That’s all that’s left. Just thirty days, give or take, before life as we know it comes to an end.
No more wining and dining in the city’s finest establishments. No more peaceful strolls along the beautiful waterfront, nor quiet nights in beside the roaring fire. No more romantic weekend getaways. Nothing. All gone. In the blink of an eye.
Fortunately, I’m not talking about Trump’s war of words with Kim Jong-un. I’m talking about the massive bump my wife has been lugging around these past eight months. The clock is ticking on that bump becoming an actual real-life person, full of hopes and dreams, who me and the wife have to raise to adulthood despite having absolutely no clue how to do it.
It’s exciting times! Terrifying, but exciting!
Instead of Michelin Stars, we’ll be looking for Golden Arches, ignoring the sinister looking clown in the hope that we might get five minutes of peace for the price of a Happy Meal. We’ll be standing aghast as our child throws a tantrum down the biscuit aisle of the local supermarket. Our holidays will be spent deep in the heart of old Skegness, entertained by folks in redcoats singing like their lives depended on it. And all the while our sleep deprived bodies will be slowly crumbling apart…
Hard to believe I’m ready to make those sacrifices for someone I haven’t even met yet. Someone whose poo and vomit I’m going to be elbow deep in for the next couple of years.
But I am ready.
Ready and willing.
There’s… just a few things I need to get off my chest first. What follows will be a series of posts covering the many things that have been rolling around in my head as fatherhood draws ever closer. Fair warning, these posts will be heavily political and extremely ranty. It’s all just my opinion though, so take what you will and ignore the rest. And then go and buy my book, whether you like me or not 😉
I’m going to start with the big one: hate. It’s back, y’all. It’s back big time. There’s no getting away from it. Whether you take your news in paper form or via the magic of social media, hate is everywhere you look.
There’s the racist President who’s fed up of seeing people from ‘shithole’ countries living out the American dream, who would instead rather restrict his nation’s borders to allow in just the blonde haired, blue-eyed folk of Norway.
Trump, it should be noted, would insist that he’s “the least racist person” you could ever meet. I’m not sure if racism comes in different shades of severity, but we can let Trump’s record speak for itself. This is the same man who was sued for refusing to rent or negotiate rentals to people “because of race and colour”; who spent most of his predecessor’s reign claiming Obama was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii; who called for a ban on all Muslims (not a race, I know, but does Trump?!) entering the United States; and who labelled all Mexican immigrants as rapists.
Racism not enough for you? Trump has also revealed his opinion on women, who he believes, if you’re rich and powerful enough, you can just “grab them by the pussy” and do what you like.
Maybe he’s got a point. If any normal person had said the things Trump has said, there’s no way he would have been allowed to stand for office, let alone actually won the thing. Your average person would be fired if they said these things, and if they Tweeted them, there’s a good chance they’d get prosecuted for hate crimes. But Trump’s not your average Joe. He used to be a millionaire, but now he’s the most powerful man on Earth. And hate is the only gift he offers.
Sadly, it’s not just our American cousins who have been struck by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. If Trump was an outside bet for President, a vote for Brexit was somehow even more outlandish. Yet, like Trump, the Leave camp came out of nowhere to win the UK’s EU Referendum.
I’m sure the reasons for why people voted Leave have been well documented, but I think a large part of it was down to fear. Immigration was most certainly one of the main issues people considered when voting. With immigration apparently on the rise, people were afraid of what it meant for future job prospects. In addition, given the growing impact of terrorism, the thought of religious extremists slipping into the country also played a part.
People wanted out of the European Union so that the UK could take back control of its borders, to better control the influx of foreign migrants. The fact that the British Government always had the power to govern it’s own immigration control didn’t seem to occur to people until it was too late.
The mainstream media did nothing to quell these fears either, as they have agendas of their own. Much better for them to throw petrol on the flames… but that’s an issue for another day.
So fear drove Brexit, and, as Master Yoda taught us, fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate to suffering. No sooner had the Leave vote arrived than there was a sharp spike in hate crime. Suddenly people felt comfortable letting their hatred show. They felt vindicated, endorsed by the British public.
I find myself on Twitter most days, so I’ve seen this swelling hatred growing on both sides of the pond, bubbling just below the surface. I’ve seen the rise of Alt-Right, encouraged by their spiritual, if not actual, leader, Donald Trump.
That’s the part that truly scares me. They can re-brand themselves all they like, but these guys are most definitely Nazis. Trump’s ascension has given them the chance to crawl out from beneath their rock and play a serious role in American politics. And people are letting it happen.
Nationalism is on the rise, not just in the US and Britain, but across Europe. You’d think we’d have learnt our lesson by now. Freedom of speech and political expression is a beautiful thing, but when it allows people to preach that one race, religion, or political party is superior to all others, it only ever ends one way.
Our grandparents and great-grandparents spent six years fighting such an ideology, costing somewhere between 50 and 80 million lives, and leaving entire nations in ruins. They didn’t do all that so we could follow another madman down the same rabbit hole. They did it so that their children, and their children’s children, could live in peace and harmony, free from tyranny and oppression.
They succeeded, our old folks, though it seems only for a while. Now, as memories fade and the lessons of the past are forgotten, the same twisted ideas from those dark days are starting to reappear. We can’t take our freedoms for granted anymore, because there are people out there who want to take them away.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, a wise man once said, is that good men do nothing. So this is me doing something; putting my marker down the only way I know how. With words.
We can’t let the world slip back into the misery of the Thirties and Forties, where fear and hatred ruled. My kid deserves better than that. My kid deserves a world without borders, where he or she can travel to any part of the globe and feel welcome, just as they welcome others to their small patch. My kid deserves a world where all religions are valued and respected, even though that seems impossible. Rather than looking to Make America Great Again or putting Britain First, my kid deserves a world that looks outward, not inward, that strives to makes things better for all our peoples, no matter race, nationality, or creed. A world that rewards our children for looking to the stars and dreaming.
24th January 2018