It’s ironic that when I spelled “dystopia”, my computer immediately it saw it as a spelling error, giving me instead words like “dystonia”, and “dysphoria”. It’s almost as if the world wants you to believe that we are in a good place, that we are no where near a dystopia.
However, the “spelling error” is not what this post is about. I would love to say that the world is moving towards change for the better, but in my heart, and I think many others, we are moving further and further from it. I am not trying to make people realize how horrible of a world we currently live in, but I am hoping to open some people’s eyes…make them realize what is really happening out there, and why this isn’t a good thing.
Do I really believe we are in a dystopia? Yes. Is it an imagined world of bad things? No, this is reality, and this is our actual reality.
We read dystopic fiction all the time. It’s a prevalent theme in young adult literature, and has been populized by tv shows and movies. We think that it’s only a work of fiction, that in reality, we are so far from such horrible things happening. Oppression. Rights taken away. Abuse of power. Corruption. Selling humans for a price. Putting a price tag on a human life. The list goes on and on. We see it in romanticized, over produced to make us believe that it’s the worst possible situations, while remaining blind to what is actually going on around us.
Think about it. I mean, really think about it.
One of the top stories on BBC today was that Trump plans to change a law that recognizes trans people as trans people. What is he going to do? He wants to change it that trans are not recognized as humans, and that whatever is put on their birth certificates is how they MUST be identified. This is wrong. I know this is a testy issue, because some people can’t wrap their heads around transgender people as something besides a boy or girl. Well, guess what, this law takes away the rights of many to identify how they actually are. Gender is defined by boy and girl. Gender is not limited to this. We were moving forward in acknowledging and understanding that gender lines are really blurred, and that being a transgender is a gender in itself, and how that person wants to identify themselves, is their choice, not the governments. It’s wrong to have human rights taken away from people, and yes, I don’t care what side of the argument you are on, humans rights are being taken away from people.
Let’s put this into perspective. Imagine being young. Imagine believing you have always been a girl, but at school, things changed. You make it to school, and you think, this is going to be great! I’m going to make all these new friends, and meet all these new people! And then only to find out that you’re different from them. You don’t really understand entirely, and perhaps your parents have never had that discussion with you, but you know you’re different. Then imagine, coming to the conclusion that you’re not really a girl, and that you actually are a boy. You’ve spent your life being bullied for being different, and you finally understand what it is about yourself that has changed, and why you are being different. Then, as you’re about to explain to your doctor that you are not a girl, because you are transgendered, and that you are in fact a boy. Instead of your doctor acknowledging this, instead of the world acknowledging this, they refuse to take you as a boy because your birth certificate says you are a girl. You’ve had your identity, a part of yourself, ripped away from you. All those years figuring out who you are, and what makes you, you, almost feels as if it is for nothing. Those years of self-discovery, and possible years of bullying because you were different as a kid; taken away from you because of a simple law the government passed deciding that you can’t ever identify as anything besides what you were born; that gender and identity is black and white.
Some of you might think I have taken that too far, and I understand that. But this is what is at stake with Trump’s desire to change this law. Trump has done many things already during his time as president, and it is has hurt the vulnerable, the minorities. Unless you are white (I’m sorry I have to say this), it almost feels as though you are targeted by your government, almost as though you don’t equal that which dominates your country.
This is the thing though….the minorities, everyone who is not white, everyone who is not straight….They matter so much. They’re human beings like everyone else, and they fucking matter. The emergence of racism and sexism is becoming more and more prevalent. We are all human beings, we should all be treated equally. We should not have rights taken away from us just because we are different. Just because we come from different countries, or the same country, does not mean we should treat anyone differently. We all deserve the exact same rights as our neighbours, our friends, our family. It doesn’t matter what colour your skin is; brown, black, white; or your gender; male, female, transgendered…; or your sexuality; straight, gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer, bisexual; or if you choose to dress in drag, get sexual reassignment surgery…. Anything. This doesn’t matter. We should all be treated with the same respect and consideration as others. We are living in a world with empathy. And of all the things we need right now, we need empathy (and strength to fight against wrong).
Now this is only one of two big issues I want to address, to make it clear that we are living in a dystopian world.
In Canada, we recently voted in a premier that has, without much constrast, as become our version of Trump. For a long time, we thought that during the race for the Conservative Federal leader, it was someone else, and then Doug Ford made his way into politics after his brothers unforgettable term as mayor of Toronto. Doug Ford, an ex-drug dealer, with mob ties, and connected to one of the most embarrassing mayors of Toronto ever to exist (he did cocaine in office, he took money from the mob, he had videos of himself getting wasted and stoned while spewing racial slurs and sexist comments). And now, Ford is our premier.
Now, some of you might be thinking, if his brother was such an embarrassment as mayor, why the hell did he end up being our premier? Well, look at the states. How the hell did Trump become president of their country?
Ford went around lying to every single group of people he could. He told immigrants that he was their man to keep them safe in Ontario, and persuaded teachers that he was always in it for them, while simultaneously telling parents that he was going to correct the education system to help parents feel like their kids are learning the right thing.
So, is that what happened? No. Ford has put forth stricter immigration policies for one, then went out of his way to change the sex-ed curriculum to one from the 90’s. Now, some of you might think, well that’s not so bad. Let me get rid of that thought right now. The sex-ed curriculum in the 90’s does not address AIDS, HIV, consent, healthy relationships, some STD’s, proper information for safe and protected sex, and sure as hell doesn’t address any other kind of sexual orientation other than straight. THIS is what he decided was the appropriate curriculum for our children learning about sex and relationships for the first time in their lives.
So, what happened after he said he would do this? Teacher’s protested all over Ontario, saying they didn’t want to teach this outdated curriculum. District school boards argued against it. No one should ever underestimate teachers. And what was Ford’s reaction to teachers saying “no, this isn’t okay”? He developed a snitch line for parents. If a parent has a complaint about a teacher, they should go to the principal, have it sorted out there. Nope. Not with this government. They want the parents to call them on this snitch line and tell them every detail of what they don’t like about a teacher, or multiple teachers. They want to know what is going on so they can control exactly what teachers are teaching. Yes, teachers need a curriculum, I won’t deny that. But students need to be learning up to date curriculum, up to date information, not archaic constructs and outdated lessons.
Ford has created big brother. He has a created an atmosphere where parents can’t trust the teachers teaching their children, and teachers can’t have the freedom to teach effectively. He has destroyed the trust between parents and teachers, which in an educational environment, is paramount. This coming from a teacher. If teachers and parents can have discussions about what happens in the classroom, if they can’t trust each other that teachers are providing a well-rounded education, then how can any child accurately learn anything? How can there be trust, communication, and the right measures to ensure that children learn what they need to learn?
There are so many other examples I can give, but I think I’ve gone into enough detail for now.
I’ll draw to my final point. Remember all those tv shows and movies, and books, that display a dystopia? Do you remember how those things started? For the most part, it started because there was no trust, human rights were being taken away, and curriculum was changing to a form of brainwashing, to only think one way and one way only; where to be different was horrific and wrong. That is what is happening in this world today. We have freedom of speech, but aren’t allowed to argue against our governments. We have human rights, but those are being taken away every where.
And it’s not just this. Think about the revolutions and uprisings that have happened in other countries. Think of Egypt and Lybia. How did those start? Oppression and human rights being taken away. The trust in the government going with it. These started in similar ways that we are now experiencing our countries today. We are losing human rights, we are being watched (though not to the extreme of China…same with their laws to allow concentration camps), and we are losing our ability to feel safe with who we are, and what makes us, us.
If you choose to act, to fight against these wrongs, then this, this is wonderful. Perhaps we can stop worse things from happening. Perhaps we can stop this dystopia from fully forming, and leaving us with nothing.
If you do not choose to act, then that is okay, but just be aware. Read the news. See what is going on out there. And if you only pay attention to one news source, then maybe look at others. Read different opinions, force yourself to try to see things from a different perspective.
And please, everyone. Fight for what is right.
I will leave you all with two articles on how our society is changing. I hope that it may open everyone’s eyes to the truth in which we are truly living in.
Stay informed. And don’t give up. There may be a chance for us to change this world we live in, for the better.