June 25, 2020

Looking Across the Ocean

My country is dying. And we are struggling against the rise of fascism in the process.

I knew this day would come. When I was preparing to leave the US, in my gut, I knew it would come. No matter where in the world I ended up, I knew that at some point I would eventually be looking at the US the way I am now: with the sense that it is collapsing. The possibility that I may never return becomes more real to me every day. It is different when it no longer becomes a choice.

In a way, I have always thought societal collapse was necessary. After great destruction comes the chance for change. We have seen this before. New societies and cultures arise from rubble and ash. Societies go through cycles. Most don’t last forever, especially in the cultural West. There is no moral rightness or wrongness in this. It is growth. The hope is always that what comes after is better than what came before.

When I heard the 2016 Presidential election results, I knew that was pretty much it. That was the nail in the coffin. Whatever idealistic veil that anyone had left of their vision of the US was about to vanish. Some of us knew. Most of us have been in denial for a very long time. Since birth. Since our grandparents. We have tried to neatly hide away our past. Everyday, we erase our wrongdoings. Even the things we do now to each other.

One of the most controversial philosophers of the 20th century wrote about how technology is a tool that reveals human nature. It reflects who and what we are. It is up to us to look without turning away. It is also up to us to own the truth about ourselves, individually and as a society, for all of our greatness and shortcomings.

The ignorance under which so many of us have thrived for so long is being taken away by technology. We can no longer use ignorance or lack of exposure as an excuse. Ignorance about our history, about the atrocities that we commit on a daily basis, is becoming wilful or purposeful.

The end of a society does not mean that there is no hope for the people. A society might collapse, but the people may live on. The structural social foundations are ripped out while the people remain. For a while, chaos reigns. It burns out eventually. And eventually, whomever is left will rebuild.

That is a delicate and vulnerable time.

As I watch disease rip through my country, civil unrest continues while human and civil rights are constantly under assault. Some of the elements at work have been slow burning, causing our social foundation to falter. The school-to-prison pipeline, destruction of worker’s rights, the human rights atrocities in our prison system. These wrongs and more have led to the more immediate concerns we have today. Families seeking asylum being ripped apart while their children are stolen. Poisoned water supplies.

Three and a half years ago, an accelerant was poured. Six months ago, the matches were lit. We have been rapidly hurtling towards the end since.

I wonder how long the fall will last. A lot of people still seem to have hope. They think that the radical change they are demanding can happen without everything coming down.
In my personal life, I have always hoped for disease to be quickly resolved – whether cured or by death. I also always hope that I am wrong. When I’m right, it is often about something like this. Something horrible.

My hope for collapse is similar: quick. And in this case, I hope that our population is not weakened by disease so that we may retain adequate strength to fight the forces that are working against us.

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