I can’t tell you what will fix this world.
I’m not even sure it’s a “fixing” matter anymore – everything seems so dark, so broken, I’m afraid of what will happen next. Every day I wander outside, I wonder, at the back of my mind, is today the day? The day when I will not be able to side-step danger?
Some will argue that risk is inherent to life and the only way to be free of risk is to already be dead. But what about life quality? Should we have to earn the right to live a life where we are not afraid of basic things, like going outside?
Stupid questions, and yet…
Right now, everyone is mobilizing. Social media is drowning in imperatives. Fight the fight. Walk the walk. Talk the talk. Stand up to racists and bigots and neo-nazis. I share stories and give money while swallowing tears of impotent rage. Why can’t I do better? I wonder. Why can’t I be better? What could I have done to stop this?
The answer: Most likely nothing.
The average person goes about their day and does their best to be good to other people, to help them out. We are all doing our best, even if it may not seem like that to an onlooker… or the critical voice in our own heads. You know it – it’s the same poisonous susurrus you hear whenever you think you’ve done a good job at work, or have helped accomplish something significant. Bullshit, it likes to say. It’s still not enough.
We refuse to believe we are doing our best.
And at times like these, it seems impossible to think other people are doing their best, too.
How could they vote for Brexit/elect Donald Trump/support Greenpeace, etc. etc. etc. How dare they take the easy way out! I have to fight them now, too, on top of all the horrible people they’ve enabled. I hate them all.
It’s so easy to fall into hatred.
It’s so easy to despair.
We are all doing our best, though.
However much we can, we are doing our best.
I wish that there was a way I could fix the world, but it’s easy fixes that got us here in the first place. It’s an easy fix to blame the economy on immigrants and liberals and spoiled Millennials. It’s an easy fix to tell the obese to just lose weight already. It’s an easy fix to tell women to just sit at home and nothing bad will happen to them. It’s an easy fix to tell a gay or transgender person that it’s all a phase and it will pass. It’s an easy fix to tell the poor and the disenfranchised to just sit quietly and know their place and eventually the ruling class will reward them for it.
Our world is full of easy fixes.
Less easy is acknowledging the truth and standing up for our convictions.
Less easy is to do so safely and without fear of retaliation.
Walk the walk.
Talk the talk.
Fight the fight.
But keep yourselves safe, first and foremost. Keep yourselves safe, because your lives are precious, and no-one should convince you otherwise.
You are doing the best you can.