Let’s Talk Ramifications

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Stephen Colbert said it best, America was so concerned with the concept of winning, or rather beating “Crooked Hilary”, that they lost sight of what that would actually mean for them in the long run.

In my opinion, the media plays a “huuuuge” role in what is being called the biggest upset in US political history because they saturated the airwaves with Trump’s wild antics so much so that we entered this altered state of reality where rape, sexism, racism and fascism became something to laugh at. It became the norm. By constantly airing all of Donald’s crazy behaviours, we watched, popcorn in hand, to see what he would do next. It became a circus act. And unfortunately, that circus act will now sit in one of the most prestigious offices in the world.

But what will happen now that the Republican Party literally controls everything? I fear that it will be a domino effect that will impact every aspect of life for the next 4 years.

Let me explain…

For starters, the notion of gun regulation is certainly off the table. In a country where brutality continues to occur on the daily, lives (especially black lives) don’t seem to matter at all because anyone and everyone can own something that can literally end a life in the blink of an eye. In day one of Trump’s reign as president elect, we saw Muslim women’s hijabs being ripped off of their heads, African-American people being told to sit at the back of the bus, and Mexican children being taunted in schools at the looming threat of deportation. Will the hands of progress be suddenly handcuffed, kicked out of the country, and switched out for ones holding AK-47s?

What will happen to all the marriages that became a reality for same-sex couples who fought for decades for the historic Supreme Court ruling on June 26th, 2015? Will they be nullified? Do we really now live in a world where Sarah Palin is seriously being considered for a Cabinet position and Kim Davis will have the last laugh? Think about it.

What about those genuinely needing access to abortion services and birth control pills? Will Trump’s Republican Party suddenly help the mental health of women who, under his administration, will be pressured to have a child they know they can’t support? The scope goes much further then pregnancy alone as some use birth control pills to regulate the hormones that keep episodes of manic depression from rising to the surface. What then? Will Planned Parenthood be forced to close its doors? Research shows, despite what Trump’s backward opinions tell you, that countries that hinder abortion services actually increase the total amount of botched abortions. Dear God, will they also act to reinstate abstinence-only programs in the education systems? Because people like soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence will sure as hell be vouching for its reinstatement across the country. That’s a scary thought.

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Something that especially surprised me during this election was the amount of Hispanic, African-American and young people that did not support Hilary and the Democrats. In fact, in all of the above demographics, more people voted for Obama in 2008 than they did for Hilary. That says a lot about this generation considering this time around you had a candidate that said he’d build a wall around Mexico, deport immigrants and overturn any progressive legislations that came into power during Obama’s terms. I don’t even want to touch the topic of Obamacare because getting rid of it is absolutely absurd and the fact that the bulk of Americans don’t even realize this is troubling.

This election says a lot about American society as whole. Of course it does. But it also shows a huge underlining problem. It shows that the general population was so mistrusting of the government that they LITERALLY put their own fates in the hands of a candidate who not only has no experience in politics, and a history of failed business endeavours, but who’s multiple marriages and allegations of sexual assault undermine everything the vast majority of his supporters (read: Evangelical Christians) believe in.

Let us take a moment as well to recognize that the lawsuit concerning rape allegations of a 13-year old girl were dropped due to imminent death threats by Trump’s supporters. And despite the horrific footage of what is now being termed “Pussygate”, large numbers of women STILL woke up on the day of the election and thought “Why yes, Trump does have my best interests at heart.” What kind of message does that send to little girls everywhere? I can tell you right now that it means if you are raped or sexually assaulted, you better shut your mouth and not speak up because people will literally threaten to kill you for it. Did the case of Brock Turner honestly teach us NOTHING?!

This scares me.

And, as a Canadian, I don’t know what to do about it because this does effect me.

This is not me being dramatic.

For example, as someone who identifies as gay, if the Supreme Court ruling is in fact overturned, popular opinion may shift once again to return to the thought that homosexuality is somehow wrong. That loving who you love doesn’t matter. How many more closeted teens will take their own lives because they’ll now be told that equal rights was just an illusion? If I can no longer travel to the US without the fear that someone, influenced by Trump’s hate-filled propaganda, will physically or verbally assault me, that is not okay.

For myself.

For my boyfriend.

Or for the entire LGBT community.

Furthermore, because Trump believes climate change is a hoax spread by the Chinese, any progress Canada makes in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 will surely be offset by the billowing pillars of smoke that waft across our borders from our neighbours to the south.

We have come to far to let fear and hatred find its roots again in a society that has worked so hard, under Obama’s administration, to abolish it into the history books.

So I ask, what will the ramifications be?

I don’t know and only time can tell us that. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not truly afraid to find out.

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50 Shades of Smog

Whether we like it or not, Vancouver is a dirtier shade of green than we want to admit. As a city notoriously packed with idling cars, it is one of the main contributors that puts Canada among the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world.

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To make matters worse, we are creatures of habit. We justify filing up that $70 tank of gas because it gets us from point A to point B every week without the stresses often associated with transit.

However, when one takes into account the damages we are doing to our environment due to driving—carbon dioxide emissions, air contamination and water toxicity—reconsidering transit and bicycling may be the key that helps our city flourish ecologically.

Vancouver’s challenge is this: as a city with over 578,000 residents, we must actively seek out ways to reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth while we still can. In Mayor Gregor Robertson’s eyes, it is with hope that we are able to become the greenest city by 2020.

Following the Compass

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With the introduction of the new Compass Card in the fall of 2014, commuters will have the accessibility of all Translink services in the back of their pockets. Starting off at a mere $6 with a 14 per cent discount versus cash fares, Vancouverites will need only to tap their cards onto blue readers upon entering and exiting all Translink services.

Not only will the system be convenient for riders, it’ll also beneficial to the company. By easily identifying where the bulk of travellers are commuting to, Translink will be able to indicate where additional services need to be implemented.

To make the offer more enticing, each card will be preloaded with a free three-zone fare, providing a King George to Waterfront ride at no additional cost. With payment options including vending machines at Skytrain stations, retailers across the city, online and by phone, transiting will be made easy for even the most reluctant of commuters.

City Cycling

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Vancouver is also set to join the ranks of cities worldwide to adopt a public bike share program in early 2014. Run and operated by Alta Bicycle Shares, the program will see over 1,500 bikes distributed across 125 solar-powered stations throughout the city, equipped with helmet vending machines to comply with British Columbian laws.

As an alternative to driving, the bike share program hopes to reduce the need for cars, increase an interest in city cycling and extend a healthy transportation option to the residents of Vancouver. Riders will be able to purchase daily, weekly and annual passes, with the program only costing participants if they use it for more than 30 minutes a day.

Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of programs worldwide. In 2007, only 60 could be found, almost exclusively in Europe. Today, nearly 500 bike shares have been established on every continent including programs in London, New York and Ottawa. Montreal’s program has seen great success since its launch in 2009, having saved over 1,360 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Lyon, France’s bike share program, arguably the most successful to date, has prevented over 8,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution since launching in 2005.

Thinking Forward

The Lower Fraser Valley has one of the worst smog problems in Canada with greenhouse gas emissions from personal cars having risen by more than 35 per cent in Canada since 1990, contributing 4.51 million tonnes of toxins into the atmosphere. As the third highest emitter of vehicle pollution in the country, Vancouver must take the necessary steps to ensure that generations to come will have a place to live free of harmful pollution.

It’s as simple as hopping onto a bike, jumping aboard a Skytrain or grabbing an umbrella and walking through one of the most beautiful cities this country has to offer. Before you know it, you’ll start to enjoy the exercise you’re getting, the clean air you’re breathing and you’ll grow an appreciation for the place you call home.

Photo Credits: Tourism Vancouver, BC Translink & Wikipedia

 

Why Coca Cola’s Super Bowl Ad Would’ve Excelled in Canada.

Let’s face it, Coca Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” advertisement during the 48th Super Bowl this weekend, fell flatter than the mightiest of Broncos during the third quarter of the game.

Set to the music of “America, the Beautiful”, the sixty-second clip showed all walks of American life equipped with the iconic song performed in seven different languages. Its intentions were good; show a diversified country united by a patriotic song and instill hope and acceptance into the hearts of billions of people around the world.

But what occurred was something executives at any top-selling juggernaut company fear most; a social media outcry where fingers were pointed and lines were drawn. A full-blown crisis erupted from a branding experiment gone terribly wrong.

Which begs the question, would a war of such magnitude have occurred if something like this played during a national Canadian event? Would America’s “Neighbours of the North” be up-in-arms during a Grey Cup or Stanley Cup game? The answer is an obvious no for multiple reasons.

As a country that prides itself on multiculturalism, Canada recognizes and accepts the languages of the land without discrimination. We saw how powerful inclusion can be during the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, when an effective marketing strategy and a beautiful song, performed by a then-unknown Nikki Yanofsky, seemed to unite an entire nation for two weeks and a new sense of pride sprouted in the phrase “I am Canadian.” Perhaps that was Coca Cola’s true intention; bring together a divided country in time to cheer on their athletes at the Sochi Olympics later this month.

Apparently, the concept of an “American Dream” was reserved strictly to the inhabitants of the country. The irony that nearly all of American citizens were once immigrants of the land is not lost here. Would the commercial have been more appropriate if it were sung in a Native American language such as Cherokee? After all, English has never actually been recognized as the official language the United States.

What aimed to become a trending topic on Twitter with the hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful shamelessly placed at the end of the ad, sparked an almost immediate smear campaign and viral boycott of the soft drink manufacturer. Notable figureheads throughout America commented on the matter, with conservative political commentator Glenn Beck taking to his personal account to say the ad’s purpose was to divide the country, while only a rare few, such as Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, congratulated it.

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The controversial commercial went so far as to include, for the first time in the event’s history according to GLAAD, a gay couple spending quality time with their daughter. While Coke, one of the main sponsors of the Sochi Olympics, has remained silent on their stance of gay rights until now, the commercial aimed to show how progressive and inclusive of a company they are. However, in a country encountering court appeal after court appeal on the subject of same-sex marriage, it did not bode well for the still fairly conservative population.

Instead, the video should’ve been preserved for a Canadian audience, where the country has welcomed, with open arms, all marriages regardless of sexual orientation since 2005. Of course, with a move like that, the exposure and reach of the commercial would hardly be that of the Super Bowl but would’ve been far more embraced by the public as a whole, garnering positive media instead of the wildfire that has occurred thus far.

The dialogue regarding the commercial should veer away from political standings and focus on the beauty of the original message that Coca Cola is for everyone. After all, much like Canada’s national anthem, “Star Spangled Banner” speaks of a land of the free and home of the brave so why can’t that be a reality for the millions of culturally diverse people that make up the country? 

Video & Photo Credit: Coca Cola & Youtube