A Cacophony of Dumpster Fires

Why does it seem like we’re all failing?

Nice generic photo there, Zainab.

The moment I woke up, I raced to the living room, picked up the remote from the coffee table and switched on the television. Immediately, the screen flashed yellow, the bold black lettering of the word “LEAVE” taking over the visuals of the Sky News broadcast. Switching over to BBC News for more information, I confirmed the news with the Guardian news app. I froze for a while, digesting the information.

Almost five months, I raced to the television again, this time already on my phone, the gathering results of the night before burned into my mind. I read it before I heard it. Months of panicking about a country that I didn’t belong to were over.

How I reacted to them both still strikes me as weird; I anticipated agony tearing me to pieces before I resigned myself to a sick day from school to allow me to recover from the shock, but that didn’t happen — I just kind of sat there, defeated. In both situations, I was on the bus by quarter-to-eight, still so shocked that my usual early morning podcast lineup couldn’t distract me from the fear, but well enough to be seen in public without dissolving into a fit of rage. When I got to school, everyone around me had their arguments all ready, like lawyers going into the courtroom, and there I saw the immediate effects of the…what we’ll not refer to as “dumpster fires”, which was that they stirred up an anger in people who couldn’t tell you which voting system was used in each dumpster fire. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course (ignorance is bliss, after all) — hell, if we all were as opinionated as us poor sods who are reading this article must be, we’d be too busy to breathe for all the debate we’d be partaking in. I was used to being the most politically minded person in my social circle, and I suppose I still was (and am), but the friction in the air was almost palpable and I could tell Brexit and the US presidential election had changed the view of politics to something that everyone could get involved in, even if you were our age. Naturally though, I couldn’t help but think, “Where was all this before the dumpster fire? It’s all well and good that we regret our decision to leave, but there’s not going to be a second bloody referendum, is there? We’ve ruined our country and none of our regret is going to save us now.”

It seemed that a hell of a lot of votes were based on a baseless number written on the side of a bus, so when Nigel Farage went on Good Morning Britain the day after the dumpster fire and said that he, “didn’t make any promises,” that the NHS would benefit from Brexit, a hell of a lot of people wished their votes were written in disappearing ink. That, along with “fake news” and Russian hackers being more than half the foundation for Trump’s presidency, suggests that we’re all confused. We don’t know who to trust or what to believe; when our news sources are blind and our politicians are even blinder, we try to do the dirty work ourselves, but fact-checking every bit of information that comes our way is bloody difficult and we have lives to get on with. So the confusion continues, and before we know it, got attacks in London, Syria, and Sweden within the space of three weeks.

When we’re landed with something like that, it’s difficult to digest. So we switch over from the horrific imagery of the chemical attacks being broadcasted on Al-Jazeera to Doctor Who reruns on W, then feel guilty because while we can change the channel, the Syrians can’t. They’re suffering and dying through no fault of their own, but they can’t close their eyes and pretend that their lives aren’t teetering with trepidation, pretend that they can be extricated from the terror in a Tennant-steered TARDIS, because that’s how their lives are now, lives of trauma and fear and a tumult of politics that they can’t even begin to comprehend let alone solve because the system is disjointed and the leaders are a joke. It’s knotted and complicated and, above all, dangerous, and we’re scare because it’s another problem we can’t solve. Another dumpster fire. It’s another thing to add to the list of Brexit, Trump, and the looming threat of a major world war. We’re scared because there’s a good chance that we won’t wake up tomorrow morning.

We don’t know what to do anymore. We cling to our morals and our beliefs because they’re the only things we can trust anymore but even our capacity to trust is dwindling. We linger in fear, waiting for the next news flash, the next dumpster fire — waiting for the next big black lettering on a bright yellow screen.