The Journal of an Ordinary Voice
January is a dismal, difficult, month for most of us with the Spring and those longer, lighter days seeming to be too far off. I’m finding it similarly difficult to write an update about any progress I’ve made with my political learning and involvement. There is a great deal happening though, locally, nationally and world-wide, it is over-whelming and difficult to pin-point what I should get involved in when there are so many injustices and issues that I feel quite strongly about. There is so much that I’d like to fix with one wave of a magic wand. One person acting alone cannot change much but I can see how much groups of people, who are campaigning for change, are able to achieve.
The internet makes it possible to connect with people who would normally be outside of our immediate circles. I have been able to find events, meetings and learning opportunities that I can join. It isn’t possible to become involved in all the groups or charitable works that are being organised so my aim is to try and focus on what I am able to join, the practical ways I can help with local campaigns and actions whilst also attending events that provide learning experiences.
One of the reasons I desperately wanted to do more than sign petitions and share political posts on the internet was the difficulties I’ve had in talking to people I know about ‘immigration’. The EU referendum triggered an increase in racist attacks and though I have not had a problem challenging racist and bigoted views on social media, it has been problematic for me to know how to counter-act such views when expressed by people whom I thought I knew. I am ashamed that these people are openly expressing racist views, I am afraid to discuss those views because they make me extremely angry and I am confused at how anyone can be so ignorant. It has been easier to disconnect and distance myself from those people, to avoid the subjects that provide the opportunity to spout those views and just hope that some sort of sense of how wrong those views are, will prevail. However, I also know that without challenging mis-information those views won’t change. Derbyshire Dales Labour group have made me aware of some positive learning workshops, which I shall attend that are aimed at helping us all to challenge incorrect and biased views.
There are many things we feel we don’t have any control over but we can influence the way that those close to us behave. Parents do this with every moment they spend with their children, friends influence each other’s thinking, and groups of like-minded people are able to make a difference in their communities. If you feel frustrated or unable to challenge ignorance, bigotry and racism I would encourage you to join groups like Hope Not Hate and any workshops, meetings and events.