Godwin’s Law doesn’t apply when you’re talking about ACTUAL FUCKING NAZIS.

I’ve tried to think of something coherent to say about Charlottesville, and my rage just keeps getting in the way.

I’m a white person who benefits from structural racism every single day, and if I keep my mouth shut about it, I’m just perpetuating it.

I’m also a Jewish person who knows my history. When the shit hits the fan, time and time and time again, I know that we’ll be out there, first against the wall. The canary in the goddamn coal mine.

I can’t wrap my head around how people voted for the likes of Trump. I can’t wrap my head around how people keep defending him. And, most of all, I can’t wrap my head around how any of those people could possibly be Jewish.

How the HELL does any Jewish person — even one ignorant about the most basic facets of history — vote for someone who puts the likes of Steve Bannon in the White House? For someone who refuses to condemn Nazi white supremacist pond scum, because he’s too busy tweeting about Meryl Streep? For someone whose campaign stops were eerily reminiscent of Hitler Youth rallies? For someone who, like every bully in history, bolsters himself by targeting those people who are most vulnerable?

I’m not naive. We’re not immune in Canada. These pond scum racists exist here, too. The difference is that our current leaders doesn’t fan those flames. Trump does. He’s either a racist himself, or enough of a cynic to use racism to his benefit. It doesn’t much matter which. The effect is the same.

First they came for the Muslims. The Mexicans. The Haitians. The African Americans. The Native Americans. The trans people serving in the military. The climate scientists. The journalists. The judges.

And always, the Jews. We must never forget that, as much as we think we can hide behind white privilege and a feeling of relative comfort and security? But when push comes to shove, they’ll turn on us too. They already have.

#WeveSeenThisBefore. We know how it ends.

If you’re thinking, oh, it’ll all blow over? #WeveSeenThatBefore, too.

Time to get our collective heads out of the sand. Time to say enough. Time to say Never Again. And mean it. Because the stakes are too high.

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Campaigns like “Let’s Talk” are all well and good when it comes to ending the stigma and launching a conversation. But it’s not enough to just talk about mental health. We urgently need to fix our system to provide better access treatment, prevention and education.

The Globe and Mail’s #OpenMinds Series has some practical, common-sense solutions that should be implemented:

  • Expanding access to publicly funded therapy
  • Using technology to deliver therapy into the homes of Canadians
  • Teaching the next generation about mental health
  • Giving youth early access to good clinical care
  • Providing affordable housing to those who need it

I agree with all of these. And I’d add a few:

  1. Healthcare is under provincial jurisdiction. But the Federal government DOES have the power to amend the Canada Health Act to include mental health. (No doubt the provinces would push back about it being an unfunded mandate, but studies show that these solutions would actually *save* the government money in the long run.) Amending the Act would rightly recognize the importance of mental health and would pressure provincial governments to provide better access to care across the country.
  2. Resources (funding, support groups, education) for caregivers are notably absent from this list. This is a big gap in our existing system. Being a caregiver is an enormous responsibility, and people with loved ones in their lives battling mental health problems need all the help they can get.
  3. Many people are afraid to seek treatment for mental health problems because they fear losing their jobs if their health issues become known. Both employees and employers need more education about their existing rights. And where loopholes exist in the laws, these need to be amended to ensure that nobody ever has to worry about being fired due to mental illness.
  4. We need to do a better job training police on how to deal with people with mental health issues. There are too many horror stories of people being killed, harmed, or shuffled into the criminal justice system when what they need is treatment, not enforcement.

According to the CAMH, mental illness costs the economy an estimated $51 billion per year, and affects an estimated 1 in 2 Canadians by age 40. Nearly 4000 Canadians commit suicide each year. There’s no doubt that we have a mental health crisis in this country. And it’s in our power to fix.

Let’s do better, Canada.

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WaPo: People aren’t poor because they’re lazy

03.08.2017

This article in the Washington Post really gets at the crux of the difference in outlook between liberals and conservatives: Chaffetz was articulating a commonly held belief that poverty in the United States is, by and large, the result of laziness, immorality and irresponsibility. If only people made better choices — if they worked harder, [...]

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Digital devices at the border: A guide for Canadians

03.01.2017

BCCLA has written a clear, easy-to-understand guide for Canadians about issues that are far from clear or easy to understand: The first thing to remember if you’re a Canadian travelling to the United States is that you do not have a free-standing right to enter the US. Many Canadians have been crossing the Canada-US border [...]

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How to fight fascism in the US

02.24.2017

It’s time to stop pointing out all the ways that Donald Trump is turning the US into a fascist state at worryingly break-neck speed. Fascism is here. The question is, what are we going to do about it? Let’s look at history to see what has worked to successfully fight fascist / totalitarian regimes.

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Bannon: Cabinet picks were meant to destroy their agencies

02.24.2017

Steve Bannon has admitted that Trump’s choices for his cabinet were deliberately set up to destroy the agencies that they were appointed to lead: In the clearest explanation for why nearly all of Trump’s cabinet choices are known mostly for despising and attacking the very Federal agencies they’ve been designated to lead, Bannon explained—in very clear [...]

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Taylor: “Times have changed” since our recommendation to ban religious headwear

02.14.2017

Charles Taylor admits he erred when he authored the Bouchard-Taylor recommendation to restrict religious symbols among public servants in positions of authority, saying that “times have changed”: In 2008, Taylor, along with sociologist Gérard Bouchard, signed a report that called for a ban on religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of coercive authority [...]

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USA: Land of the Free, 1776-2016

02.03.2017

RIP, America.  

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No, it’s not peace in the Middle East. But it’s something.

01.31.2017

One of the more positive effects of what’s been happening lately has been the coming together of the Muslim and Jewish Communities towards a common cause: A photo of two kids — a Muslim girl and Jewish boy — rallying for the same cause alongside their dads, warmed the hearts of audiences across social media. [...]

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Heather B and CHOM part ways

01.31.2017

So, I’m of two minds here about Heather Backman being let go from the CHOM morning show. On the one hand: Not very classy of Bell Media to lay her off right after the 5-year anniversary party. I know there’s never a good timing for a layoff, but this was especially poorly timed, IMHO. On [...]

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