||[Dec. 23rd, 2016|04:26 pm]
A politics summary of 2016, and looking ahead to 2017.
Just think: somewhere in an alternate universe the Remain vote won, the UK government isn't playing with actual fascism, the US government isn't made of actual white supremacists, and climate change deniers, and Dominionist Christians, and a military adviser who wrote a book saying he hates all Muslims, Trident and Heathrow didn't get approved, they're not talking about making Farage a Lord and Trump wasn't Time's Person of the Year, the Dakota pipeline company aren't claiming they'll go ahead anyway, the Tories didn't punish the Disabled to the point that the UN had to get involved, the Prime Minister didn't want to make companies list foreign workers to 'shame' them, and Obama isn't handing over the Presidency to an unqualified compulsive-liar narcissist backed by the KKK.
On the plus side, we no longer need to be polite. We're in post-truth, actual-fascist, grab 'em by the pussy land now, and the exhausting task of using logic or reality to appeal to these assholes can be put aside in favour of fighting and resisting. 2017 is going to be hard work, but I'm actually optimistic. Not about what will happen of course, that's going to be horrific, which is why so many of us were taken by surprise: of COURSE Trump wouldn't be elected, his lies and angry attacks were part of the old world falling away powerless because everyone knows he and his followers were finished a decade ago. They're in the dictionary under "Always wrong", we learnt that from the age of 4 onwards, they're the group you patriotically fight *against*, always. Except now, they're not. Now he, and the Brexit fanatics and UKIP psychos and "you're unpatriotic if you disagree with us / all Remain MPs should resign" Conservative wankers and the many hard-right parties in Europe are all increasingly the mainstream, and they've got big support. 2017 is not going to be a sudden relief after 2016, it's going to be a fight against people who are already full of hate and willing to use governmental power to cause harm. They can be resisted, it just takes stamina. At least we don't have to smile at them anymore.
And at least we can be absolutely sure which side we're on. Nothing is grey in 2017. Our enemies are those who said "My anger is more important than your safety." Which is the same as saying "My anger is more important than morality". "Obviously a guy who grabs women and calls Mexicans rapists and wants to put Muslims on a register is BAD, but I'm angry at being ignored right now, so nothing else matters". If you're open to having morals anytime except when you're angry, then you have no morals at any time. And sure, if it was about your family's survival, then that'd be a good enough reason - except it wasn't about that. Trump voters were more rich than not. Nobody in the UK is in poverty because of the EU: the places with the most immigrants are the most tolerant of them. Places like Sunderland voted strongly to Leave, and are now just as strongly for Staying once they worked out that they benefit massively from the EU. This was a *choice* for the vast majority of voters, not survival. And that means we can be energised.
Eva Wiseman on being in a Facebook bubble of liberals: "They say our problem is that we choose only to listen to voices that validate our own. Their answer seems to be "befriend the people who call you a ‘libtard kike’."
Well, I've been outside my lefty liberal bubble, quite often. It stinks as badly as it did in 2000-2008 when I was still naive enough to constantly try to engage and persuade. Don't doubt yourselves: you're just dead right when it comes to this. The voters you oppose, even if they had no hatred in their heart, had at least enough indifference to the suffering of others to have declared it an acceptable price for someone else to pay.
In 2017, politics moves from being a niche interest into being everyone's daily business. You can't look ahead to what the New Year could bring without including politics, because it's about to get inside your personal life like never before. It's already starting - news outlets are looking for "Pro-Trump journalists" to give 50% of the airtime to (they can't find any right now, so they have to go out looking). When you do that, extreme views become more normal because you hear them every day and it seems like they should be given 50% of the consideration. We need to make sure that this, and many other things, don't change what we think is right in the next 12 months.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the New Yorker: "Now is the time to resist the slightest extension in the boundaries of what is right and just."
You have a lot of allies in 2017, and a job to do. Our opponents are Nazis, racists, and those who are willing to give them any power. Corporations wanting fewer safety regs and lower wages who don't hesitate to provoke working class hatred of immigrants to get them. Climate change deniers and oil company heads hired by someone who thinks that if you've already grotesquely exploited people for money then that's exactly what qualifies you to lead. The rise of the far Right all over Europe, and the UK, and the US. So let's do this. We get the stuff of childhood fiction tales we never thought we'd be able to equal: we get to fight Fascists.
2017 will probably try some shit, but we're good and ready now. There was one day last week when three different friends came up to me and said "your Facebook politics posts are keeping me sane". I write these because therapeutic ranting is what the internet is *for*, and they help me too. The near future will doubtless contain more fuel, but this time we have half a country on our side and the energy that comes from no longer needing to doubt where the line is. Look on this as an opportunity: the disgusting attitudes which have come into our view in 2016 didn't grow quickly from nothing, they were always there and we just pulled back the curtain to see them. It's BETTER to see them, and know what and where to resist.
We have the chance to influence the kind of society we want to live in. We can oppose those who would harm others, who see division instead of humanity, and the rubbish of 2016 just means there is a new-found urgency to get involved and make change happen. It's not depressing, it's invigorating. Alright 2017, let's go.