It’s going to take at least a decade for this cycle of prejudice, fear, resentment and hate to run its course. That’s if there isn’t a World War first of course. In which case we’ll all be dead soon anyway.
Trump’s election is being compared to the rise of fascism and Hitler in Germany. But Trump and Brexit are the symptoms of the same social malaise – frustration, helplessness, resentment and hopelessness brought about by the apocalyptic economic avalanche of 2007, that’s still reverberating today – perhaps moreso than ever this year in particular.
Forget feeling the pinch, it’s been more like the punch, and we’re all sporting bruised black and blues beneath our fake designer shades innit?
I compared the Brexit fallout to a return to the mad, bad, casual racism of the 70s and early 80s – when Golliwogs sold us Jam, and the ‘Paki’s on the corner’ sold us everything else (read that here). Okay it was ‘casual’ on the Telly, but on the streets it was very real, and quite frightening as the pre-teen version of myself will testify from first-hand experience.
You can only fake-laugh at the mocking wobbling heads and ‘bud-bud ding-ding’ impersonations so many times, before the clomping heavy footfall behind, begins to always sound like the menace of Doc Martens and you braced yourself to be struck by something, and hoped that this time it wouldn’t be dog shit.
I’ve been researching past decades lately for an unrelated project we’re working on at Motoring Middle East, and one thing that struck me was just how awesome the 1980s were.
Yes we still had wars and disasters, Chernobyl and the threat of Nuclear War, but by the end of it, the arms race had become the disarmament race, divisive walls had literally been knocked down, politicians were openly questioned and humiliated by smart people doing proper journalism on TV, and musicians – and may I add (in my opinion) from the best period of music EVER – fed the world.
Our movies looked to a hopeful future, our Television shows solved problems, and songs broke down barriers by telling us that ‘We are the world’. Racism had had its day, right?
There was a tidal wave of goodness, courage, and understanding sweeping the Western World – the dominant world – as technological advances, open-mindedness and an appreciation of our fragile world, emboldened the masses to take matters into their own hands, and change things for the better.
So much positivity was there, that as the decade drew to a close we were pumped with optimism and initially the succeeding period was dubbed the ‘caring sharing 90s’. Let’s all skip around in green fields wearing kilts, clogs, sarongs and Shalwar Kameezes in a ginormous global group hug.
For a while it was easy to surmise that we had matured, we had evolved, we had bettered ourselves and an advanced passing alien civilization would finally deign fit to land and open relations with us.
Trouble is, we humans are a self-destructive lot, and it didn’t take long to screw things up. Whilst multiculturalism and new-fangled stuff like cable TV and – gasp – the World Wide Web, advanced our tolerance and appreciation of other cultures, the rise of the Right Wing had already begun again – spreading from Europe to India.
A bit like the 1960s the rot was starting to set in and has been eating away at the foundations of humanity throughout the greedy, self-obsessed 2000s, ending of course in an economic implosion. So like the 70s, now everyone is pissed off, fed up, angry and too-ready, way too-ready, to give in to our baser instincts.
We’re picking sides, we’re arguing and yelling at each other – mostly through social media posts these days – and we’re ready to verbally and physically assault anything and anyone we feel threatens our existence, our future, our belief systems and our wallets, whether we have any justification to do so or not.
We’ve shut our minds, our eyes and our ears, we’re all the three deaf, dumb and blind monkeys now. We’re happy to let vicious evil play out in our names as long as the victims are somewhere else or even the planet itself – because that’ll be someone else’s problem to deal with, obviously.
None of us are prepared to stop, listen and think, understand what’s really going on and try to contribute to healing ourselves and the world. Not until things reach a head – and that usually means until we will all be personally affected. Which of course means things have to get a lot worse, before they get better.
Unless… nah… or maybe… just maybe… hmm… perhaps if there is a mass awakening. An indignant movement of outrage and disgust at the absurdity and gross injustice of it all, by those of us still capable of logical thought, not influenced by the vacuous Influencers.
Drop the anchors, release the braking chutes, and fire the holding bolts. Stop the slide into oblivion. Let common sense prevail. Let the good of the many outweigh our petulant concerns. Let morose misery and embittered angst be replaced with love, generosity, peace and understanding.
Never forget, we reap what we sow, and if things carry on how they are, we’re going to have one helluva crappy harvest for us all. Hope you like shit for breakfast, because one day, that’s what we’ll be having. And we’ll deserve it too.