Somehow, we are already a whole month in to 2017! I’m still not quite sure how the past few weeks managed to fly by so quickly!
I have been sitting on a few recipes these past few weeks that I’m really excited to share with you, but it somehow felt strange to post a recipe without acknowledging everything that’s going on in the world at the moment. At the same time, it feels weird to talk politics, and how at various points over the past few months I’ve felt so angry, disillusioned, sad and hopeless all at once, and then turn around and say, ‘but hey, all is good with the world because I made this amazing veggie pasta salad that’s quick and easy and versatile and DELICIOUS’. You know what I mean?
On the other hand, this is a food blog, and people come here for the food and not to hear me rant!
That said, I feel that while food blogs are at a high level about food, they can also be a lot more than that – a catalyst for various discussions and musings, and idea sharing. So in that vain, I thought I’d kick off 2017 with this post. If you’re only interested in the recipes – I’ll have that delicious pasta recipe on here for you before the weeks out I promise, and you can just skip this one, no hard feelings :) But if anything I say below resonates with you, I’d love you to join in the conversation – the comment section below is all yours!
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The issue I wanted to talk about today, and which has been on my mind a lot late, is hope, and where it fits in our current climate.
I watched a Noam Chomsky documentary a few weeks back (recorded prior to the 2016 Presidential Elections) and in drawing comparisons of the protesting in the 60s and 70s and similar movements today, the main difference, he argued, was that back in the 60s and 70s, there was a real sense of hope. That just doesn’t exist today.
This really resonated with me.
This feeling of hopelessness, of “what can I do”, is ever present. When citizens are voting to leave the European Union, perhaps at the expense of a strong economy, to limit immigration, and other citizens are voting in a president who is brash, xenophobic and unapologetic – it makes it hard to understand the rationale in these decisions and even harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’m over simplifying complex issues here, but both parties ran campaigns dotted with fear mongering, racist propaganda and vulgar comments (see examples here,here, here – I could go on), and their triumph in the end seemed to legitimise these thoughts and behaviours against some (see here and here). Now – I’m not saying that all Trump or Brexit ‘leave’ voters supported these views, or that they condone this sort of behaviour, but the fact that – particularly in the American case – he was so openly racist and misogynistic during his campaign, and yet this somehow wasn’t enough to persuade people to vote against him. This disregard not only astounds me, it scares me.
Of course, there are many other things within Trump’s campaign that I disagree with – don’t even get me started on his environmental policies, or lack thereof. And it’s obviously not just this one man, or his supporters that worry me; there is the global refugee crisis, the ever-present threat of terrorism, growing concern about climate change, animal cruelty, hate crimes… the list goes on.
I like to consider myself quite a practical, rational person. But lately it just feels so hard to rationalise all that’s happening in the world, to make any sense of it. And without that, it makes it hard for me to have hope that things will improve, that things will get better.
It’s not that I am fearful of my own personal future – I am white, straight, middle class, have a stable job and am University educated. I know that on the whole of things, I’m not going to be affected that much at a personal level. It’s those that are marginalised and don’t have a voice that I worry about.
And when it’s completely out of your hands, when the issue is so big – how is it possible to maintain hope?
This thought has been plaguing my mind, so I have tried to come up with aa few ideas, suggestions – both for myself, and also for any of you that need a little hope.
1. Do something. Anything.
I ran into a friend while out for a walk at lunch today – an American who lives here in Tasmania – and she was still asking what she could do – how she could help – how to maintain hope. She spoke of idea to sell clothing online and donate the proceeds to Planned Parenthood, and I thought it was amazing, that despite being half way around the world from home and the root of the issue, she was still fighting for what she believed in, in a way that she could.
2. Look to the good in others.
One thing that has brightened my spirits over these past weeks, that has given me a glimmer of hope, was the turn out to the women’s marches that were held on January 21. While the sceptic in me questioned what effect they might have, the one thing they did do was reignite that sense of hope – that people were still willing to fight for what they believed, that people weren’t willing to say “this is okay” or turn a blind eye.
And if nothing else, some of the witty signs made me smile.
3. Speak up!
Don’t be afraid to discuss those things that matter. If speaking to someone who has differing views to you, make sure you take a productive approach, and appeal to their underlying moral values. (This is definitely one I need to practice – take a step back, take a breath and don’t take it personally when others don’t share the same views as me).
4. Appreciate the small things in life that make you smile.
Lastly, this is something we could all do with a gentle reminder about from time to time. Whether it’s your health, your family, your friends, where you live, the last book you read that you loved, a dip in the ocean… look to those small things that you are grateful for, that bring you joy, and allow them to do so.
Any other suggestions? I’d love to hear from you below :)