"May you live in interesting times." – Chinese curse
There seems to be a new right swing to the pendulum of politics all over the world. Increasingly, people who have felt disaffected by more liberal policies are shifting their attention to an alternative that offers nothing more than something other than the "establishment".
In the United Kingdom, Brexit means a whole new Universe will take shape. Trade deals will have to be renegotiated and Britain's ability to trade or travel openly in Europe is hampered or at best, uncertain. Apparently, the day after Brexit passed the largest number of Google searches included "what is Brexit" and "what is the E.U.?" People voted in anger for something without knowing what that "something" even was.
In the United States, we have a President-Elect who wants to build a wall, deport millions of people, ban Muslims, imprison his rival, and dismantle health care insurance that has benefitted millions. People voted for Donald Trump because they were angry and he seemed better than the Washington establishment - in fact, he wants to dismantle the "establishment.
And here in Canada, while we have a seemingly progressive Liberal government that replaced a right wing Conservative regime, recent actions by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), suggest that the lack of transparency previously experienced remains fully intact. Many HIV groups that were previously funded through PHAC were not invited to participate in new funding proposals or were invited, but it's understood that levels of funding will be greatly reduced. This means that those programs that once supported people living with HIV are likely to be eliminated or hobbled. New groups will be offered funding - this because PHAC decided to "shift priorities" without really consulting or considering what the outcomes might be nor their detriment to the lives of HIV-positive people.
"We think we have rights - but we don't. We only have the rights that are afforded us at this moment. At any time, any government can take away those rights, or limit those rights, or suspend those rights if they deem it to be in the interests of 'national security'."
"Sunny Ways"... like I always say "politicians only come in one flavour."
I think we have entered a certain kind of "winter" - where the bitter cold is biting, and the frost on the windows is so thick we can no longer truly see what's out there. Many people are trudging through the blinding snow with the promise of being parceled out snow shoes that will never arrive in the mail .
We think we have rights - but we don't. We only have the rights that are afforded us at this moment. At any time, any government can take away those rights, or limit those rights, or suspend those rights if they deem it to be in the interests of "national security". And even worse, the oligarchies that run the vast majority of the world are happy that the peasants (most likely you who are reading this), are pitted against something else and oblivious to them. The Aristocracy in France ignored this at the end of the 18th Century and we know how that turned out.
But these are different times and we are sold on gaining the things the Aristocracy have - cars, houses, money, lust, sex and the trappings of luxury. People living with HIV are no different - we buy into the same "sunny ways"...get the lovely things and trust that the government will be there to support us.
I'm not inciting revolution, although I suppose we're well overdue one. Perhaps, the revolution at the moment is the winter in which we find ourselves. The Xenophobic, Islamaphobic, Homo/Transphobic (actually just pick a phobia and it's probably there). are gaining strength. Who's to blame for this? I don't really know - perhaps the pendulum had swung too far to the left for the comfort of those people; but the ramifications for the rest of us includes potential peril.
What to do?
I think we can either wring our hands in misery or join mobs of protesters, but that won't change any minds. Like Martin Luther King Jr. said "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." We must meet the dark nights of this winter with a candle in the window. We must speak when we need to speak and be quiet when we know to be quiet.
And like the water under a frozen stream, we must gently press on. and press on, and press on, until the Spring arrives again.
Because it will arrive again.