Hey, friends. I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to talk and converse. Please, feel free to join in. I'm not trying to make any points or whatnot, but I need to get this out of my head.
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see that there is a lot going on these days. I know that there's always a lot going on, but it just seems to be on my mind a lot more than it used to. I'm unsure if it's because things out there actually are heating up, if the current news cycle is finally paying some attention, if I'm just more interested/aware as I get older, or if it's some combination of these. Regardless, it just seems like there's so much to think about.
To begin, there's the domestic stuff. We have an inevitable recession coming our way sooner than later (recessions being a feature of our application of Capitalism, after all), and, of course, the mess in the other Washington. I'm doing my best to keep up with the impeachment, while not letting it really "get to me". As I get older, I find that I care more and more about the wellbeing of my country, and the utter shame that is this current administration makes me genuinely concerned for the health of our nation and the people in it. I cannot help but think to myself that I am watching the arguably most significant political crisis since Watergate unfolding before me - live, in real-time. It's wild, as you know that you live through history in the making, but you never really think that you're going to live through something of this caliber.
While I'm hopeful that our own brush with populism will turn out OK (our 3 branch government is remarkably robust), I still worry about us and the other countries that are dealing with it now too. We have Bolsonaro and Duerte, Brexit and Trump. We have the mess in Bolivia, and frankly I still don't exactly have my head wrapped fully around what the hell is actually going on there. We have the trickery of Putin and his loyal cronies. Even populism aside, we have the unrest and violence in Lebanon, Syria, Chile and Iran. And of course, let's not forget our friends in Hong Kong.
I look at the HK situation and feel extra helpless. I was 7 when Tiananmen Square happened, and I kinda remember it. I certainly remember tank man on the news, but that was about it. I see what's going on in Hong Kong and I cannot get past the feeling that they're literally fighting a losing battle for their lives. I can't imagine how they'll survive this without getting steamrolled, unless a foreign power steps in. You know that'll alter the course of the 21st century. I mean, hell. Even if things turn out rosy, this is still probably one of the most significant events of this century. And here I am, watching it in real-time again.
This isn't even touching on the literal concentration camps that China is running for the Uighur Muslims. Shit, even my own country is running camps for children right now. How TF does this even happen? By the time half of us even find out, these camps have already been up and running for a good while. What can you even do?
Then there is a the ever-looming specter that haunts us and feels inescapable: global warming. I don't think I need to elaborate on this one, just a quick peek at the fires and floods, droughts and melting glaciers says it all. Again, we're along for this ride in an enormous mechanism that individually we are wholly powerless against. I sincerely hope that we do manage to engineer our way out of the worst of climate change, but I am honestly not hopeful that we will limit our emissions enough to keep us under the 4° warming that we're seemingly on the trajectory for. I sure won't be alive in 2100, but my youngest nibblings just might - or at least their kids will be. What kind of world are we leaving for them?
How will these things affect and feed off each other? Will we look at the period between WWII and the early 21st century as one of unusual peace and prosperity?
This stuff keeps me up at night, and sometimes it feels like doing your best is just a vain exercise in futility. I know it's not, in that everyone doing their best would make huge changes, and that no matter what happens, I can go to my grave in good conscience knowing that I did what I could. Still, some days it all feels like too much, you know?
Anyway, thank you for listening to me, and letting me talk. There's a few people in my life that share the same concerns, but it's hard to find anyone to talk to about the breadth of all this shit that there is to worry about.
So, anonymous strangers on the internet, how are you feeling about the world situation these days?