I wrote this on Friday. My emotions were raw and I just wrote, but reading it back today, on the eve of the most important of democratic votes, my feelings are the same. I know that many of you don’t come here for politics, but sometimes it is time to speak, however we choose to do so and this is how I speak.
I am writing this on the train, on the way to Blogtacular, ready for a weekend of work, friends and inspiration and I am excited, but I have also spent this last day, randomly shedding a few tears when I hear the news or log on to social media. Things that have made me sad for months have come to a head with the tragic news of MP Jo Cox’s brutal murder in the street, in her constituency. So often when big things like this occur and I feel I have things to say, I stop myself. Who am I to profess sadness and shock over the death of someone I never knew, but there’s something today that tells me I want my voice to be out there, however small it might be, I want to be heard.
Of course, we don’t know why the man who murdered her did this, we can guess, we can read the press, but we don’t know. What we do know is that she was an MP, doing her work, in a time where the political rhetoric in our country is as divisive and hateful as I can ever remember and when you consider that English Football fans have been taunting Muslim children in France, you can’t help thinking that being told our country is being stolen from us is having an effect, greater than we and even the people who spout this stuff could imagine.
Sometimes I feel that I am living in a comfortable, liberal, tolerant bubble. Naturally, we gravitate towards those who think like us. Most of the right-wing, xenophobic, intolerant stuff I hear about is shared by people who like me, are rolling their eyes and shaking their heads and it’s easy to imagine that everyone is doing this. But the General Election result proved that this isn’t the case. That there are many who believe what they are told and vote accordingly.
It seems to me that it is the hateful, scaremongering voices that are shouting the loudest. Katie Hopkins shouts, Nigel Farage shouts, The Daily Mail shouts and the sensible voices are drowned out. The facts are drowned out and it makes me feel helpless and hopeless.
I always come back to thinking about what I can do. Of course, I can raise my children to be tolerant and welcoming to diversity. I can model kindness and compassion. I can talk to them about those less fortunate and encourage them to notice and care, but that doesn’t feel like it’s enough against this barrage of shouting.
But I can do this. I can use my quiet, tiny blog to say that I don’t want this. I don’t want to live in a country where national pride means not giving a shit for others and putting up our barriers to anything that isn’t white, middle-class. I want our pride to be that we welcome diversity, that we see how it can make our country greater than it was before. I want to live in a country where we value everyone and not just those who fit into the “hard-working families” category. I want to live in a country where we put our arms around those that need help and not simply punish them. I want our children to be able to be children, to be able to enjoy and relish their education, rather than being treated as a number on a spreadsheet. I want our public servants to be valued for the amazing jobs that they do, instead of being told that they are greedy, lazy and failing us.
Today, I feel so sad at what we have become. She was my age, she had young children, she went to work yesterday morning and it was good work. She simply went to work. Somehow, we have to raise our compassionate voices above the shouting. There need to be more of us that speak, that say “we don’t want this”