The world might not end, but I’ll be damned if we get through this unscathed
We thought that 2016 was bad, what with all of the celebrities that passed on; repeated punch after punch to the collective gut of North American society as people and artists we revered said their earthly goodbyes.
And then President Cheeto got elected to the highest office in the USA — nay, the world, let’s be honest — and set in motion a series of events like misplaced words, questionable actions, and even the threat of World War III as I type this.
Now that we’re nearly 75% of the way through 2017, we’ve seen more of the same. Cheeto is more out of control than when he was campaigning; a trifecta of mighty hurricanes, more powerful than even the likes of Hugo, Andrew and Katrina combined, literally demolished most of the Caribbean. North Korea is stepping up their bravado, even if it all turns out to be empty rhetoric.
Is the world truly ending? It depends on who you ask. But humanity has been down this road countless times, and each time we’ve survived…but you have to admit, this time around, our chances of survival are far, far more dubious than at any time in the last thousand years. If the pre-Renaissance Europeans thought the Black Plague was the Apocalypse of their time, then surely this is our End Times.
Of course it would happen as people of colour everywhere are starting to make their voices heard unabashedly; it would happen as the curtain that shrouded all of the injustices around marginalized people is coming up. It would happen as rights are being granted the world over to people who were previously regarded as nonentities; the fight still goes on, to be sure, but more and more places are granting rights to LGBTQ+ people. What shitty timing, no? Utterly, utterly shitty. The world’s going to Hell in a hand basket just as some of us are starting to realize that “hey, maybe that person who doesn’t look like me is still part of the same species, and maybe I shouldn’t hate them.” I mean, we’re still a long way away from complete acceptance, but we’ve come a long way in our long history… we aren’t burning witches at the stake any more. (Or are we?)
I’ve been observing the events transpiring in the news with a cautiously optimistic stance. Things may unfortunately get worse before they get better; how much worse is anyone’s guess. Here’s hoping it isn’t in the form of an ICBM headed across the Pacific. (Hey, Magellan: bet you never dreamed that several nations would one day fight over a body of water you literally named ‘peaceful’, huh?) You have to wonder, however, if this is an important turning point. Americans let themselves elect a leader who has no fucking idea what he’s doing; a sizeable group still supports him, but the rest of the country sees the major hubris in action. In terms of climate change, even as the deniers sound off the loudest, people are countering it with cold (sorry, no pun intended) hard facts that show we’re turning this planet into something it isn’t. People are not afraid to fight back against literal Nazis. Something has to give at some point, but when and what?
I hope that we can look back on this time and say “this is when we decided to really wake up”, and I’m not talking about the kind of waking up that some guy in a basement has been telling you for years. It’s much bigger.
Let’s hope it sticks for the next few generations.