Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Drumpf

I sat down at my computer and sighed. I debated with myself whether to write this thing at all. We’ve all heard so much of it already and are sick to the back teeth, and things don’t look like they’re going to change in at least four years, despite optimistic predictions of impeachment, or trial, or the ‘second amendment people’ doing their thing. If this started as a joke, it’s ended as a coughing fit that’s bringing up blood.
I’m tired of it, you see. Tired of having to explain to people how, yes, associating with a racist doesn’t necessarily make you a racist, but it makes you something. Of how blindingly obvious it seems to me that a man who mocks disabled people is not a man who deserves any position of power. I’m tired of pointing out horrors and having them explained away, of misogyny being downplayed or overlooked, of idiocy and the language of fear triumphing.
I can understand it, of course. The failure of successive governments to address economic and societal woes, the ease with which the media are permitted to promote biased and blatantly untrue stories, the fear of the different which is at the core of so much of human action. But still, how a woman votes for a man whose tag line is ‘grab them by the pussy’ is beyond me. How a minority votes for a man who openly categorises them as criminal, or who is supported by the KKK and refuses to renounce such support, is beyond me. How a working class man votes for a man whose entire empire is built on the trampling of the working class is beyond me.
Perhaps I’m tired of democracy, of populations who’d rather believe in magical ways out than search for real solutions, tired of the easy targets of race and immigration being used as political hot buttons time and again. Maybe we should make it mandatory for factual information on key issues to be presented before any vote; maybe we should improve our education before the lack of it kills us.
But it isn’t going to end any time soon. Like I said, four more years, and also the slow drag of Uncertainty in the UK, our new banner. The rise of the far right in Europe. It’s draining, it’s terrifying.
And if that weren’t enough, we have a man who refuses to accept climate change, in a position where he is able to make important decisions about the future of our planet. Without exaggeration, humans face a problem beyond anything we have ever faced, and sound policy and technological advancement are the only ways to effectively address it. If we get it wrong, we’re doomed. As in, literally facing extinction. And it seems we may be about to get it very wrong. But as long as the economy is fine, who cares, right? As long as I don’t have to worry about foreigners coming to my country and taking all my jobs and women.
(An amusing aside is the way the historical parallels are conveniently ignored. Sure, the US was once invaded by people with far more nefarious intentions than any refugee fleeing shells and starvation, but that was all two hundred years ago. Now, the land belongs to the people who stole it fair and square.)
But it’s at times like these that it’s worth thinking of what we can do. President Obama, perhaps my all-time favourite politician, is a man of great eloquence and optimism. Emerging from his tenure into what must follow is like the journey from summer to winter. Even in the face of what we’ve seen throughout 2016, I know he urges us not to give up. Because if we give up, then we are truly doomed. There are fights to be fought, and there are millions of good people still willing to do the right thing.
Of course, flowery rhetoric means nothing. And all the blogs in the world won’t change much, especially not from this side of the Atlantic. I honestly don’t know what the point this blog is, except to say that I need to regroup, remind myself that not everyone is an idiot and that not everything is shit. Not all countries are ruled by demagogues shouting slogans and waving talismans. And really just keep hope alive. All is not lost. At least, not yet.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity