Sorry, this blog has been a bit death-y recently, what with the recent and sudden death of two people I knew as well as a fatal light aircraft crash infront of a crowd in the capital city on a national public holiday.
A couple of decades ago, I came in from Saturday shopping to an awful message on my answering machine (because, kids, no one had mobiles in those days) from a colleague who had just learnt that someone we worked with had been involved in a freak car accident which has resulted in the death of his wife and one of his children.
It was on the news that night. Road fatalities still make the local news in Western Australia and it was not different then, especially as the accident had been caused by him swerving to avoid a golf ball, hitting sand at the edge of the road and then over-correcting and being struck by a car coming towards him and then by one which had been travelling behind.
I watched the news segment of TV, and then because I had taped it, (yes, there were VCRs in those days, kids) kept watching the clip. I do not know why, I think I was trying to make sense of it – as if a 90 second summary of a tragedy was going to do that. When I spoke about it to a friend, she gave me a great piece of advice: stop watching.
For the last couple of days, it has been humid. There is a cyclone somewhere and it is making the air as thick as soup. I went to bed early but was awake at 3.30 am, at first I thought temporarily. I made the mistake of checking Twitter.
It was kicking off in the US, over the executive order that had been signed by the new President which suspended certain refugees from entering the US for 90 days and specifically other refugees from entering indefinitely. It also prevented entry to people from a list of countries, even if they had been granted permanent resident status.
I am not about to comment on the ideology of the decision which drove this EO, which is for US voters to debate and discuss, because there is a lot of online comment already. It did seem, though, given that around at least 660,000 people are airborne at anyone time to have been an extraordinary thing to have done with little warning.
The result, which provoked demonstrations at airports and inspiring images of lawyers (whoever thought that would ever appear in a sentence) setting up temporary offices and volunteering their time to assist those who had been unwittingly caught up in the middle of all this, being detained on arrival.
And I stayed up, watching it all explode on social media. Watching while concern over the amount of power an unelected man now has, in the shape of Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council, raised concerns. Watching as lawyers managed to get a stay on the importation ban and wondering how in the hell a group of people running the country could sign off on something with no operational plan in place – oh wait, I’d forgotten about Brexit.
And I have been watching it all day. I tried to be good and just watch The West Wing instead, but it has been almost impossible today. And I know that Twitter is an echo chamber and I know I was hoping that bureaucracy would ensure a smooth transition.
But right now, I am not so sure.