Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I Don't Feel So Good

[TRIGGER WARNING: EXTREME PESSIMISM, APOCALYPSE TALK]

Last night, as I was on my way to an election party at a friend's place, the anxiety hit me. What if Democrats don't even take back the house? What if it's a repeat of 2016, the polls are wrong, the Republicans have fixed all the elections, and we're about to plunge into full one-party fascism?

Obviously, that didn't happen. The polls were right. The Democrats took back the House and the Senate stayed about the same. There were a lot of great wins, including two Native American women winning House seats, one of them a lesbian. One Muslim woman who even wears a headscarf. A gay governor running the state of Kim Davis, famous homophobe. I-940 passed easily in Washington State.

But I'm still anxious.

Why? I'm not entirely sure myself. What I am sure of is that last night, after getting home, I felt dejected. I feel like even though Democrats took back the House and can impede Trump quite a bit now, in the long run, it won't matter. Even if it's likely that Democrats will also take back the Senate, things will continue generally getting worse. It seems like every other president we've had for decades is worse than the last Republican. Democrats keep agreeing to "compromise" and as a result, shift right. A real leftist party in the U.S. continues to be far out of reach. It will take massive organizing and there will be massive resistance from Democrats, who will scream and cry that said efforts are splitting the liberal vote. Liberals will buy it out of fear that such a split will make it impossible to ever beat Republicans. It seems true.

Maybe we can vote Trump out in 2020 and maybe Democrats can take the Senate, too. Democrats had full control like that in 2008, and what did they get done? Some, but not enough, and we now know that Republicans are willing and eager to undo anything that a Democrat president does as soon as they regain power.

In 2016, I had dreams of a Democrat victory that would devastate Republicans, split their party, and open up the possibility for additional parties. Finally, an end to the two-party system in the U.S. that has left us skewed to the right for our entire history. Finally, space for a real leftist party. Real change.

Instead, disaster. Even since then, I have been weighed down by a feeling that we are in an impossible cycle of shitty and not-so-shitty that, year after year, shifts further toward the shitty end of the spectrum. Meanwhile, we march steadily toward climate apocalypse and the collapse of global capitalism. People in Yemen are sitting around waiting to starve to death.

Maybe I'm being overdramatic. Maybe I'm being pessimistic and ridiculous. Maybe we just needed another rise of fascism to cycle us back toward the left. Of course, last time it took something horrific and utterly monstrous, something so awful that the trauma was etched onto DNA and passed down through generations. It took that to make people realize that fascism, nationalism, and hatred of marginalized peoples are bad. But we still had capitalism, and a new era of U.S. imperialism was born. Capitalism can't last. I'm pretty sure of that. And I'm pretty sure our entire species is at risk of being wiped out due to climate change.

It very much feels like some massive upheaval is going to happen. It can't not happen, because if we keep going down the same path, disaster will happen, and it feels impossible to divert this train. I'm scared. I got swept up in the midterm hype and vote shaming, but the anarchists are right. Voting won't and can't save us. It will take so much more, but so many people think their work is done after voting. And the disinformation campaigns, the propaganda, the fact that so many people still hold bullshit notions about capitalism, poverty, human psychology, and the way our government and economy work...

We don't have time to climb all those mountains. I am having trouble reconciling this feeling with my continuing tendency and internal and extenal pressure to act as though things will stay the same - as though I should just keep working and making money as usual and eventually I will be able to buy a house and have a retirement plan and everything will be dandy. Everything will be as I was told it would be. I will live the capitalistic American Dream and be fine.

I'm so afraid of losing my comfy bed, my showers, my PlayStation 4, that I won't walk away and dedicate all my time and energy to saving as many people as possible. I feel like I should stop paying rent and just become homeless. Forget about my relationship, forget about any kind of domestic life. Spend all my time getting/stealing money and food for other poor and homeless people and organizing to try and create some alternative to what we have now. But I don't. And I won't. It's not in me and I guess I a little bit hate myself for that.

Maybe everything will be fine, but I just don't see how. My brain keeps trying to believe that everything will work out, but then I go back to approaching climate disaster and the inevitable collapse of capitalism. I'm sure it's possible that we can make it through those things as a species, but I'm scared. I'm so scared that I want to cry. I don't think things are going to be okay. And I don't feel like anything can stop it from becoming really, really bad.

This wasn't supposed to be another very pessimistic feels dump, but here we are. This is how I feel. I have nothing else for you right now.

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