By Ingrid Sapona
Here’s my alphabetic review of 2015:
A is for asylum seekers – people seeking asylum are not leaving
everything behind just because they want new opportunities. They are seeking
protection from harm.
B is for border – Donald Trump wants a southern border, former
candidate Scott Walker wanted a northern border. Does the U.S. really want to
create Fortress America? Well, with all the guns in the U.S., I’m happy to be
outside the U.S.’s borders.
C is for Constitution – I never thought I’d be in favour of amending
the U.S. Constitution (the thought of opening that can of worms for something
like banning flag burning just seemed ridiculous, not to mention dangerous, as
I think it’s a pretty good document and I don’t trust politicians of today) –
but, I think without a change to the second amendment, the U.S. will become so
dangerous, there will be no turning back.
D is for disruptive – when did being disruptive become cool? I find
it odd that everyone’s now trying to find a way to describe processes and
products as disruptive. What ever happened to simply trying to make things
E is for endless campaign season – the recent Canadian federal
election, at 78 days, was the second longest in Canada’s history. Way too long
for our taste. Why – or how – the U.S. puts up with an endless campaign season
is beyond me.
F is for fleeing – people fleeing their homes are not migrating. They
are seeking safety.
G is for gun – I’ve tried so many times to raise this issue with my
American friends and they routinely simply change the subject. Change can’t
happen without people being willing to say they want change.
H is for herbs – actually, fresh herbs. If I had one take-away from
the boot camp my sisters and I did at the Culinary Institute of America it
would be to splurge on fresh herbs – they can perk up the humblest dish.
I is for imogee – there is now an imodicon dictionary. I wonder if in
1000 years someone will need a Rosetta Stone-like cryptography tool to
J is for justice – I’ve always held the notion of justice in high
esteem. Sadly, the term has become like beauty: subjective.
K is for kindness – a quality that the world could use more of.
L is for loudmouth – when I was growing up, being a loud mouth was
something that got you in trouble. Hard to believe some think being a loudmouth
is appropriate presidential behaviour.
M is for migrant – migrant is not another word for refugee, or for
those seeking asylum, or for those fleeing violence. Migration implies looking
for opportunity. Easy – and convenient – for many to gloss over the difference.
How dare we?
N is for neighbor – my sister and I recently reconnected with a
family that lived down the street from us. They were one of our favourite
neighbors but, as is so often the case, all us kids moved away and made lives
elsewhere. We’ve managed to keep up through Christmas letters, the occasional
e-mail, and even noting new jobs and transitions via LinkedIn. But, there’s
something about re-connecting in person that is so much nicer. As we chatted
and reminisced, so many memories flooded back. I was amazed at how much we knew
about each others’ lives back then – and how many shared experiences we had. To
borrow a concept from the wine world – you could say that our street was our
“terroir” – it definitely impacted our values and character. I wonder if folks get
to know their neighbors as well as those on our street seemed to.
O is for one – though we are all individuals, we must not think that our
actions don’t matter or won’t make a difference. They do. Change can only
happen when each of us takes responsibility and speaks up and takes action.
P is for profound – earlier this year a friend of mine was telling me
about the emotions she found herself dealing with when she was helping her
daughter relocate to begin her career. I was very moved by my friend’s
description of solace and wisdom she found in the writing of others who had
gone through the same experience. My friend used the word profound to describe
what she read – I love the thought that someone’s words can help in that way…
Q is for questions – why don’t journalists ask the right questions of
candidates? For example,
why hasn’t anyone asked Mr. Trump if he
will put all his business interests in a blind trust if he becomes president so
he can avoid any kind of conflict of interest? Or why doesn’t anyone ask Ben
Carson what he means every time he uses the phrase, “people know”? (I suppose
it could be because I’m the only person who doesn’t know, but I find that hard
R is for refugee – like asylum seekers, refugees are not simply
seeking economic opportunities.
S is for sunny days – that’s what Justin Trudeau, Canada’s young,
optimistic new Prime Minister promised on his overwhelming (and surprising)
victory in October. Even though everyone knows in every life there’s some rain
– it’s refreshing to have a leader giving voice to optimism.
T is for time – not only do days and years go fast, this November we
marked the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. A decade, and yet,
it seems like just yesterday.
U is for unethical – the news of VW’s emissions fraud was unethical
and, sadly, just one example of corporate corruption.
V is for violence – I keep hoping that one of these years it will
seem that the violence around the world is easing, but, sadly, it’s not… If
anything, it is escalating. So many times this year the chant of Black Lives
Matter could be heard echoing throughout the U.S. That is undeniably true. But
the truth is, all lives matter – including those of refugees.
W is for Windows – Windows 10 came out this year and I recently made
the switch thanks to Sandy, my computer guru. When I asked her why they skipped
from Windows 8 to 10 she explained that since there was a Windows 95 and 98,
they couldn’t be sure that there might not be some old code from those versions
still hanging around. Kinda reminds me of the big kerfuffle around Y2K, eh?
X is for xtra time (at least if you’re a bad speller – or maybe a
texter) – time flies faster and faster, it seems. Nothing we can do about that,
I know. All the more reason to try to slow down in an effort to be present to every
Y is for Yazidi – how sad that the only reason many of us in the west
heard about this religious sect is because they’ve been targeted by ISIS.
Z is for Zuckerberg – in a touching post, complete with a sweet photo
of the new family, the founder of Facebook and his wife made two big
announcements recently: they had a daughter and they “gave away 99% of their Facebook shares”. The detail their posting glossed over is that the wealthy
couple’s definition of “give” is not quite the same as yours and mine. Their
“gift” isn’t a charitable donation; it’s a transfer of their shares to a new
vehicle (a limited liability company). I’m sure the LLC will do all sorts of
good works in the long run, but the announcement seemed a bit self-aggrandizing.
There you have it – the words and thoughts
that mark 2015 for me.
Here’s to 2016 and – I hope – a more
up-beat list to draw on. Happy New Year!
© 2015 Ingrid Sapona