This piece formed my introduction to the Audacity eZine published by Cynefin Road last month – to read musings on Hope by a variety of great new writers – look here…
It feels as if something is ready to tip.
When I suggested the idea of this Zine and discussed it with some of the writers whose work is included I wanted to bring together the idea of hope in difficult times.
Today, as the wet looking tarmac under foot slid under my heels as I walked out of the school, I shifted my weight and accomodated the uncertainty. I passed by the grey faces of other parents, herding equally grey-faced children in the light of the grey winter morning, the only authentic marker of life being the steam of breath as it passed from their noses and mouths. The landscape is stark and it is bleak. No hope here, only a synthetic velvet coated grind to the grave.
Reflecting as I negotiated the late stragglers, oblivious boys on scooters and a dog walker being pulled along by a mob of cared for pets, I pondered the village it used to take to raise a child had been completely monetised – people working to pay someone else to bring up their children.
Responsibility is happiness, responsibilities tropes of success. There seemed not to be a lot of point to this. I saw this despair in every parent I passed, with those oblivious to the futility of all of it making grinning exceptions.
As I got back into my heap of a car, I turned on the radio. More news of the world finally going insane. The comfort of the last decade was truly a smug smile that was being lamped off of people’s faces. There will be no more bunting, no more matching kitchenalia, no more ignorance of politics. We’ve allowed the politicians to plant a massive turd on the carpet and now our noses were truly being rubbed in it. Patrick Bateman in the White House, a pale knock-off Vivienne Westwood handbag of a Thatcher in Downing Street. It all happened while we were looking down at our phones, soothed by our personalised echo chambers. We didn’t see it coming because the algorithms did not show it to us.
This life of quiet consumption has no answer for this, no solution could come from conforming now. To conform officially has the distinct flavour of being complicit to something awful.
Resistance here will not be armed insurrection, it won’t necessarily be about toppling governments. It is going to be about breaking away from comfort, slipping out from under our consumpton anaesthesia and standing for what is fair, what is right, what is just. There is no place to hide now, unless you wish to stand by a society built on hate. There are reasons to support the state of affairs as it appears to stand, in the same way that Hitler might have been supported for promotion of family values, building autobahns and boosting manufacturing in 1930s Germany.
We must take on bigotry, we must stand as a barrier against those who would blithely attempt to sweep away the rights and lives of others, we must take risks to protect those who need it and stand by those who don’t. It’s what we can actually do that counts – don’t wear a safety pin – challenge racism, homophobia and misogyny. Stand in the way of hate.
There is no hope now, there is only choice. And I’m not choosing this.