Sunday Sermon: Maybe It’s Not You

I spend a fair amount of time reading articles, blog posts, and email newsletters full of expert tips, advice, feel-good material, and any number of other kinds of material. Today, I read an article about fitness — which really isn’t my favorite topic — and one paragraph in particular really stuck with me, and I decided to share it here.

Women are conditioned blame themselves all the time, because everyone blames us—literally us, and not difficult scenarios—at every opportunity. I’m here to say to you—no. The path for anything is not straight and you will not always get it right the first time. Expect difficulties, expect setbacks, expect to have to look at everything with clear eyes and realize it is both possible for things to not be going smoothly *and* for that to not reflect on you as a person.

For me, that take-aways are:

  1. Sometimes things are difficult.
  2. Not winning or not succeeding in a task or moment does not mean you suck.
  3. You’re not the sum of things you didn’t do perfectly.

Keep trying. Get better. Celebrate success on your own terms. You deserve all of that.

Video: Women & Sex

The Women & Sex panel — part of Equality Bahamas’ Women’s Wednesdays series — centered women’s health, focusing on care for the body, negotiating use of contraception, the definition and practice of consent, and ways to talk to young people about sex

Panelists:

Glevina McKenzie, Volunteer Sex Ed Instructor

Nurse Tamara Donaldson, HIV/AIDS Center

For more information on the Women’s Wednesdays event series, like Equality Bahamas on Facebook.

You Got It, You Got It Bad

It being misogyny. And/or fatphobia.

 

I’ve been paying attention to the public dialogue about charges brought against Usher for knowingly exposing women to at least one STD — herpes — without disclosing. This is vile, manipulative, and an abuse of power. It’s disappointing to see where people have put their focus. Most comments I’ve seen are either about the stupidity of the women who they presume engaged in unprotected sexual activity with Usher, or the incredulity about Usher engaging in sexual activity with a fat women. Which one pisses me off more? I really don’t know. Overall, I’m outraged by the continued scapegoating of women, even in a situation where a man is clearly at fault.
I’ve commented on a few threads about this story, and decided this morning that I would pull out the key pieces to share here, both because I am tired of talking to people who don’t actually want to listen, learn, or admit to their fuckups, and because it’s important to document these ideas and positions since, unfortunately, the same things come up over and over again. I definitely plan to drop the link to this post in comments all over Facebook and walk away, refusing to do any more free labor.

 

Here are nine points that kept coming up:
  1. Fat women have sex. Maybe someone told you fat women are unattractive, asexual, or undesirable, but you should cut that liar all the way off.
  2.  Casual sex is a thing. It’s fine. Don’t like? Don’t have it.
  3. Exposure to STDs is not limited to penetration.
  4. Comprehensive sexual education has NOT been made available to everyone, and access to health care resources and services is not universal. Judging people with limited or no access is indicative of cognitive dissonance. Or a character flaw.
  5. Shaming and blaming are counterproductive activities if you have the least bit of interest in improving sex ed and/or access to services and resources. It’s really good for feeding your superiority complex and reducing the likelihood of your friends and family members coming to you if they need help though, so there’s that.
  6. We are all suffering the effects of the abstinence-only “education” peddled for decades. Similarly, we continue to suffer the effects of the monogamy-only rhetoric. Learned early enough, these ideas take root, shaping negative narratives around anything different and, if you’re not careful, result in closed-minded judgmental positions you are opposed to shifting, even in the face of new information and/or different contexts. This inflexibility is not a strength.
  7. There’s inequality in access to contraception. Ever seen condoms in a pharmacy, gas station, or grocery store? Ever seen dental dams in any of those places?
  8. The likelihood that you have, whether knowingly or unknowingly, put yourself at risk of contracting STDs is pretty high. Blow job without protection? Yeah, that’s one. Kissing people without seeing results of their sexual health screenings? Another one. (Hello, herpes!)
  9. There is a power dynamic too many people love to ignore. It exists between men and women. Employer and employee. Parent and child. Priest and parishioner. Celebrity and fan. 40-year-old and 20-year-old. That power dynamic affects engagement.
 
We have a long way to go. If you’re not running the marathon with the people doing this work, it’d be nice if you’d at least work a water station. If you’re not going to help at all, it’d be appreciated if you don’t get on the route to elbow or trip those of us pushing to get to next mile marker. Your judgment and lack of information/understanding/global context is not helping anyone get the resources and services they need, and is definitely contributing to the shame that keeps people from actively searching and asking for what they need. Get out of the way.

 

 

Edit to add: I’ve seen reported that Usher does not have herpes and plans to sue for defamation. While that may be the case, all I have said stands as it is a direct response to the commentary around the accusation rather than the accusation itself.

 
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Video: Sexuality and Online Harassment

The Sexuality and Online Harassment panel — part of Equality Bahamas’ Women’s Wednesdays series — centered the woman’s body and explored ideas of access, presentation, expectations, and vulnerability.

Panelists:
Erin Green, LGBT+ Advocate
Jodi Minnis, Interdisciplinary Artist
Tamika Galanis, Artist-Scholar
Princess Pratt, Storyteller

For more information on the Women’s Wednesdays event series, like Equality Bahamas on Facebook.

Women’s Wednesdays: Sexuality and Online Harassment

Join Equality Bahamas and National Art Gallery of The Bahamas tonight for our third Women’s Wednesdays event.

The Sexuality and Online Harassment panel centers the woman’s body and explores ideas of access, presentation, expectations, and vulnerability. Questions framing the conversation include:

-What is sexuality?
-Who owns and controls the woman’s body?
-How does the state support/impede bodily autonomy?
-What have we learned, and what do we need to unlearn, about our bodies and sexuality?
-What is harassment? Who is at risk of harassment?
-What is our responsibility in protecting ourselves and each other from sexual violence?

Our Sexuality and Online Harassment panelists are:
Jodi Minnis, Multidisciplinary Artist
Princess Pratt, Storyteller
Erin Greene, LGBT+ Advocate
Tamika Galanis, Artist-Scholar

Culture Clash: Tackling The Abuse Of Online Harassment

Published in Culture Clash — a biweekly column in The Tribune — on July 12, 2017

“Talkin’ to people bad” is the Bahamian way. That’s what they want us to believe. We play into the narrative that to be Bahamian is to be abrasive, rude, and condescending without second thought, apology, or recompense. We imagine that adulthood gives us the right to say and do as we wish with no consideration to the impact we have on other people. A “Christian nation,” we spin, bend, and reshape scripture until it tells us what we want to hear. We convince ourselves that it is our job to give people what they deserve. We cut their skin, we hit their car, we vote them out, we embarrass them on Facebook. In our minds, there is justification for this. There is righteousness in this. Vengeance is ours. We are doing The Lord’s work. Right?

Online harassment is seldom discussed as it is generally viewed as a minor issue, its impact ignored and trivialised by most. Taking various forms, online harassment is a growing beast, used to disempower, embarrass, and defame people. When discussed, whether it affects a celebrity or a community member, too much attention is put on the personality, politeness, and profession of the victim. Many are quick to search for reasons to justify the attack and blame the victim for the harassment they experience and its subsequent effects.

Most recently, Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian have entered the headlines, dominating online conversations for days after Rob posted nude photos of her on Instagram. Public dialogue centred around Blac Chyna’s career as a stripper, perceptions about her reason for being in a relationship with Rob, and the amount of money Rob spent on her. It is telling that people are more interested in excusing Rob’s behaviour, using Blac Chyna’s behaviour to somehow cancel out Rob’s, or painting Blac Chyna as the villain in this situation than seeing online harassment for what it is — abuse.

As a human being, Blac Chyna — like all women and all adults — has bodily autonomy. This means she can strip. This means she can be a sex worker. This means she can take photos and videos of herself in all states of dress. This means she can share those photos and videos with people of her own choosing. These are her rights. You, too, can do all of these things. Maybe you do. You may even do one or more of these things without realising it. None of these things makes Blac Chyna (or you) deserving of online harassment.

Rob’s Instagram post was revenge porn — the nonconsensual sharing of sexually explicit images by a former sexual partner for the purpose of embarrassment. It was the distribution of images Blac Chyna did not intend for public consumption. Using her work history as justification of Rob’s actions is both ridiculous and counterintuitive. If Blac Chyna’s body and the ways she provides access to it is a means of income-generation, why are Rob’s actions not recognised as theft? Why would he not be sued for loss of potential income? This happens in cases of copyright infringement and intellectual property disputes, so why not with the body? In any case, the act is classified as revenge porn.

Revenge porn — a form of abuse — is illegal in California, and Blac Chyna has since been granted a restraining order. Instagram responded by suspending his account. These two consequences are a validation of the real impact of revenge porn and other forms of online harassment.

We need to understand online harassment as abuse, a crime, and the cause of emotional distress and, potentially, professional ruin, for those experiencing it. We have to be able to separate personality from the details of criminal acts.

When we start to respect people’s bodily autonomy, we may finally be able to talk to our children about consent. We may be able to help young people recognise early signs of abusive relationships, and create an environment where they can report incidents without fear of being blamed or ridiculed. When we are able to see sexual violence as a spectrum, from harassment to rape, we may be able to address it at multiple levels — not just enforcing punishment, but implementing effective preventative measures.

Online harassment has many faces. It is not always sexual in nature. It can seem innocuous at the start, and build to become a scary, damaging, embarrassing experience. At a time when so much of our national dialogue lives on social media, it is important that we are considerate in our communication with others, especially those we do not know personally.

Divergent points of view should not lead us to participate in hate speech, threaten, or defame others. There are ways to disagree respectfully without losing “stripes” or the argument. Even more, there is a responsibility to intervene when we witness online harassment. The intervention may not be of the Sermon on the Mount variety, but should be a visible form of support for the person being attacked, and a clear message to the attacker that their behaviour is being monitored and is condoned or welcomed in the space.

If you see someone sharing sexually explicit images or videos without consent of the people depicted, report it to the platform and to the Royal Bahamas Police Force Cyber Crime Unit. If you know the person, take the opportunity to tell them to delete the post because it is a form of abuse and a crime, and there is no excuse for it. If you see other forms of online harassment, say something to the harasser.

The experience of online harassment is compounded when people standby in silence, failing to rebuke the asinine behaviour of the harassers. There are many ways to intervene. You can be direct and speak to the harassers on the post, in their inbox, or in person. You could also ask someone with a better relationship to the harassers to address the issue. If you are not comfortable with any of these options, check in with the person experiencing harassment. Knowing someone sees it, knows it’s wrong, and supports you makes a big difference.

Culture Clash: The Flexibility of Activism

Published in Culture Clash — a biweekly column in The Tribune — on June 28, 2017

As social justice issues become more mainstream, the number of activists, advocates, and allies is steadily increasing. People are more involved in conversations about gender, race, class, migration, and a variety of other issues with social media as a go-to resource for a broad range of news and commentary.

Access to information, opinions, and public action is at our fingertips; we can immediately respond to and participate in them. By becoming vocal, visible, and active, people feel more connected to existing movements, and see themselves as activists. Recently, there has been debate about who can call themselves an activist, and how the title is earned. Activism is more than social media posts and profile picture ribbons, but is it productive to discount the efforts of people trying to make a difference in whatever ways, however small, they can?

The work of activists is not trite, easy, or passive. Risks are assumed, positions are clear, and actions are taken. We all know activists are often demonised and ostracised because of their methods of participation and the challenge we bring to old ways of thinking and being. We are often painted as extremists — dangerous and unreasonable people.

In recent years, we’ve seen changes in this dynamic with people taking centre stage, refusing to be sidelined. In many cases, activists have created the agenda and an environment where the option to ignore or refuse to participate does not exist. Leading dialogues and taking control of both narratives and outcomes have always been critical, and the possibilities have increased along with appreciation for the work, and more people want to be a part of it.

Measuring and Validating Activism

While some take offence when others use “activist” to describe themselves, having a narrow view of what it means to embody the term, activism today takes many different shapes, and can be performed in a variety of ways. As people of marginalised communities fighting against oppression and actively disputing ideas of the monolith, it is unreasonable to expect activists to fit a mold. It is also far from productive to alienate, rebuke, or silence people who are, at the very least, allies.

There is no official list of qualifiers to determine whether or not a person is an activist. Even if creating one, it is important that our own values and abilities are not imposed on entire communities, expecting them to measure up to attain activism status. In fact, dictionary definitions of activism prioritise political causes, giving social issues a backseat. Clearly, activism has grown beyond the definition, and as we continue to be creative and provocative in our work, activism will continue to be dynamic, ever-changing.

Before taking action, most people assess their qualifications, skills, and living situation. Do they have the knowledge to write an informative article? Do they have the charisma to deliver a speech? Can they afford to leave work to protest? With such varied points of assessment, no one can use their own activities and choices to define activism for all. It is as diverse as the people who practice it and, perhaps more importantly, the people it is meant to reach.

Traditional and Social Media Activism

In years gone by, activists were known by their public deeds, from impassioned speeches to protests and petitioning. Today, it is difficult to differentiate activists from non-activists when they claim the term in thought, word, and deed. Do all activists protest? How many times does one have to protest before becoming an activist? How can a participant in (or beneficiary of) an oppressive system be an activist?

How can we give room to people who may not protest, but are active on social media, and have conversations in groups others among us may not be able to access? Their efforts may not be public-facing, but they can answer questions in our stead. We have to be able to value work that may not look like our own, but helps to lessen the burden we carry, saving us from the emotional burnout that can come from engaging both peers and the general public.

What is the value of people on social media sharing articles, giving different perspectives, posting pictures from public events, and directing people to more information? An active social media presence is not always as easy as it may seem. Online harassment continues to be a deterrent from using platforms like Facebook. It is often the less visible and less politicised figures who are able to engage in heated debates and escape relatively unscathed. How do account for the danger activists face just by the nature of the work, and avoid discounting their efforts because of the precautions they must take?

Diversity of Movements

Movement membership and participation are important, regardless of the shape they take. Some people march while others write think pieces. Some people start petitions while others send the link to their friends lists. Some are talk show guests while others wrestle with detractors on Facebook. In movements — large and small — fighting to end injustice and restore peace, there is room for everyone. A variety of personalities, skill sets, qualifications, knowledge, and experience make for a more robust, multifaceted movement.

To reach people in other spaces, movements need people with different experiences, and members of the dominant culture are needed as allies. While people on the frontlines take the brunt of the criticism and abuse, supporters need to be ready to defend fellow activists, dispel myths, and drive conversations forward, using more traditional actions as a springboard. The truth is there is always room for more in social and political movements, the need for people power and passion never diminishing. The differences in audience and approach are strengths, only increasing reach and impact. Recognising the value in our varied approaches will enable us to better work across disciplines and areas of focus, propelling us toward the version of The Bahamas we are all working to build.

Video: Gender Equality

The Gender Equality panel kickstarted Equality Bahamas’ Women’s Wednesdays series, inviting participants to define gender equality, comment on the importance of constitutional equality, and the impact of religious institutions and leaders.

Panelists:
Alexus D’Marco, Human Rights Defender
Carol Misiewicz, Supreme Court Registrar
Natalie Willis, Cultural Practitioner

For more information on the Women’s Wednesdays event series, like Equality Bahamas on Facebook.

Culture Clash: On Cyber Crime in The Bahamas

Published in Culture Clash — a biweekly column in The Tribune — on April 19, 2017

Everyone wants to be entertained.

We pay for cable television, go to political rallies and engage in Facebook banter on hot topics for days.

Sometimes our jokes are on other people, but nothing is as disturbing as the pleasure many get from recording, watching and sharing explicit content without consent of the people involved.

Too many people prefer to make assumptions, stating them as facts, to looking critically at common behaviours and the related social ills.

There is no shortage of topics we would prefer to leave undiscussed. We are not interested in feeling uncomfortable, challenging norms or risking existing perceptions of ourselves to have necessary conversations.

No one wants to talk about sexual violence. It is not pleasant. Rape is not a safe table topic, but women are not safe from predators either. Why not? Who is to blame? How have we contributed to rape culture, ensuring that victims are blamed for violence enacted against them and made to feel shame and guilt?

Every few months, a new story makes the rounds on social media. Videos are quickly shared, exposing traumatic, humiliating moments for the entertainment of the general public. We have become voyeurs, cultivating an insatiable desire for violent content. When people are excited by images of car accidents, footage of people taking their last breaths, children being abused and women being raped, it should be an alarm. This growing obsession is a definite indicator of desensitisation to acts of violence and loss of humanity. Unfortunately, it seems this has been normalised, and few are willing to challenge it.

For the past few days, video of a rape has been circulating on social media. Not only has evidence of a crime been widely shared, but people have requested the video. They are asking contacts to share a video of a woman being raped for their entertainment and to enable them to join the troubling conversation, complete with graphic details.

Why was this video recorded? Who recorded it? Why has it been shared with anyone other than the police? Why do people want to watch it? What does it mean when people are excited by the thought of such a video?

In conversations about violence against women, the issue of relationship to the survivor is almost always raised. When men and boys fail to see the problem with various forms of sexual violence, we quickly point them in the direction of their family trees. What if this happened to your mother, sister, or daughter? What if this woman was related to you in any way? Would she be a human then? Would she deserve to be protected then? Would it still be her fault?

The same distance exists between viewers and individuals in the videos. Something keeps us from seeing people we do not know as human beings. The same deficiency renders us incapable of empathy. Entirely separate from this is the sense of moral superiority that comes with viewing such content. People like to see and position themselves as better than others. It is a pleasure to point out all the things we would have done differently to ensure a different outcome.

What did she drink? Who did she get it from? Did she ever let it out of her sight? Why did she drink it? Didn’t she notice it tasted different? Did she know these people? Couldn’t she fight back?

I wouldn’t have drunk anything. I don’t know anyone who would do that to me. I’m a better judge of character. No matter how drunk I am, I can fight back. I’m smarter. Stronger. Better.

These questions are easy to ask. These actions are easy to premeditate. Judgments are easy to make. In all of this, we centre ourselves and forget about the people who are impacted by the content shared without their consent and the unfiltered public commentary. We give no thought to the impact of our self-aggrandisement on victims of cyber crime. We rarely even think about our perception of rape.

It is easy to think of rape in narrow terms – dark alley, stranger, screams. In reality, rape is not limited to specific circumstances. It can happen day or night, inside or outside, with or without an audience. For the perpetrator, it is an exercise of power and control. When consent is not given, it is rape. Consent must be voluntary, explicit and continuous, and can only be given in sobriety and adulthood. It is never implied and is always necessary. When lack of consent or the end of consent is ignored, the act is a violation. In this most recent video, the young woman was incapable of giving consent. She was sexually violated and that has been multiplied by the cyber crime of recording and sharing the video.

Certain assumptions can be made about people who send and receive videos like the one being discussed. Sending such a video suggests the sender has reason to believe the recipient is like-minded. It implies there is nothing wrong with sharing this kind of material, and no consequences are expected. If you are in receipt of the video, it may be time to ask yourself a few questions. Who sent it to you? What is your relationship to the sender? Why would anyone feel comfortable sharing the video with you? How do you respond to people sharing this kind of content with you? Have you shared the video, or content like it? Are you a cyber criminal?

If we are not prepared to consider the impact of our actions and speech on others, to refrain from criminal activity or to correct family and friends when they commit harmful acts, are we ready for the revolution we say we want to see?

If we cannot govern ourselves or see the humanity in one another, we are not prepared for fight for democracy. Are we ready to study, debate, and decision-making on the road to May 10, 2017? Until we respect and protect the least among us, we cannot rise together for effective leadership and civic participation in our country.

We must think beyond ourselves and our personal relationships, working to understand and promote human rights for all, if we are to build a better Bahamas for Bahamians.

A Case for the Spoiled Ballot, Part II

There is a false assumption that voters must choose from the options on the ballot, whether they like them or not.

Most Bahamian voters are not able to participate in the nomination process for candidates or party leaders. A small group of people get together and carry out a closed process, then offer their selections to us. At this point, we are expected to choose between all of the candidates in our constituencies, having no comparative data, little opportunity to engage them in dialogue on pressing national issues, no indication of their capabilities in comparison with those of their opponents, and no means of recall. Votes for candidates ratified by political parties are then proxies for the election of the nation’s Prime Minister. My vote for the Member of Parliament of my choice is taken as endorsement of that candidate’s party leader. I am forced, along with all Bahamian voters, to vote for two people with one X (unless I vote for an independent candidate which strips me of my right to vote for the PM of my choice).

None of the major political parties in The Bahamas have my interest, much less my trust.

The PLP won us over in 2012 with a catchy slogan that made us feel good about ourselves, and kept us from thinking about them. They told us they believed in us, but they were never specific. They didn’t tell us they believed in our silence. Our shortsightedness. Our reluctance to rise against them. We didn’t ask them to go deeper, because we liked what we heard. We were excited about a political party that believed in us. The party gave us that Obama change-you-can-believe-in feel-good affect. The novelty wore off, and we found ourselves discounted, disrespected, and disaffected. It didn’t believe in us. It tried to scapegoat us to stay in the church’s good graces. It asked us a million-dollar question, ignored our answer, and made us foot the bill. That’s not what believing in us looks like. It flushed thousands of jobs down the toilet, left civil society to bring relief to the islands and families most affected by two devastating hurricanes, imposed a tax that severely impacts small businesses and the 12.8% of the population that lives below the poverty line. The party contributed to the failure of the gender equality bills, and refused to answer question after question. VAT money, carnival, tainted water supply, and Baha Mar are still on our minds, but deflection and distraction are always on the PLP menu. I cannot vote for the PLP.

The FNM was given ideal conditions to position itself to win the next general election. It’s unfortunate that they did not care. The performance of the Public Accounts Committee was abysmal. Their record of compliance with the Public Disclosure Act continues to be at ankle-height. The Bahamas spent the past few months watching the FNM completely fall apart, waiting for the announcement of its final bonfire. The party continues to try to convince us that its members are together, strong, and prepared for the job, but without providing any evidence. They haven’t even been able to keep their website up. The FNM fully expects to sit back, relax, and win by default, riding on the premise that we have no other choice. How could I give them my one X?

The DNA has always been a non-option for me. I simply cannot take the party seriously. It started as an inflated temper tantrum by someone who appointed himself leader. He then went on to select a group of the most random, unprepared candidates possible for the 2012 general election. Many hoped the DNA would improve and gain more support by the 2017 election, but the party has given me nothing to go on. McCartney has made a number of statements, but none of them included plans or solutions. I know people who complain, blame, and rebuke far better than McCartney, so even that does not win him any facetious titles like “expert detractor”. Worse, he believes a woman owes her husband sex, in perpetuity, from the time they take marriage vows. The DNA has been in the best possible position for the past five years — able to watch, make substantial public contributions, and build community while expanding its own base. The party has not done this, and even if it had and was comprised of the most stellar candidates, I would never vote for the DNA. I am a woman, and I intend to retain full control of my body, whether or not I take marriage vows. Anyone who can stand behind McCartney stands against me. With that line in the sand, I cannot give the DNA my X.

The number of independent candidates in the next election is encouraging. It is great to see people thinking beyond party. It is unfortunate that so many believe the only way to create change is to become a part of the system, but that is a discussion for another time and space. That aside, I believe we will see more of this in elections to come, and it could lead us to a coalition government. I have not yet met or received any word from an independent candidate in my constituency and, honestly, at this stage, I have no interest in hearing from one. It is a bit too late to look for my support in three short months. That is not a long enough time to demonstrate commitment to the community, beyond political aspirations.

Given our current electoral system, a vote for an independent would deprive me of the opportunity to weigh in on the leadership of the country. In the current political climate, it also has a high chance of splitting the opposition vote, and creating another wide margin between the winning party and the official opposition. That is a sacrifice I would consider in more depth if I had a candidate I could fully support, but having none, this is my position. While I support those who will, I will not be voting for an independent candidate in 2017.

None of the political parties in The Bahamas have made a connection with me. I do not read the statements, view the actions, or hear the rhetoric and feel any sense of conviction or shared vision with any of them. More than that, I struggle to see the difference between them. We have consistently seen one party break off from another, not on the basis of beliefs or guiding principles, but differences in personality and power struggles. This has led us to this place — a number of political parties, one not different from any other.

One would be hard-pressed to order political parties in The Bahamas from least to most conservative. It would be an exercise in futility to make any qualitative distinctions between political parties. In this moment, we have the same party, a few times over, with different names, faces, and colors. They largely operate in the same ways, (fail to) stand for the same things, refuse to change the systems they criticized when those systems begin to serve them, and treat the Bahamian people as afterthoughts. They are committed to serving themselves, keeping each other’s secrets (even across party lines), and retaining power. If there is no difference between parties, what is there to convince me to vote for one over the other(s)?

The politicians are lackluster, yes, but they are not the only problem. We have a failing system. It is this system that allows parties to receive campaign funding from anyone they choose, and without disclosing. It is this system that allows the closed process for party candidates and leaders to continue. This system allows for the drawing of new boundaries, in favor of the current administration.

Are we ready to be introduced to potential candidates and their platforms in town hall meetings? Are we ready for mandatory public debates? Are we ready for an independent electoral commission? Are we ready to cast separate votes for MP and PM?

Are we ready to reject the system that has led us to where we now find ourselves, uninspired by the options put before us? Are we ready to reject the idea that we must support one of the existing options? Are we ready to refuse to vote for anyone, by default, who has done nothing to earn it? Are we ready to kickstart a national conversation about building a system that will serve us? Are we ready to be counted as concerned citizens who will not settle (rather than discounted as apathetic if we do not participate)? Are we ready to march, together, to the polls to reject the status quo and make our demands?

We can do all of the above in two steps.

  1. Register to vote.
  2. Spoil the ballot.

Join the movement. #OutDaBox242 is on Facebook and Twitter.