At the Human Rights Campaign’s gala last Saturday night, Meryl Streep gave an inspiring speech about activism and LGBTQ and called out Donald Trump’s habit of tweeting before thinking. She said this of the current political situation in the US:
“But if we live through this precarious moment — if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter — we will have much to thank this president for. Because he will have woken us up to how fragile freedom is. His whispers have alerted us to potential flaws in the balance of power in government. To how we have relied on the good will and selflessness of most previous occupants of the Oval Office.”
Her optimism in a situation that has widely been publicised as being dire for all countries got me thinking: What good things have occurred when a proclaimed bad leader has been in power?
To explore this, I looked at when Tony Abbott, a former Australian Prime Minister who is considered one of the worst and was constantly criticised during his two year term, was in power between September 2013-2015. These are just some of the good things that happened during his term:
- Hugh Evans, an Australian humanitarian, spoke at the Global Citizen Festival in 2013, which was livestreamed to Australia, and said this:
“Australia’s new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced just two days before the election this month that his Government plans to slash Aids spending by a massive $4.5 billion dollars. These cuts are a sickening blow. A sickening blow to the families who will watch children succumb to malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhoea in Sub-Saharan Africa. […] But there is still time for this new Government to think again. Reverse course, Prime Minister.”
- Charlie Pickering stood up for Asylum Seekers and said this:
“They are human beings. And I don’t care where they come from or where they’re going, you do not treat them like that. Not on my watch and not in my country.”
- The cast of The Lion King Australia sang on a flight and warmed everyone’s heart.
- Adam Hills called out the hypocrisy of the Westboro Baptist Church and said this:
“If you really believe in standing up to those threatening the Christian way of life, Westboro Baptist Church, how about putting your money where your mouth is taking a direct flight to Iraq and picketing the people threatening to behead Christians if they don’t convert?”
- Lisa Wilkinson spoke the truth about 50 Shades of Grey in her review:
“It’s domestic violence dressed up as erotica.”
History repeats itself and humans will stand up for what they believe is right. If the person in power is threatening action against a minority, people will call them out for their wrongdoings. If the world is feeling down from all of the hate and suffering that is happening, people will find a way to bring out smiles and remind the world that there is still good and there is a chance to make more good happen. And if there is just a really, really bad movie that everyone is going to see, there will be someone to call it as it is.
I am worried about what a Trump leadership will bring. What he did in his first week as President was terrifying alone, I don’t want to imagine what he’ll do in four years. What I do know is that people will stand up for what is right. That people will say no to racism, misogyny, and homophobia. And I will be standing with them.