artist and fake news from Russians to begin four long years of corruption, geo-political uncertainty and the (re)rise of the white supremacists movement in America.

I’m sadden that Americans were so easily fooled (although it’s been years in the making with pseudo ‘news’ outlets like Fox breeding the ignorant). There is a large majority in the country that has been bred to hate anything that has been labelled as ‘progressive’ or ‘liberal’. At times even when it’s good for the person or the country. They’ve been able to take that out of the thinking. They have been taught to just hate, not think about why or what exactly it is they’re hating.

What's more infuriating is that Russian has meddled so much in this election with their trolls and fake news sites and the GOP refuses to do anything about it. How can you say you're American when you don't care about our political process? What would they be screaming if the Russians were helping the democrats? The hypocrisy is mind boggling.

The difference today versus before is that the hate is not about a difference in ideas (conservatives don’t actually have any ideas other than to repeal anything they see as progressive), but they’ve been able to harness pure mindless hatred in the American public. This is where things get dangerous. This is Un-American. This is how we got Trump.

Yes, I understand where this hate came from. It comes from fear. The fear that middle white Americans will have to adapt to the changing word (economically, politically). Unlike all other ethnic groups who have had to adapt to survive, this is new for white Americans and this need to change has brought on fear. This fear has brought on hate.

I’m going to save some of my rage for later posts as I don’t want to get too worked up on this first post. Hopefully, there will be more posts this year J

On to other things. 2016 has also sucked due to a few notable deaths of cultural icons. Prince and George Michael, two of my favorites, passed away this year. The one that hurt was Carrier Fisher. The princess we all grew up watching. For me, she was one of the first female characters that wasn’t just a damsel in distress. Leia was strong and held more than her own. She wasn’t just someone that needed saving, but she was the one who saved the day.

2016 also saw the UK exit the EU in what is probably one of the most ridiculous political moves. Conservatives stoked fear and make promises that they were never going to keep (money going to the health system? Yea, we were just kidding). Very similar to the US elections, it was fueled by fear and ignorance. At the same time, apathy from those who would now regret their decision.

While the world seem to be crumbling all around us, it was actually a pretty good year for me personally. I know it’s terrible to think so selfishly with so much going on around the world, and believe me, I’m thinking about what’s happening everywhere, but I guess it’s important to remember to think about yourself too.

We finally started and finished a renovation at our house which is great. After having to deal with council and 2 terrible architects for over 2 years, we lucked out with our builder. Everything went as planned and on budget (close enough anyway). Now we have this great en-suite with a great view. Other than that, I got a promotion which is always nice.

We were supposed to have a big trip to Machu Pichu this year, but it fell through due to my poor planning. The time we had wanted to go got booked up so no South America for us. We’ll try again in a couple of years. Next year, there’s an exciting Japan trip planned. So excited about going back. I used to go every year for a while because I had clients there, but haven’t been back in about 4 years now. Can’t wait to go back to experience it on holiday rather than work.

Here's to a decent 2017. I know it's not going to be good around the world, so let's make a pledge to watch out for each other. Help those weaker than ourselves. If you see something, do something about it. Don't wait for someone else because there is no one else. They're coming after all of us and it's time we fight back not with words, but action.

Save the dream in 2017.