By Alexandra Taylor.
My week has been very interesting thus far! Went to see Newt Gingrich in Naples, Florida. My, oh, my! The hatred spewed to us was unlike anything I've ever seen or experienced. A man put his hands on my friend, who happens to be a lesbian, and called her a "[expletive] dyke" and yelled very angrily at her. For picketing. Simply picketing. I was so upset! Some woman called me a bad name as well and told me to go to hell. I'm there sort of activist who doesn't believe in yelling angrily or retalaliating with name calling, as then it discredits the message we are trying to get across to raise awareness about global economic injustice and to keep it on the agenda, as well as making me no better than those who spew the hatred in the first place. But I just smiled back at the woman, and she told me to eff off. Unreal. And some of the other picketers were minorities, and they got called all sorts of racist names! I couldn't believe it. Silly me didn't do the research about Naples beforehand, and I had no idea it was as affulent as it was. It was truly walking into the belly of the beast! An experience that moved me profoundly, truly. I had no idea that it would have the effect on me that it did. My friend who was called a "dyke" recently came back from a trip to Vancouver and is absolutely dying to go back, and to live there, because it's so free from the hate and physical violence that she experienced. And that wasn't the first time she's ever been called nasty names because of her sexual orientation. We became friends on Facebook a few months ago before meeting at one of the protests down here for the first time, and what initially caused us to be friends was the fact that she knew who Jack Layton was and loved him, and knew all about the NDP. We hung out last night in Fort Myers with another friend of ours and we taught him all about Jack Layton as well. And I gave them both Jack pins that I bought at the BC convention in December with the famous "love is better than anger, hope is better than fear" quote. They were both very excited for me that I was going to the convention!
I'm so glad that the Paul Dewar day is shaping up well. I was telling my mom just yesterday about how much he impressed me when I met him and how great his position was on the whole Palestinian state question that I asked him. He believes in honouring their territory as a state, which I think is a great thing, because it would hopefully be one step in the long journey toward peace in the middle east. My mom approved greatly of his response when I told her. He's a great candidate, and very much of the same type of social democratic mold as Jack -- I have been concerned ever since Jack died that the party would become infiltrated by people who wanted to change what the party was all about -- ie. changing the message that no one should be left behind in a fair and balanced Canada. Dewar gives me hope that the party will move forward and honour Jack's dream.