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March 2018 ~ An Unstable Future?

Posted in From The Editor's Perspective, and World Affairs

Today is International Women’s Day, and as a female I should be excited or at least enthusiastic, yet I’m not. I’m an advocate for justice and equality, but I can’t help but see that these issues being sidelined. It’s a day to celebrate the achievements of women, and the suffragettes that fought for the vote will always epitomize to me what the fight for women’s rights was all about, but today it’s more about the oppression of women in other countries, which is down to their culture. One needs to find a balance to respect cultures while also promoting equality and rights. Yes, women should have equal rights, but in cultures where women legally don’t have them does protesting help? You need to change the mindset of those in charge of the laws and generations of those who are indoctrinated with the belief that women are possessions of either the father or husband.

What I see is companies jumping on the bandwagon promoting discounts for the day, feminists protesting, and female speakers giving talks who have probably been paid huge sums. I know I sound skeptical, but that’s the reality of it. There is work to be done in respect of the gender pay gap which exists in all sectors, prejudice in the workplace, and the #MeToo movement where women have endured and suffered sexual harassment. By highlighting these issues and making them public we hope to force changes. I was more impressed with Carrie Gracie of the BBC who resigned as the China editor over discrimination over pay parity. She is articulate and an excellent journalist and she makes her case credible unlike others who rant and rave, and who quite frankly make women who are fighting for equality cringe.

The last few weeks have been rather dire in the world. More people have decided to leave their jobs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that I can’t keep up, so read up here where others are keeping track.

Some were fired, some resigned, and there is a list of those who are on the brink of wishing to leave or are about to be pushed. The most recent one that was expected was Hope Hicks who was an aide who was quickly was promoted to Communication Director (the fourth in 12 months!) at the age of 28 with no actual experience. Given that she resigned immediately after being interviewed by Mueller’s team, it’s no surprise that she has done so to save herself, and was already lawyered up.

The main focus has been on guns again in the USA, this time in Florida where shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th resulted in 17 people losing their lives. Many will cry out, “Not again?” and it’s true, how many more incidents does it take for the government to take action. Having security and a police presence doesn’t deter shooters who plan ahead, and in this case there were many warnings from the public that the shooter was a person of interest. Regardless, he was still able to buy the guns legally, and to top it all the police officer on the scene chose not to enter the building when shots were being fired.

I watched the coverage over the last few weeks; brave fathers of the victims who implored the president to do something when they visited the White House, while #45 was given crib notes telling him what to do and say such as #5 “I hear you”. I proudly watched students stage a lie in (they laid down) outside the White House in protest to get their voices heard, as around the country other students went on rallies to ask the NRA what they are going to do to prevent this from happening again; the school sports teams dedicating their wins to their fellow students who were killed and those who are recovering, and some of the survivors who are now dedicated to the cause of gun control.

The response has been must faster than in recent times, perhaps it’s because no one can say these are isolated incidents any longer. Congress and the NRA have been pressured to act, yet neither have done anything. However, the public has made their thoughts known, and with the aid of social media, companies that supported the NRA were encouraged to withdraw their ties. First of all Dick’s Sporting Goods and then Walmart decided to increase the age to 21 years old before people can buy a gun from their stores, and have chosen not to stock assault weapons. What I do find telling is the counter argument is that the companies can be sued for age discrimination. That is the problem with the pesky Second Amendment and the outdated but convenient interpretation of it as it gives citizens rights. However, I would ask the question why do people need to buy guns in the first place? A right to bear arms is because the person needs to protect themselves, so what is it they are needing to be protected from?

Usually companies don’t cave into social media threats and rallies, but the students who eloquently spoke and said, ‘Enough is enough,’ caught the attention of all worldwide and the corporate giants listened.

  • First National Bank of Omaha will no longer issue Visa cards for the NRA.
  • Enterprise, Avis, Alamo, National, and Hertz car rental companies will no longer offer discounts to members of the NRA
  • Delta and United airlines have cut ties.
  • Allied Van Lines and North American Lines also have removed ties.
  • Chubb and MetLife have chosen to discontinue their association.
  • Symantec have ended their discount program
  • Wyndham hotels no longer offer discounted rates

While on social media, companies that still have ties have been criticized as people encourage others to boycott them such as FedEx, and in turn many companies have opted to sever ties with FedEx. It’s a brave move, but companies have listened to their customers and to survive, they are aware they need to maintain a good brand image. There is power in the voice of the people, even though Congress is supposed to be the power for the people, yet in recent times it’s all about getting elected for those who sit in the upper and lower chambers. Let’s see how many remain on November 6th when 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and 34 senate seats will be contested.

No one can escape Russia and their dark dealings. Today in the UK, it was confirmed the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were exposed to a nerve agent that was meant to kill them, and both are in a critical condition. The police officer who went to assist them was affected as well and remains in a stable condition. I doubt anyone will admit responsibility, but is it a coincidence? Unlikely, but the fact is that it indicates the Russians can and will do things that are underhand. The likelihood that they interfered in the US elections is so high, that people just want to know the extent, who was in on it, and what is Congress going to do about it? Those are the real questions, and not did Russian interfere.

I feel somewhat uninspired by the International Women’s Day, and it feels too commercial somehow where some women want to brag about their achievements, and others want to protest and campaign. I see little to celebrate somehow. Here, in the UK it’s Mother’s Day at the weekend, and the stores are full of gift sets, and restaurants have special menus, yet the commercialism is too obvious now. Instead I look forward to Easter at the end of the month; a time of rebirth and hopefully a brighter future for the world.

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