Like a lot of people, I woke up the 9th of November facing a global headache. A headache we could have seen coming, which has slowly built outside of our bubbles, just next to it in fact. Those talks, remarks, “jokes” that slowly built throughout the years and that we have all heard during our family or friends gathering, …
I’m not going to lie, Donald Trump’s election terribly brought me down. During this whole day, I felt I was feeling deeply sad, facing a lot of questions about myself, the society, the world. Because it’d be a lie to think that this election won’t have any impact here, as the same things are already building up in the countries next to ours (France with Le Pen and the Manif pour Tous, England with the Brexit, …). Everywhere in the world, people are saying things I’d have thought unthinkable some time ago, attacking “the other one”, the “migrant”, the “stranger”, …
On the other side, nobody believes anymore in our democratic system as it is, but this view brings a lot of consequences on its own too.
“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.” – Antonio Gramsci
And I totally understand this attitude towards our system, those records in terms of people who don’t even take the time to vote (even more for my generation). How can you still believe in a system that looks more and more like a succession of son, grand sons, daughters, … of the same families ? In a system that is far and far away from everyone’s daily life. How can we keep believing in a system that is so quickly moved by populist speeches, where it’s easier to say that “the foreigner is stealing your job” than to explain why our works are dramatically changing and that not a single one of our politicians is working to prepare this change? How to keep believing in a system that gets older and older, where our youth is more and more rejected, not believed, where even the “young” parts of the political parties aren’t listened by their peers?
But this morning, I was able to get up from bed with a clearer mind, a new energy and inspiration. To face the events, I’ve realized that even on our small side, we were able to change things, and that we shouldn’t believe nothing was in our hands. That even if my generation will take many years before reaching any of those positions that can allow us to change the system as it is today, it’s still possible to help changing things.
It might not look like much, but those small ideas have a human impact that we can realize, that we can live on our own. Because even if we can help only ten people around us, that’s already quite a number for a small human being. Those propositions might sound simplistic, but they’re not made to change the system, instead they aim at opening our minds, get us a bit closer to each other.
Give some of your time to help strangers
Two years ago, after a lot of hard times, I wanted to find a way to help other people going through times alike. As I was both working as employee and side freelancer, it was really hard for me to find the time to join a support call-center team with sometimes complex schedules. It was around this time that I discovered 7 Cups. This website allowed me to help tens of people, by just being here for them. I’ve discovered, something I’ve never realized, that a lot of people around the world just needed someone who would listen to them, someone who will tell them that they’re worth something, that they’re unique, that they deserve that we take some time for them.
I’ve talked with people all around the world, which are still anonymous as of today, with a lot of different troubles, personal life events, sometimes very hard. But even with a bit of time, even just one hour a week, I was really able to help some people, even just to tell them : you are not alone.
Talk to your elders, question their speeches
The current racist, homophobic, sexist speech has become widespread in our society, somehow “liberated”. While it’s impossible to reason with a real racist, you can, on your own, talk to your loved ones. May it be by questioning your uncle who tells you he lost his jobs because of “those muslims”, or your grand-mother frightened grand-mother terrified by “those black people”, by talking to your old neighbor, … By reaching to them, by showing them that the “others” are not that terrifying, that they have much to offer, much to show. By showing them what’s really happening also with the job industry, by making them face the ongoing changes, far from the easy racist excuses.
Free your old stuffs
In our little country, we are lucky enough to have a lot of organizations that seek to help others. Most of those organizations don’t even expect you to give money, but will gladly take all those old stuffs you don’t really need. Because those old stuffs might help somebody else, who’s looking for them or don’t have the money for them.
Even easier, free your old books, drop them at a bus stop, on a bench, with a little world. A lot of people grow up without any access to books or not enough, give them a chance. From my point of view, reading helped me to open my eyes to new ideas, new habits, … So if a small book can help change someone’s mind, free them instead of letting them gather dust on an old shelve.
Burst your bubble
If you’re left-wing, right-wing, republican, liberal or whatever, we’re all guilty of living in our own bubble (willingly or not). Helped my Google, Facebook & others algorithms, we only see what we agree on, what we wanted to see (they’re not even that guilty, we asked for this, by hiding this racist uncle, unfriending this homophobic friend, …).
While it can be really hard to read someone with opposite views (and I fully understand, I can burst into flames quite quickly when triggered), it’s however possible, on our side to open up to other sources. Make this little step, add in your links, your Feedly, your Facebook feed, … some source from “the other side”. Not to agree with it, not by masochism, but to force you to see what the “other side” thinks, how they see the world, what they fear, what they hope … It’ll give you some ground to understand the others, and will avoid you too much surprise when your bubble explodes.
Hire young people / minorities
Might not be for everyone, but perhaps this idea can spread : dare to hire young people and minorities. Of course young people will make mistakes, won’t have all the experience you’re looking for, perhaps would look even too “different”, not “corporate” enough, … but young people can also bring so much to your company, by sharing another vision, by bringing his experience into domains you haven’t heard of. Reach out to minorities, cease to be afraid, to always target the same people, the same diplomas, the same schools, dare to diversify your company, differences only make you richer.
Lower your exigencies too. I live in a country with 3 official languages, it has become impossible to find a job offer that doesn’t ask, at least, to master 2 of those languages and English. Dare to break those barriers, because competences go far beyond languages, and you might miss a lot of wonderful people because they don’t speak a language you, frankly, never use in your office.
Write, share your experience
For those who like to write, share your experience. Write, join the NaNoWriMo if you need support, inspiration, … but write.
Might it be to provoke dreams, to make people thinks, or just so that someone might see himself in what you write and might understand that he’s not alone, that you lived the same thing : write. Because it’s by sharing our experiences that we’ll all evolve and go towards a greater good.
Now what ?
As I said, those ideas might sound simplistic, I don’t pretend to change our whole system, because I honestly don’t know how to do this. I force myself to try, discover new ideas, new propositions, but can’t replicate them on my own. But all those things I said before ? Those I can, those are doable. And even if they sound like small steps, even if it helps only ten people, it’s already a step in the right direction.
Because I refuse to believe that we cannot change anything, because I don’t want to give up and I deeply believe that we’ll be able to change this world. Even if at this moment we can only do that around us, even if it’s just local or human, we’ll change it. It may sound naive, but all those proposals already helped people and will help some other, so I’ll keep on going, and I won’t give up.