Friday, 2 December 2016

Second Thoughts

Ah, one month ago was a simpler, more innocent time, wasn’t it?  The total destruction of the human species was more of a theoretical, potential problem.  Instead of something we are racing toward, either gleefully or with an air of defeated resignation, depending on political inclination. 
Anyway, whether you are experiencing the giddy thrill of “change”, wistfully staring out of the window, thinking about the freedoms you hitherto took for granted, or shouting at traffic in a doomed attempt to be heard, I have been busy revising my reaction to the political events of this year.  Once again, in the form of tweets, and headlines for news articles that (with any luck) will never be written….

President-Elect Does Not Actually Exist
Winning candidate revealed as satirical character
White people “still the absolute worst”, says rest of world
Ignorance still considered acceptable excuse for hate
Black people asked to understand white anger. Again.
Black people expected to integrate with those who hate them. Again.
People of colour asked to get over racism; white people indulged in their racism
White people still not over slavery – or telling black people to get over slavery
Racism no longer bad for business
Markets find insane bigotry acceptable
Republicans unsure if they hate themselves or everyone else more
Bullshit posturing not actual policy, admits posturing bullshitter
Everyone hoping big fat liar really is a big fat liar
Same old white anger considered to be new, for some reason
TV News now the quickest way to mental illness
Facts now entirely subservient to entertainment
Working class people deemed too stupid to understand racism or know better
Difference still a threat, says herd
Fundamentalist Christians still utterly insufferable
Democratic Party still utterly shit; Republican party still utterly evil; Two party system still firmly in place
Voters in democratic country vote against two-party system; renegade “outsider” wins; two-party system still in place
White liberal democratic voters blame white liberal democratic voters for everything that’s wrong with white illiberal republican voters
Liberals to blame for making poor people racist
Liberals opposed to bigotry and ignorance hate idiot rednecks
Countdown to Armageddon begins
Leonard Cohen ahead of the curve again
Turns out there’s nothing you can’t buy
Racist genie will not fit back into bottle
Fact now opinion; opinion now fact, linguists confirm
Opponents of Political Correctness have no idea what it is
It’s “political correctness gone mad” gone mad
Brilliant art about oppression expected in the next five years

….and also in the form of Facebook posts I will never post….

I was scared about the impending end of the human race.  And then I saw an advert for a programme on Channel 4 called The Body Fixers.  And I thought: yeah, time to go…

However bad things are for white people, they are always worse for everyone else.  So, if things are shit for the white people who just threw a fucking massive grenade into the Oval Office, they will be a lot worse for the people nearest the explosion.  You know the ones, the President elect has been talking about them…

The tiny number of amoral sociopaths who run the world don’t care about race, and never really have.  It was a concept invented and pushed in the service of the even tinier number of amoral sociopaths who ran things centuries ago, to divide the rest of us and keep us suspicious of each other.  The saddest thing isn’t that they still try it, or even that they still run things.  The saddest thing of all is that it still works on us.

These are the first shots in a civil war; but it’s not between black people and white people, or white people and immigrants or whatever.  It’s between white people and white people, and it’s easy to see it from the outside as a war between white people who are cool with change and don’t care much about race and white people who have not done well out of change and are angry about it, and prone to scapegoat and to wondering why they are not running everything even though they always felt like they did and now they don’t and who’s to blame?  The people now calling them racist, probably…so, sort of similar to the first civil war the US had.

What the fuck is the Establishment, if a famous white male US billionaire, born into wealth, is not part of it?  Arent we all bored of people sharing articles and saying This Explains Everything or whatever…?  Well, anyway, this explains everything pretty well.  Oh, also this.

I’ve started work on a film script.  It’s high drama, based in the White House, November 2016….

US PRESIDENT OBAMA has just made a measured and conciliatory speech about the transition of power, from the White house lawn.  He strides back into the Oval Office.
His daughter, MALIA, follows
But Daddy, how can you be so calm when that crazy fool just won the election?!  HOW, DADDY?
I HAVE TO!  Don’t you understand?!  I’m the fucking President!  (calming down a little)  Malia, please understand, I am hurting.  But if I go crazy now, it gives everybody else a reason – an excuse – to go crazy.  I’m holding our people tight, because if I don’t, who will?
But Daddy, I’m frightened
I know, Baby.  [Sighing]  Me too.  [He hugs her] Me too.
Will he really do all those terrible things he said?
I don’t know.  We can still stop them, but we have to keep up the hard work.  And we have to keep our heads, OK?
Daddy, how come black folks always have to calm down and be reasonable while white folks go crazy and say whatever horrible lies they want and we just have to keep being calm and put up with it?  And then we have to keep begging them to accept us, to not blame us for everything that goes wrong?  How is that fair?
It’s not fair, Baby.  But we don’t have to put up with it.  We really don’t.  But you remember when we spoke about Dr King, don’t you?
So, we have to be better because we’re trying to make everyone better.  And if we lose our heads and give in to panic, to fear, to anger….that doesn’t happen, because we’re not modelling a better way to live.
I guess…
[There is a knock on the door]
I’m sorry, Sweetie, I gotta go.

My US friends! I know that language is creative, and we need to use it wisely, cognizant of its effects…..but this President-elect dude sounds like a prize cunt. Sometimes you gotta say it how it is; I understand this is popular at the moment, so I’m on trend, as ever. (Although, of course, in the political sense, “telling it like it is” actually amounts to attacking minorities and appealing to the lowest common denominator. Which is obviously not “like it is” – thanks to the attitude of inclusivity and peace that some of us have always espoused. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak plainly when we need to.)
Enough negativity! There are herons in Eastville Park, bruv – herons, I swear. And moorhens, and ducks, and some big turkey-looking things, and all sorts. In Eastville Park, mind!  This is what I see on my morning bike ride….and I am sure you can see the beauty around you.
Stay bright in the dark, where the light is needed – and can be easily seen.
None of this is new: the people who run the economy in their own narrow interests have been fucking us over forever, and are now very happy to use our traditional, mostly meaningless, cultural divisions to make sure we fight each other for the scraps off their table.  It’s easy to feel like we are moving backwards, since we are having to repeat simple truths on an argument we may have (naively) believed was won in the last decades.  Things like “migration is not a crime”, or “race is a construct”, or “division is a tool to rule everyone”. 
But the people who do all this dividing do it because they are scared of us.  They know how powerful we are, and how easily many of us can be distracted.  Suddenly, instead of organising to make a better life for all, we are back behind barricades, and trying to convince others that their prejudice doesn’t help them.  And doing it at the barrel of a gun. 
Human progress is not a straight line to a goal, things often turn in cycles; but the Brexit vote, the Trump vote, these could be the last dying embers of some fears over inevitable change.  The fear/anger-inducing change is not all good, so some push back is understandable, but it cannot last.
The good news is the bad news is the good news is the same news as always: What happens next is up to us.

Hold tight.

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