There is so much that I feel tempted to write about this morning, but I hope this post reflects a little of what is going on in the world these days.
On Sunday, I posted what follows on my Facebook page. It was something I wasn't especially keen to do, as the post makes clear, but I felt it important to make it 'public' as a means of giving me additional commitment to take an action that entails a personal cost. I hope you like it, and after you read it you might want to read this article which, rather serendipitously, appeared online last night.
Here Is My Pledge
It is coming up to a year since my son took us to Southern California. It was a trip of a lifetime for me, given that I have had a lifelong obsession with the state but somehow never managed to visit before. With its philosophical and environmental orientations, California continues to exert a very strong pull on my heart and in my imagination and, to be honest, I had hoped to make another visit sometime this year.
But as the saying goes, “Man plans and God laughs.” I have come to the difficult conclusion that I cannot in good conscience lend any legitimacy to the current American president and his racist, divisive and hate-filled policies by visiting and spending tourist dollars in his country. The final catalyst for this painful decision was the executive order forbidding citizens and dual-citizenship holders from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from travelling to the United Sates, a thinly-disguised attack on 218 million predominately Muslim people. If such vast numbers are to be excluded, who am I to simply ignore this fact, pretend I have no moral responsibility here, and merily indulge my own wants and travel inclinations.
It is easy to sign petitions and to write tweets saying that one stands with Muslims, but I have concluded it is time to put, if you will forgive the colloquialism, my money where my mouth is.
Why am I posting this? Contrary to what some might think, it is not to hold myself up as some kind of exemplar of rectitude and principle; rather, in all candour, it is to keep me strong in this undertaking, because if I break this pledge, everyone will be quite justified in dismissing me as a hypocrite who cannot be taken seriously. Because I do not believe in miracles, I assume that things are only going to get worse under the crazed administration of Donald Trump, so I also assume that my self-imposed travel ban will be for at least the next four years.
UPDATE: I see that writer Linwood Barclay has made a difficult decision to cancel his U.S. book tour:
I have no illusions about what the impact of my withdrawal will be. I don’t imagine Steve Bannon will say, “Whoa, Barclay’s not coming, we better rethink this.” As one Twitter follower said to me, “Your call, but we’ll get along fine without you.” I’ve no doubt. But this really wasn’t about trying to send a message. I just have to be able to look myself in the mirror.We each must take the measures we most deem fit in these extraordinary times.