Another day, another outrage. The current big hitter in the outrage stakes is the news that Alabama is banning abortion in all circumstances. As you do. Or at least, as you do when you want to roll back to the bucolic idyll of the 1950s, when men were men, and women were subservient housewives last seen in the Handmaid’s Tale.
Now I am not from Alabama. I have never even been to Alabama, but the news is depressing, for reasons I don’t even have the strength to put into words (and many others have done, far better than I could). Then the papers (even the Guardian!) are saying that the European elections are going to be won by a bunch of fascists with no manifesto, and I wondered, whilst (unsuccessfully) trying to park the car near a riverbank, whether I might be better off just driving it in the river and being done with it all, Thelma and Louise style.
I think the thing that put me off was the idea of all those rotting bits of car hanging around in the river and adding to the dire ecological crisis. because ANOTHER THING TO WORRY ABOUT.
The thing I don’t understand is, everyone on my social media feed, aside from a few outliers on Twitter threads who are clearly either professional agitators or bots with inexcusable grammar, is perfectly sensible about most important political matters, so I am forced to conclude the following:
- I am living in a left-wing, Guardian reading social media bubble. This may be true to a certain extent, but not everyone whose timelines I am privy to on social media is my like-minded intellectual social liberal friend. Even random people I went to Sea Cadets with twenty five years ago seem to be not a million miles from me in terms of their political thinking, so where ARE all these people voting for Farage and his shower of nincompoops?
- Social media in general is full of generally normal people, plus a few bots, but the real peril is actual real life voters, who are generally elderly and don’t know how to use computers. It is they who are keeping Farage et al in expenses, because hey, the Blitz was really fun when you weren’t born until just after it had finished, and people just don’t know how to dress these days, what with pink hair and rings through their noses and what have you.
- Most of the world is reasonable, but the few unreasonable ones are just very, very loud.
Or maybe there’s another explanation. Maybe people just don’t care. No, I tell myself, people must care. The planet is dying and this affects all of us, regardless of political affiliation, right? Today I even caught sight of a hashtag about getting plastic out of the world’s oceans which was endorsed by none other than Sky News (in my defence, I was idly staring at a TV screen whilst sat waiting for my takeaway. More plastic in the oceans coming right up, courtesy of those plastic takeaway containers). I thought Sky was the root of all evil and Rupert Murdoch might secretly be bankrolling all the fascists and running the world, but even he at least pretends to care about single use plastics. I mean, I imagine he and Jerry would be none too pleased if they were were sipping Cristal on the yacht (is Cristal still a thing, or did that go out with the demise of J.Lo’s relationship with Puff Daddy?) and suddenly found themselves marooned in a sea of old plastic bottles and had to be helicoptered off. There is hope for us all yet, right?
Except that STILL people don’t really care. Whilst eyeballing the electoral register during Thursday’s European elections (another almighty shitshow of idiocy) I counted a grand total of two names from my street crossed off, other than my own. Brexit fatigue may have worn everyone down and made us feel like the whole enterprise is utterly useless because at the end of the day some idiot called Boris will pretend to be some sort of stand up comic so that people will think it’s funny that he gets to be prime minister and all his old friends from Eton will be well jel, but I’m betting my bottom dollar that there are people in my road who didn’t even know there was an election going on. And I’m not talking about the children.
As the old adage says, first they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the oligarchs in their plastic-bound yachts, and I did not speak out because I was not an oligarch and did not have a yacht. Then they came for me in my Ford Fiesta, and there was no one left to speak for me, and no planet left either because I suffocated it with my petrol fumes and covered it in takeaway containers, and while all that was happening some odious tweed-clad moron called Nigel dismantled the NHS and single-handedly burned down what remained of our glorious Empire (roughly a few former mining towns in the North East, full of red-faced blokes in England shirts). Or something like that.
The world is on fire. I’m off to cultivate some plants that will attract pollinators, and brush my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush. Someone has to try and save it, and it sure as hell won’t be the government.