Today made something very clear to me. There are a lot of people in this country who think that after almost seven years with obama as president, things are looking up! We’ve got a black president! More people have health care! The stock market is higher than ever! Gays can get married! And things can only get better!
But there is something these people don’t seem to realize. And maybe it’s because most of us live in a kind of bubble of our own creation. Only talking to other people who think just like we think. And watching tv shows that only tell us what we want to hear. But there are just as many people in this country who think things have never been worse. And they are angry.
For them, every one of “our” victories has been a devastating loss. They literally feel that “their” country is being taken away from them – a country that many of them and their family members have fought and/or died for. To them, this is a war. And they are not going to give up so easily.
Oh, and they have guns. Lots of them. Not that they’ll need them. They already have most of the state legislatures and governorships. They already have congress. They already have a semi majority on the Supreme Court. All they need is the presidency. And they are fired up.
Maybe you’re unaware because you don’t normally watch Fox News and you’ve unfriended all of your conservative Facebook friends (if you ever had any). But they are out there. And after almost seven years of Obama, they are ready for a fight.
Many progressives, on the other hand – some even call themselves liberals now! – are too busy basking in the false glow of a momentary achievement to realize how precarious our situation is. We laugh at the ridiculousness of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination instead of taking the threat seriously. How many liberals do you know that are really fired up about Hillary, the presumptive democratic nominee? Are you? Really?
Regardless of whether she finally ascends to what she must at this point believe is her rightful destiny or Bernie somehow pulls an Obama and rockets past her to clinch the nomination against all odds, conservatives will be ready. And regardless of who finally wins that clown contest, they will rally around their candidate like many of us did for Obama in 2008, desperate for change.
But things get better! Don’t they? We’re on the right side of history, aren’t we?
I’m sorry but no, they don’t. Not always. And there is no right side of history. Go read an actual history book. History is more like a roller coaster. Or a pendulum. I know it’s hard for many of us to even comprehend because things seem to be going pretty good lately. And in truth, many of us are relatively privileged. We can’t even imagine a world where conservatives take control of this country and drag us back to a time that we would consider worse.
Forget about gay marriage. one new Supreme Court Justice and we could be locked up just for being gay. You want equal pay for women? How about abortion becoming illegal again? At least the environment will probably kill us before the race wars. Think i’m exaggerating? Think it can’t happen?
Do you think the Romans could have imagined the fall of the Roman Empire?
Do you think the colonists who fought together against the British in the Revolutionary War could have fathomed that they would be killing each other less than a hundred years later in the civil war?
Things can always get worse.
Of course, it’s all relative. Worse for “us” is better for “them.” And vice versa. At least in some respects. If only conservatives and progressives – regular citizens not politicians – realized that we actually have more in common with each other than with the power elite of either political persuasion, we could reclaim our democracy for the people and work out our differences between ourselves.
So much of the anger and hatred comes from being treated like garbage by those at the top and from being manipulated into believing that our brothers and sisters are really the enemy. Classic divide and conquer.
The question is: will we wake up in time and join forces against our common enemy before the pendulum swings back? Or will we continue on this insane roller coaster ride? Cause it looks like a big dip is coming. At least for some of us.
Adrian Tawfik says
Very nice work Jarret but I do have to say that there are some things I think are getting better worldwide and I at least think they will be permanent. I recommend the book by atheist professor Steven Pinker “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.” Unlike most writing today it points out a serious flaw in the sensationalist doomsday garbage we have to read in the newspapers everyday. I think newspapers want everyone to think things are getting worse and that the world is ready to end because then people come back to buy their paper again tomorrow. I think things are better than ever, people just refuse to acknowledge the progress