I have a Facebook post that is in the midst of going viral. You know, like that '70s commercial for Breck shampoo, where one woman tells two friends, and they tell two friends, and next thing you know the TV screen is full-up with people telling each other about shampoo.
I have often fantasized of going viral for some of my posts around sex work, but this wasn't one of them. This was a post in which I shared my son's post about his feelings as a federal fisheries biologist at the news from his supervisors on Thursday that he was now free to talk to the media or anyone else, because the muzzle order silencing Canada's scientists that the Harper government had imposed had just been lifted.
His post made me feel warm and fuzzy, so I shared it thinking that my own Facebook friends would like a chance to feel warm and fuzzy, too. And then everything went crazy.
I knew something very strange was going on when, within the first hour of posting it, it had been shared 400 times. The left bottom corner of my screen was flickering and flickering with one notification after another of the post being shared and liked. (It kind of felt like the time I ate a piece of marijuana-butter cake and started feeling the effects within 15 minutes, which is really fast. My initial thoughts of "Hey, cool!" quickly shifted to "Oh, shit..." as the implications of where things would be going from there sunk in.)
As I write this, it's been 23 hours since I wrote the post, and it has now been shared 4,823 times. Four different media outlets have contacted me trying to track down my son. The Toronto Star even managed to find his home phone number, and never mind that even his own mother doesn't know the damn number.
What I have come to see through the popularity of that post is just how oppressed, bitter and sorrowful Canadians had become under the Harper government, and how hungry they were for optimism and hope again. I wonder if we even knew how dejected we felt until the day of the election, when even apolitical types like me felt our hearts lift at the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the Dark Lord had been vanquished and hope was possible again.
The events of the day inspired me to do another thing I'd never done: Write a letter to the prime minister. It just seemed like the right thing to do, to let him know that a simple post about a fisheries biologist being able to talk again about what he knew had struck such a chord that thousands of Canadians felt moved to share the joyful news. In its own small way, it was like the fall of our own little Berlin Wall. I could practically feel everyone running into the streets and calling from the rooftops: "The scientists are unmuzzled! We're free! We're free!" If I were the prime minister, I would want to know that something my government had done had triggered such an outpouring of relief and giddy emotion.
Here's the letter I wrote. The number of shares/likes has grown exponentially since I wrote it last night; in the 20 minutes it has taken for me to write this post, in fact, the number of shares has increased to 4,967, and the likes are at 6,591. People, we were so desperate for change.
Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you, Canadians, for turning out to the polls and voting against a repressive, authoritarian, anti-democratic, fear-mongering and just plain awful government. So good to remember what hope feels like.
Hi, Mr. Prime Minister. I thought I'd share this little story from my day today as heartening evidence of just how happy Canadians are to feel the winds of change blowing across our country.
I feel like I'm in one of those post-apocalyptic movies where there's nothing but darkness and sorrow and hard times, and then right at the end of the movie there's a scene of the sun rising over a new world and it's like everything just might turn out OK. People, we must never again let our government plunge us into such a fearful, secretive, divisive state.