2016 was the year politics slapped me in the face.
I like a lot of people this year have been shaken by the political upsets both here in the UK but also across the pond in the USA. I never knew how prevelent hate towards others was in our society. This was until I woke up the day after voting to remain in the EU. My country somewhere I was previously proud to be a citizen of had voted to leave the EU something I personally believe is a vote to support hate. That vote pulled my and many other young peoples futures from under our feet. And I won’t lie to you, I cried when I found out, there was a short moment of realisation and then I cried. Then I was numb, more out of shock than anything else, but as soon as I got off work that day I was so angry I was shaking. I know how it happened people have different views to those that my friends and I hold and they believed everything the Leave Campaigners said. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t angry that their vote took away possibilities for my future, that I saw my friends and work mates freaking out because they are european and they didn’t know how they would be treated by both members of the public but also the government.
It was is in the imediate hours after work when I got to discuss things with my friends and get angry about the state of the world in a paddling pool we had set up in my friends bedroom, was when I realised politics had gone from something that I felt disconnected from to something that affected me personally. In the months following the UK’s ‘majority’ descison to leave the EU I began to take more and more of an interest in both national and international politics. Most imediately for me that meant understanding what was happening in the USA both before and after the election. And while I’m not American one of my best friends is so watching her country have a result that would disadvatgae her based on her race and gender reinforced the anger I had at the current political systems after Brexit.
It was and still is clear to me that we as a part of both our own national communitys and the international community need to open up the communication channels between people with different political ideologies. It has become very apparent to a lot of people that we should have been able to see this coming but we couldn’t, part of this is because of the control sites like Google and Facebook have over what we see, but also because we surround ourselves with like minded people and don’t allow ourselves to listen to the other side.
But do you know what I think what scares and angers me most about our current political circumstances is the way in which they have both intentionally and unintentionally promoted hate towards certain groups of society. The increase in rasist, sexist, islamaphobic and homophobic incidents in western countries needs to be discussed by both sides of politics because the election of Trump does nto excuse this behaviour, nor does the fact that the UK is leaving the EU. And right I’m trying to workout the best way to influence the future of my country and its government to protect both my rights as a bi-woman as well as the rights of everyone else I live alongside. This is about more than just us in the west we need to put our differences aside to have intelligent discussions about how to react to the attacks on our values as a global community. France has been hit by ‘terrorist attacks’ multiple times this year, but so have so many other countries that don’t get a segement in the news or spoken about on social media.
I’m not entirely sure what this years political happenings are going to lead to in the following year but I know I’m going to be far more aware of it that I have been in the past as I begin to get involved in trying to change the world we live in.