Saturday, 28 January 2017

Post 98: Self-care in the Days of Trump

I've been finding myself quite anxious throughout the week, as news of Trump's newest Executive Orders rolls out across news feeds. Trump is quite antithetical to my values and ideas about what a just, fair, equitable society should be striving for. As one of my friends recently characterized: there's been a lot of "hand-wringing going on!"

I can't begin to list all of the things that bother me about Trump, but there are a lot. Beyond those actions/hypocrisies/stances that I had expected:
There are quite a few other ways in which Trump has figured out how to give left-leaning Americans, lower and middle class Americans, and the world, the middle finger, that I hadn't anticipated.

Some of these include:
And I'm sure there's more to come.

Sunset on my walk from work!

What bothers me most, as a Canadian, is the concern of watching Trump's bullying of other countries (especially Mexico), and that that will negatively influence the actions of my own country's federal government. While I've been encouraged by some initiatives to strengthen calls for Trudeau and our Immigration Minister take in refugees stranded at US airports, I'm dismayed by news that Trudeau has welcomed Keystone XL's renewed momentum, and I am holding my breath about how complicated NAFDA re-negotiations may become.

This story also warmed my heart today, not even so much because someone with power, privilege, and money decided to use that for good, but because of how many more people and Canadians he brought together to work collaboratively on helping refugees.

A discussion I listened to on the CBC this morning had one commentator arguing that Canada should keep its head down, and that the best diplomatic solution to this quandary would be to promote Canadian interests, and that's it. We/Trudeau shouldn't upset Trump by standing up for Mexico. As we know, Trump has a fragile ego...

To me, however, such advice seems likely only to kick us in the butt later, should Trump decide that he wants certain things from Canada anyways, and won't accept no for an answer. I think standing strong together with our other major trade partner (Mexico), and saying, "Hey now, you don't get to bully us here, or we simply won't negotiate with you at all." is better. Strength together, not alone. I don't like Trump's attitude of "America First." That kind of narrow-minded self-interest only gets you so far, especially if you're supposed to cooperate/collaborate with other countries around the world.

Anyhow. This has gone on for already much longer than I had intended. I find it upsetting. Which is why I wanted to advocate for self-care: putting boundaries around when and how much negative Trump news you take in (Read: don't look at the news right before bed. Spare yourself the nightmares.).

Selkirk Trestle catching the morning sun on my walk to work. :)
Also, consider joining me in Adriene's 31 days of yoga! Having a daily self-care practice, doing something creative and fun, like yoga, is one of the best ways you can be self-compassionate. I'm going to try my best to keep up with this, even if I'm starting it a bit late into the month.

Also, don't forget, that democracy shows up in small actions. Consider writing a letter with me to our Immigration Minister, the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, asking him to raise the cap on Canadian refugees, and take in refugees that are detained/stranded at American airports, thanks to Trump. Consider donating to help a refugee family as they are welcomed to Canada or America.
Donate to the Cool Earth society -- one of the coolest climate change organizations around. Volunteer at a local women's shelter, or your local sexual health society. 

Even though we are grad students, we don't stop being citizens of the world. Small actions make a difference. We are stronger together.

Edited addition: I acknowledge my own simplistic skill in writing these comments; I didn't study politics or politics science. So, here's a much more articulate analysis of what went wrong with Trump's Executive Order on Immigrants and Visas. 

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