Remember, remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder, treason, and plot.
I can think of no reason why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
November the fifth – Guy Fawkes Day – celebrates the failure a a group that in 1605 attempted to blow up parliament. November 11th – Remembrance Day in Canada – remembers men and women who have died in service to the idea of freedom, most notably during WWI and WWII.
If you’ve ever seen or read V for Vendetta, Guy Fawkes Day has an inherent, though indirect, message: people should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people. Keeping in mind all the upheaval in the Middle East – and the lack of upheaval here in the West – I would like to talk about this today.
Once upon a time, people fought and died for freedom. We fought and died for representation, for the ability to live as we saw fit, and for the opportunity to live without fear. Once upon a time, being a politician actually meant something; it wasn’t just a job you went into to make sacks of money and get a giant pension. Fun fact: at one time, politicians weren’t paid; it was a volunteer position because who would ask to be paid for serving their community?
The world turns, and the world changes. As our world becomes more complicated, we feel we need people who have studied being a politician before actually becoming one, but at the same time we appoint leaders who have shown us horrible leadership skills, biases in thinking, and greed.
What the actual fuck is wrong with us.
One word that gets thrown around a lot these days is apathy. We don’t care who runs us, as long as they don’t run us into the ground. We don’t vote because we don’t want to take one day out of our crazy schedules to choose the person making decisions for our lives. We don’t feel represented, because the people getting into office aren’t who we would want.
People once died for the freedom. They risked everything to show the authorities that their actions were reprehensible. Nowadays, that sort of action is seen as insane.
Don’t get me wrong here: I don’t believe it’s right to cause harm and/or kill others in the search for what is right. What I dobelieve is that it’s about time we reunited ourselves with the idea that we should question everything.
As a tutor, one problem I have found myself facing numerous times is that my students are unable to analyze information. This, to me, is scary. In a time when information comes to us more easily than water, a large number of our people don’t know how to think about the information they are given. It’s no wonder advertizing works; people believe that if they buy this perfume, or those shoes, that they’ll be a movie star, or a sports hero. It’s no wonder the US’s deficit is a higher number than most people can comprehend and the Canadian government can get away with turning this country conservative: no one is paying attention. We’re so busy with adorable kittens and idiots hitting themselves in the nuts to think about the world in which we actually live. There’s so much going on around us that it turns into white noise. Young girls being told to not be raped instead of boys being told not to rape? Whatever. OH LOOK REBEL WILSON’S NEW OUTFIT! Overweight people being told to go die because they’re fat? It’s just the internet, it’s not real. HEY COOL A NEW FML POST. Our president/prime minister making decisions for a woman’s reproductive system? I’m not pregnant. That doesn’t affect me. HEY SICK A NEW GTAV ADD.
These things all affect us, every one of us. And I’m not saying I’m not guilty of it, too. When I get home from work I think about making dinner and watching a movie with my husband; I don’t think about changing the world. I don’t read a million news articles a day to get the whole picture, and I don’t spend all my free time lobbying for a politician I believe in.
What i do do, however, is think.
When I’m told something, I don’t just accept it.
My favourite example of this is, and always will be, the house hippo. I really wish this were real. It’s freakin’ adorable. But it’s not. Photoshop exists, so you can’t always believe everything you see, either. And who says I’m not just a dog at a computer typing right now?
I guess the point I’m trying to make after a lot of rambling is that we should always question what we see, who we give our money to, and who and what we support. Don’t just look at the end goal, but the journey. Look at the other people involved, too, because as much as we wish we were each the center of the universe, we’re not. 7 billion other people need to live in the world with you, and not all of them are the same gender, shape, size, colour or sex as you. So think about what you say when you say it, what you do when you do it, and who you support to lead you when you cast your vote – or when you decide not to. One man can change the world for the worse in 1939, Adolf Hitler changed the shape of the world forever. A single mom riding a train and writing on a napkin in the late 1980’s changed the world for the better when she wrote the first words which would later become Harry Potter. My husband changed my world when he asked to marry me. Your mum changed your world when she decided to have you.
We all have power, but we forget sometimes. It the shadow of a world filled with billions of people, it’s easy to feel both the most and least important person in it. If we remember, though, that every action creates an equal and opposite reaction… well, if we all acted, that would be a lot of reaction, wouldn’t it?