politics

we’ve found a handbasket

So, uh.

Blogging lately has felt like screaming into a soundproof box.

I’m not going to pretend I’m not discouraged. I am. I’m frightened. I’ve had on average a panic attack a week since Trump was crowned presumptive nominee. I can’t remember the last time I slept well. And I cannot shake this implacable, immovable sense of rage, especially since Brexit happened. Not like, go-buy-a-gun rage – I grew up in Michigan, with decidedly citified and intellectual parents who taught me to talk out and rationalize problems and regarded hunting for sport as barbaric – but that sick, sad sense of rage where you know someone you love is going to do something unutterably stupid and you can’t stop them.

That kind of impotent rage is the absolute worst – and yes, I’m aware that many Trump supporters have admitted to feeling a similar emotion. But there’s a very big difference between yearning for an idealized, imaginary, whitewashed version of a country that has never been great (no country ever has), and seeing human beings happily and willfully vote against states of affairs that help all people instead of just a few. Ignorance is en vogue. Facts are annoyances. It’s a terrifying world for a person who is ruled by how things are, even if I would like them to be different. Reality should never be optional. Education should never be an afterthought.

And yet. From the Washington Post’s twitter – the searches for “what is the e.u.” on google almost tripled in the hours after the damned polls had closed. Pundits blithely say things like “The British people are tired of experts.”

The absolute entitled nature of this entire episode is mindboggling. And yet I want to be livid, but I just can’t. I’m just too tired. I’m too used to utter human stupidity and ignorance and childishness. For the love of G-d. I’m an autistic female Jew. How did I ever trust anyone in the first place? How did I have years where I genuinely believed the world was a good or fair place?

One thing, if nothing else, that I want my readers, all twelve of you, to take into account. Opinions do not happen in a vacuum. Quite the opposite; in this day and age, they happen in technicolor, on several platforms at once. And yet people still have the unmitigated gall to say that it’s “just an opinion” and it “doesn’t do anything.”

Yes, goddamn it! It does!

Why do you think so many nations try to regulate free speech and the press? Because opinions have power, and to assume that yours doesn’t is another act of absurdity in the long history of human madness.

I’m not trying to regulate thought. But on Christ’s mercy or whoever you believe in, are we such a simplistic species that we can’t tell when an opinion is, if not factually wrong, morally bankrupt? Is it somehow outrageous to tell people are allowed to think what they want, but to take hate and ignorance and unapologetic bigotry and try to make it institutional policy is unacceptable? Is it such a novel concept that people fleeing wars whose seeds were planted by Western imperialism deserve help and succor from Westerners? Are we humans such worthless scum that we are able to delude ourselves into thinking that screwing up the world’s economy because of some half-mumbled empty lies about “being our own country” – or in the U.S. case, “making our country great again” – is totally fine, and there will be no repercussions?

The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, we are. And a lot of people are going to die because of it. And apparently that suits a lot of people just fine.

I’d like out of this handbasket, please. But right now I have to admit that I’m too frightened and heartsick to chew my way out myself.

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