glenatron: (moody othello)
[personal profile] glenatron
I've been thinking a lot about politics over the last six months, as you might imagine. My political leanings are towards thinking that other people are mostly trying to do their best and that if you treat them fairly then the world could be pretty good but apparently that goes against the prevailing worldview right now.

One thing that I thought, growing up in the nineties in my privileged corner of England and later in Wales, was that there were battles that had been won. That racism and misogyny were still present, still a real problem, but that tides had turned. I might have believed that the arc of history bends towards justice, if you will.

I don't see that any more. What I see is that anything positive that one can create for society is a sandcastle, that it must be constantly shored up against the endless tide of darkness that would overwhelm and swallow it at the first opportunity. Battles aren't ever truly won, you just win a reprieve, a little time to shore up your foundations, perhaps to build the walls a little higher. We are fighting a relentless evil that cannot be defeated only turned back and briefly subdued because at its heart it is an idea, a story about how the past can be recovered, even if that past never happened in the first place. It is an insidious desire for the impossible and as long as people are willing to strive for it, to consider themselves superior to others for any reason aside perhaps from their own achievements and actions, that tide will keep rushing back.

I think about this a lot. I think about how it ties into the stories we have told, the ideas we have of ourselves. I have thoughts that wander between social theory and mysticism about how these things connect together, but I find myself also thinking of something a posted a very long time ago, a brief conversation with Carausius.

What I have learned however, is that words mean nothing. The only thing that can change the world is action. It needs to be the right action and it might need words to support it, but the action is what matters.

Date: 21 Jan 2017 00:01 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Really well articulated. I want to believe in progress, slow and faltering as it may be, but it feels like society just trades old problems for new ones, in addition to continually revisiting the same battlegrounds.

Date: 21 Jan 2017 00:43 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you.

Date: 21 Jan 2017 09:35 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
...because at its heart it is an idea, a story about how the past can be recovered, even if that past never happened in the first place...

This. "Make [insert your country name here] great again" is such a pernicious slogan. What's so great about bigotry and a tearing up of environmental protections?

Date: 22 Jan 2017 20:43 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The thing is that people have an idea of "the good old days" but the thing that made those days good wasn't that the politics were repressive or that minorities knew their place, it was that they were young and the world felt the way it does when you are young and the road stretches endlessly ahead of you.

If I were to start a political movement I think my foundational principle would be "The good old days are gone and we can't bring them back, but with some work we could create some good new days."

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