Why I feel like I’m starring in a dystopical Sci-Fi flick
You know that toothache, that begins with an indiscernible, odd feeling up that back left molar and slowly turns into a throbbing, unignorable, menacing pain speaking to you of high dental bills and the discomfort of injections and root canal treatment. Or, a bit more in line with the title, the “splinter in your mind”, that gives you a feeling of ongoing déja-vu––a feeling of “man, I can’t believe this is actually happening, but I kinda saw it coming”.
That’s the best metaphor I can think of when it comes to comprehensively summing up the current state of affairs.
Of course the collapsing towers in Manhattan on 9/11 and the subsequent turmoil of terrorism and counter-terrorism certainly marked the turn of the tide, the beginning of an entirely new situation world wide. A game-changer.
But my personal odd feeling probably began with the great financial crisis in 2007/08, when we were told that this gigantic, very real desaster for millions of people worldwide was basically a huge implosion of nothingness, of virtual speculation with not-money, carried out by people who deemed themselves untouchable. How could that be? How could that even work? Where were the checks and balances? Well, banks had to be rescued, the whole system was under siege, held hostage, and that was that.
Entering Mr. Edward Snowden a couple of years later. He forced the red pill down our throats and behold, we saw the Matrix. Again, no checks and balances. Nothing but a giant big brother watching us at a level of detail even Orwell himself would probably not have believed. The in-your-face-lesson to be learned: You can’t trust your government. You always suspected that politicians were either stupid, lying, ignorant, or all of it, but you would not have thought that there was something outside of it all, something so detached and clandestine and — most scary — independent of the bourgeois, mundane world of Jane and Joe Everyman, where laws and rules and conventions and common sense and decent manners seemed to be the glue that holds the universe together. Well, think again.
Then it got even worse. Being German, I was brought up with one deep-rooted, unchangeable and indisputable realization: That it was ignorance, intolerance, bigotry and undiluted hate-made-fashionable through which Nazi-Germany had brought doom upon itself (and had millions of other people perish in the process). That we must not let this happen again, under no circumstances whatsoever. And it was a notion which was shared with all other western nations, thereby creating the firm common ground “the West” stood upon. We might not always succeed, but the principle always goes. Enter the new political right.
Suddenly we have far-right opposition leaders becoming mainstream again. We have anti-jew, anti-muslim, anti-feminist, anti-gay, anti-intellectual, anti-immigration, even anti-science flavors on the menu again. And it’s OK to place an order. Not only in Germany, certainly forwarded by a still-unsatisfied populace in the former GDR-states and a––if only legally––questionable handling of pressing issues like the refugee problem on the part of Mrs. Merkel. But also in France, where Mme LePen makes her father look like a nasty, but irrelevant squaller, while she actually strides towards real power. Or in the Netherlands. Or Greece. Or Turkey. Or Poland. Or Russia.
And, of course, in Great Britain, where Gentlemen like Farage and Johnson not only gave rise to populist truisms by conveniently putting the blame on immigrants and the E.U. to forward their own innerpolitical causes, but––with a little help by a Prime Minister who bailed out immediately after––actually managed to force-eject an entire nation out of an economical and political system they very much depend on. Brilliantly done, chaps.
And now there is the 45th President of the U.S.A. That takes the prize, really. Maybe there are “forgotten” citizens. Maybe it is an overthrowing of the establishment. But, for crying out loud, of all possible people they chose DONALD TRUMP to rectify, well, something; somehow. I will say no more.
So, back to the dystopical Sci-Fi-flick. Regular scripts would offer morally questionable / fascist governments with hidden agendas and doubtful motives. Urban Police forces would have to resemble the military. The military would be instrumentalized to enforce economic interests. There would have to be restricted individual rights––for sake of the common good, of course––and global, faceless companies with no moral compass whatsoever. Mother nature is raped, wounded and severely ill, but it is generally agreed upon to ignore it. Cut to: Citizens running around like doped, completely absorbed in providing for themselves or dazed by some technological wizardry suggesting a good life which they actually don’t have and stay occupied while trying to get it. Education (from kindergarten to university) would be structured solely for the purpose of providing human resources for reasons that have nothing to do with personal inspiration or progress. Minorities asking questions about intrinsic values or matters of general justice would be bullied and ridiculed as “do-gooders” or treated like potentially dangerous, liberal, worldly innocent daydreamers.
When I metaphorically look out of the window I guess all that is missing is a meteorite, a zombie-virus or an alien invasion. Apart from that, it already feels bloody realistic.