2020 is a mess so far. Over the last few years, last few months, and especially last few days, some thoughts keep circling around in my head. This is not some dissertation. I just need to get them out. They are all tied to my neighbours to the south. I hope offense isn’t taken.
Trump is an idiot. A dangerous one too. He’s flailing and that’s scary. The people meant to reign him in are clearly not interested in doing that. Maybe things need to get worse before they get better. It seems that they are.
I feel sorry for all of the wonderful people down there. But come November it’s up to them. And if he gets a second term it’s on them. Either on them to do whatever is necessary to get him out, or on them to really come to grips that half their country isn’t what they thought it was.
The long term success of the US isn’t a sure thing. It isn’t guaranteed. The world changes. The Roman Empire lasted for 500 years. The US is only half that age. It’s not unthinkable that it falls apart - or drops in stature, or (hopefully not) devolves into something sad. Make no mistake, we up here will be dragged along with it in part. I have a vested interest here.
Protest and conflict is how things change. A lot of social change doesn’t happen without people getting angry. Ideally it’s peaceful, but it’s not a given. The situation there (and make no mistake, here too) needs to change. When you undervalue people and do nothing about festering unrest (and even feed it) you’re bound to see this. This should be no surprise. The relative peace of the last 30 years is what’s remarkable.
I’ve seen several people wondering aloud about what they can do and I wonder too. While sending out a solidarity tweet or two is not a bad thing, it feels powerless, ineffective, and hollow. I feel like the important thing is that a lot of those people who know racism, inequality and injustice are wrong but aren’t out there protesting will still help turn the ship. Social progress has been made on a lot of fronts. Never as fast as we’d like, but it happens. I hope it will happen here as well. But maybe the heroes will be those that get out and protest (not loot) and face the brunt of the racism and injustice while the rest of society watches. And from their couches and comfort, what society as a whole deems acceptable will change. This is what will really get those bad apples out of the system. They just won’t be accepted anymore.
And it’s not limited to what is happening in the riots. It’s not limited to police brutality. It will apply to racism, social and economic inequality issues. If we don’t make real progress on all those fronts instead of financial bandaids, the system will break and it’s going to get a lot more ugly than it is now.