Would you LOOK at this! #Valparaiso #Chile

While standing in Valparaiso, you can see the two “ends” of the bay very clearly–it’s more what you might call a lagoon. It’s relatively small. But it’s an excellent harbour, and back in the 16th century it was decided on as the best spot for the new Spanish colony’s shipping. That took a long time to really happen though, and it was only when copper and nitrate were found in northern Chile that Valparaiso really got going. It soon filled with–strangely enough–British businessmen who exploited the new resources and became VERY rich. One problem: next to Valparaiso’s bay is the thinnest strip of flat land, and then STEEP HILLS. The very rich built their beautiful houses on the hills anyway, and later, elevators (!) to actually get up and down.

Then there was a horrible earthquake in 1906, the prices of copper and nitrate dropped, and all the rich folks left Valparaiso. What’s happened to the oldest part of the town since then is pretty amazing: it’s now filled with every kind of artist–most obviously graffiti, but sculptors, theatres, and dance schools too–plus amazing restaurants, hostels, and shops. I did NOT want to leave.

Photos of #Chile : Cerro Santa Lucia, the most beautiful park I’ve ever seen.

Maybe one day I’ll have enough Spanish to adequately describe this place. Charles Darwin gave it the high praise of “certainly most striking.”

Photos of #Chile : #Santiago Centro

On my walk around Central Santiago, there were bells ringing from all the churches, and ladies weaving palm fronds for people as they went into mass. I’m looking forward to Easter here next week – I can’t fathom what it’ll be like.

VOTE. You have to Vote. Part 3 – media

Quebec City mosque shooting victims include businessman, professor and fathers of young children
6 men were shot in the back as they gathered for evening prayer, mosque’s vice-president says

FIRST.

Now.

I wanted to know who did it. I was so anxious to know I was on Twitter all day. Which, we should know, is a BAD place to get up-to-date news.

I realized yesterday afternoon I was contributing to the bile by even looking at it, and made myself log out.

In the end, one person was arrested.

From now on, BE PATIENT. Police have a job to do, LET THEM do it.

STOP getting your news off Twitter. STOP. I know that’s hard, given the possible forced deportations which no one can find out anything about. BUT, this happened in CANADA. For right now, we do still have some reliable media outlets. Here they are.

Vote with your money: Start PAYING for news again. We have to. News has gone downhill, and Part of the reason is likely because ad revenue has cratered, so they feel compelled to take “native advertising” and pander to customers instead of sticking to journalistic integrity. PAY FOR reliable news so they can pay reporters and researchers to do the work.

VOTE. You have to Vote. Part 2 #Canada #voting #nomuslimban #refugeeswelcome

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My goodness. That went well!

MoveOn.org

MoveOn.org

But it’s not remotely over yet. Next: the “hard” part.

Immediately after the inauguration, The Village Voice published a series of mini-interviews done with attendees. The very first interviewee said that the new president’s words were being parsed by the media, and he didn’t believe that all of things the president said were in fact going to happen, that it was his, very good, way of saying he was simply putting the US’s interests first. When asked if he had in fact voted for Trump, this man answered:

“No, I’m a Canadian citizen.”

I’m not linking to that article, because I don’t want to contribute to that person being tracked down and bile thrown at him over the internet — if you want to read it yourself, you’ll have no trouble finding it.

The fact that Canada has not one but two proponents of the new president’s ideology running for the PC leadership (you know who I mean — I’m not furthering the indignity they’ve heaped on other people), and that this ideology has support in Canada, might make clear-headed Canadians panic and say “no, we DON’T have time! It’s inevitable.”

It’s NOT inevitable. If you believe that, you’ve said you’re going to do nothing. Which is what happened before and during WWII. THAT’S were we are now. That is NOT inevitable in Canada, we CAN stop it.

And it’s, again, very simple, BUT. Turnout for the 2015 federal election was the highest in ages, yet over 30% of voters still didn’t show up. The only way to prove to the right-wing that the majority does not agree with them IS to utterly prove the majority is against them…that is, to VOTE AGAINST THEM.

The only way to not let either of those potential PCs have power, is to NOT let them have that power. If the majority of Canadians don’t vote for a party, they don’t get the power to enact what they want to do.

See? Simple.

Yes, we have first-past-the-post, we’ve had minority governments in recent history, blah blah. We somehow allowed Harper in power for 10 years, and finally, enough Canadians got sick of him to hand him a resounding Defeat. We can, and we must, keep fascism out of the Canadian parliament. And we can. By voting.

So do it.

VOTE. You. Have. To. VOTE. Part 1 #vote #canada

The horrors have been coming so thick and fast that no one can process them all. Which is part of the strategy, clearly: throw in all the immigration, abortion, and press bans, one right after the other, and there are too many things to nail down and protest.

Which is why I am — for the moment — still happy and relieved to be Canadian. Because we still have time.

The solution is very simple, so simple we already know what it is, but it does take work. Part of the issue has been simple complacency, the old “we took for granted” that racism, sexism, and hate speech weren’t as bad in Canada, and we made the false assumption that “not as bad as” meant “no problem at all.” Pretty obvious now that assumption was incorrect. So the obvious, simple way to combat all that is to: STOP. IT.

People who aren’t white are being harassed. When you see that, stop it. Call the police. Yell. Start carrying a black marker with you, and when you see hate propaganda posters anywhere, DON’T tear them down, but write this across them: Section 319 (1) . That’s “hate speech”, in the Criminal Code of Canada.

CANADIANS EVERYWHERE, in Canada, living outside of it, ALL OF YOU:

Write to your MLA, your premier, your MP, and the Prime Minister. Today, every day. Tell them that what it happening in the US will not happen here.

And if the new president wants to get shirty, I am willing to live without avocados. I survived without a car most of my adult life. If things get so tough that I can’t get a job in Canada, I now have the ability to teach pretty much anywhere in the world, and come back…thanks to my Canadian passport. That’s how lucky I am.

Refugees — NOT “migrants” for god’s sake! — are worse than unlucky. They are in danger. People who are anything but white-Caucasian, are in danger.

Canada is better than the US. Prove it, and make the people we elected to represent us prove it.