This time last year, I wouldn't have believed anyone if they had explained in reasonable terms what the social and political landscape of now would look like.
Our government on the run, radio silence as they continue to push through harmful legislation, picking apart the NHS before something happens to end their mandate - a rebellion, another election, a referendum on leaving the EU.
The calls for a second referendum are loud, too. I agree with them. There's a lot of facts in the open, now. A lot of the lies have been kicked into the long grass where they belong, leaving only the economic certainties that are already coming true.
You know what I wouldn't have predicted happening?
The Nazi march in Charlottesville.
I'm not so naive as to assume there aren't neonazis in the United States, or here, or in most countries. There's a lot of racism drifting about, often kicked up as a way to consolidate or fabricate political support. As a general populace becomes less bigoted and less prone to hatred, there will always be the echelons of that society that kick back and hate more.
Back in August 2016 though - I didn't think the orange wonder would win the presidentail election, and usher in his little cadre of white supremacists and general scumbags. Nor did I think that he'd appeal in such a base way to violence against those who oppose him, or this whole Alt Right thing, which as best I can tell is the "moderate Right" telling the world: yeah, we may be ultracapitalists who hate women having rights, but at least we're not antisemites and racists.
And I didn't think I would see a bunch of people claiming against all evidence that they are the superior gene pool, marching through a town, holding tiki torches and loudly proclaiming that Jews wouldn't replace them.
Even just...paying attention to the whole thing...watching how people treat each other, and how those who stand up against the Nazis get painted with a very ugly brush...
It's enough to exhaust you.
I know that is a big reason why some people just avoid politics and social issues altogether. I also know that's a privilege. I can't pretend that the current economic or political situation won't affect my life, and almost always in negative ways. I don't earn enough money to just wave off news that workers rights are being tested or that the economy is slowing down at record rates. Likewise my friends and loved ones who are any kind of minority - how can any of my people of colour ignore the fact that Herr Drumpf only gave vague lip service to opposing these Nazi assholes? Or ignore that our own government is still okay with this Nazi sympathiser coming to visit sometime in the near future?
Nonetheless. Paying attention, seeing the ugliness that human beings are capable of enacting on each other - it is draining, and I won't deny it.
On Friday I felt a deep and keen sympathy with this tear-jerking scene from The Green Mile.
Because it would be so easy...so easy for these things to not happen. Surely, it takes more effort to be an evil fuck than it does to just not. When you get home from work at the end of the day, from giving up your daylight hours to have enough paper just to make it to tomorrow with shelter and food - do you have the time or the energy to actively try and make the lives of innocent people worse?
Wouldn't it just be so much less hard, so much less taxing, to just...not?
Maybe it's just the chronic health conditions I carry around with me that makes me feel that fatigue. Maybe most people get home at the end of the day and they DO have that energy. Maybe it's just the mindset I lack - I don't feel terribly accomplished or refreshed when I get myself furious at poor people or sick people or old people or disabled people or people of colour or LGBTQA folx.
Maybe it's because the hate I have in me - and I do have hate in my heart, I'm no sinless wonder-child - is reserved for specific individuals. Bastards. Racists. Sexists. Bigots. Too busy hating on people for something they actively do, to hate people for something they are.
Because here's the thing: you can choose to not be a Nazi. You might have a deep and abiding resentment inside of you, but you're the one that chooses to walk out to a march, to buy a tiki torch and a red MAGA baseball cap and stupid cream chino pants, to chant the same things as the other Nazi scumbags. The people you loudly and angrily hate can't stop being what they are. YOU can. You're the one putting in the effort.
And then being really surprised when you get fired, or lose social privileges, which is weird. I mean, you'd expect some flashback from being a Nazi, right? Even peaceful unarmed protesters get the shit beat out of them by riot cops, and all you got was escorted around by the boys in blue. Surely your workplace suddenly remembering that they shouldn't employ members of hate groups is a thing you expected?
After all, you took the effort to not go to your little private social event. You took the effort to stand around a statue, wearing clothes imported from other countries, holding a torch made popular by an entirely different culture, and loudly brag about your supremacy, with the symbols of more than one failed government.
When I take the time to call out bullshit, I expect people to remember that and treat me as such.
Even if it would be easier if I didn't.
So yes, I am tired. I am tired of these twerps thinking it's unfair that they suffer repercussions for being racist shitlords. I am tired of people who act against these scumbags being called out and torn down because activism makes people uncomfortable.
But they aren't going to stop.
So we can't either.
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