The Present

Nov. 9th, 2016 12:32 pm
hells_half_acre: (Bucky)
[personal profile] hells_half_acre
Someone on Facebook asked me if I could offer historical perspective on these "terrifying times". My short answer was:

My historical perspective is that we are in terrifying times. I mean, the good news is that this happened because we were making social progress, and that eventually we will come out the otherside and make even more progress... But in the meantime we will suffer and people will die.

My long answer is this:

Every time there is progress, there is push back. The 1920s were a time of social freedom and positive cultural advancement, where marginalized communities, for a time, found more social acceptance - that period came OUT of the First World War, which had been it's opposite - men sent to die and countries ruined by a ruling class that did not understand the changing world. And, much like the 20s follows WWI, the rise of fascism was a response to the 20s - in particular fascism's social/cultural policies and the persecution of marginalized communities that became more visible in the 20s.

A Russian History Prof of mine once referred to Russian history as happening like a pendulum - swinging first one way, then that momentum - instead of launching the weight further forward - swings back just as far to the other extreme. I see the same thing now.

We're on a backwards swing right now - and it's important to know that the pendulum will swing forward again. Whether that's in 2 years, or 4... or whether it happens outside of the political process completely.

I'm not going to lie, I'm extremely devastated, as I have basic empathy - and also because the US is a world influence, and this is going to have social, and cultural ripples everywhere (waves, tsunamis). Then there's the fact that a Trump presidency was determined to be something that would destabilize world economies and possibly plunge everything into another recession... which is the last thing we need right now.

But, Germany's response to Hitler was to come up with the strongest democracy in Europe and the most open society. They learned. If that learning happens in the US (preferably without the millions of dead and the country and continent in ruins) - then when the pendulum swings forward again, it might even swing hard enough to shift the clock over an inch, so that it can never swing back as far as before.

This might also be a good time to donate to charities and strengthen your social responsibility networks - keep an eye out for your neighbours who might face increased racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny, prejudice, and marginalization, and the intersection of all those.

The only way out is through, and we've all watched enough Supernatural to know that the worst thing would be to split up! So, stay together - look out for each other - and we'll come out the other side of this with a hug. :)

Love,
Alix
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