As if we didn’t have enough to be depressed about, #Brexit, the rise of far right movements pretty well everywhere, passing 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, facing the reality of a Hillary Clinton presidency as the only sensible choice, the lesser evil that we can probably deal with – well here, now, riding this wave of our collective despair we have the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
What the actual fuck!??!
As a boy I used to bemoan that I’d been born into such a boring period of time…
I wish it was the sixties, I wish I could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen.
– Radiohead from “The Bends”
Well, no doubt, something is happening. Now. Every indication suggests that it’s indeed happening and that it will be, already IS cataclysmic. Apocalyptic.
To wish for something cataclysmic so that we may have an opportunity as a species to reorientate our balance with mother nature and have some significant movement toward social and economic justice is a thought form I don’t think all that conducive to optimal mental health.
Is it also immoral? Is it (as I’ve long feared) an undiagnosed malady eating away at the souls (and thereby the effectiveness) of people who are alive to the scope of our inertia and the size of the shit pile about to clusterfuck the fan?
As I’ve confessed, it’s a frame of mind I’ve found myself engaging with. Both before the election and now, in it’s wake, I still can’t help but feel some resonance to weird-pasty-old-white-dude-in-chief-of-the-current-day-left Slavoj Zizek’s position that electing Trump will ‘shake up’ the system and that from the chaos of his ascension progressive forces will be galvanized to action.
How immoral is it of a leading voice like this to voice this kind of thinking? Not really a question is it? This thinking has led to people either voting for Trump or at best encouraging the kind of malaise that results in people not bothering to turn out to vote.
We should not be in this situation. How much more of a slap in our collective face can Life give us? War, famine, climate change, ecocide, financial collapse, etc, etc. – there have been ample warning signs that our collective trajectory “isn’t great”.
Those, myself included, that have been waiting around or perhaps secretly hoping for things to get worse so that we can finally wake from the malaise and take some serious action need to take a long, hard look at ourselves. Check our privilege.
It’s game time. The Now. Or Never.
Actually, it’s three quarter time and most of us pasty white folks have been busily smashing down coke and chips on the sidelines whilst our teammates, our brothers and sisters have been getting their asses handed to them. Maybe it’s already too late to hold on to any real rational hope?
And this is the reality of where we are at – we have this extremely disturbing video and report of “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer saluting, full-Nazi style “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory! This, along with the equally disturbing reality that we have in the first few weeks following the election a spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11. A president that has overtly denigrated women in ways that are not in any way acceptable. A president that believes climate change is a conspiracy cooked up by China.
I had an opportunity to speak to prominent social justice activist and artist Marziya Mohammedali about her views on the election of Trump. In Australia, we had the election of “Trump-lite” figure Tony Abbott in 2013, since that time Marziya has been busily confronting the rise of far right movements such as Reclaim Australia, the United Patriots Front and, in the 2016 election, the renewal of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.
She recently helped organize a rally in Perth where diverse groups that had come together to protest the election of Trump were confronted by a counter-rally of far right douche bags. Pretty tame stuff compared to some of the madness in the world at the moment, but for a sleepy little city in Western Australia, it’s quite alarming and indicative of how the racists everywhere are being emboldened.
The most urgent task for progressive people in the wake of the Trump election has to be tangible acts of solidarity with the people whom will bear the brunt of these sorts of attack. Discussion and analysis of the election details as they come will be of interest and inform our response moving forward but uncontroversial and urgent in the immediate term is that we stand by our brothers and sisters most likely to be effected by the alt-right and follow their lead.
One act of solidarity that has recently emerged is the wearing of a safety pin identifying its wearer as an ally in the fight against Trump-like intolerance and bigotry. Whilst this initiative has had it’s critics, Marziya shared with me that she has taken to giving safety pins to people she trusts as an acknowledgement of their capacity to be a safe person for her.
So this token action of wearing a safety pin, which can be easily dismissed as tokenistic, must immediately have in-real-life expression via ACTIONS of everyday people making concrete, meaningful sacrifices as a fundamental first step to combat Trumpism.
The Now. Or never.
What do I mean by the Now? I mean that we need to be deeply attuned to the enormous danger we are in and we need to get beyond tokenism and wasted efforts and be fully present to the substantial acts of solidarity we are called to in this moment. So now as in not tomorrow, but also “the now” as in really connected to this moment in history and to our deepest internal individual and collective resources.
No more escapist meditation practice that dulls our perception to this clear and present danger. No more empty prayers/appeals to be saved by some absent land lord omniscient being. No more head-up-ass yoga postures and spending 90% of day and consciousness on super food diet obsession. No more ass (or mule if you prefer) carrying a load of books pointless-intellectual-punditry weighing us down to the perspective of dead pasty white dudes. No more “People’s Front of Judea” vs “Judean People’s Front” suicidal tendency of the left sectarianism. No more build our own farm in the bush bubble so that I can look after my mates and family eco/permaculture wankerism. No more dudebro, manarchist, brocialist douche baggery crying “identity politics” when it’s civil rights.
Can meditation be a useful tool? Absolutely, we need to be ZEN AS FUCK at the moment! To the considerable extent meditation (or whatever spiritual practice you roll with) can help attain peace of mind and equips you for greater service to your fellow life forms — bring it on! Would we like some divine intervention? Shit yeah! Whatever your cultural interpretation of the fact we are all ONE INDIVISIBLE HUMAN FAMILY in the bosom of a much larger Life please take all the inspiration from that perspective and to do all the rad service! Let’s commune with our deepest, most ideal selves and bring that insight to the present urgent need. Do we need to have strong healthy bodies? Yes! McDonald’s is definitely not the fuel we need for the revolution. Fit and healthy bodies mean all the more capacity for doing IMPORTANT PHYSICAL SERVICE. Do pasty dead white dudes have a few useful historical perspectives to offer on our current dilemma — sure probs but just don’t ram it down my face like it’s the only framework for understanding the world ok? Bring YOUR BRAINS and perspective to give your useful service of rational analysis and insight to this time in words we can all fucking understand. Should we permaculture the shit out of everything as soon as fucking possible? Absolutely, let’s prefigure the kind of society we want RIGHT NOW in our local communities, particular in the ones that are suffering and need it most!
This is not the time to retreat to your meditation cave in the mountains. This is not the time to retreat to your sacred monastery. This is not the time to retreat to your yoga studio sauna. This is not the time to retreat to your books and your dogmas. This is not the time to retreat to your little exclusive campaign group with your boutique issue with the people that it’s nice and comfortable to organise with. This is not the time to retreat to the wilderness.
Now is the time to engage deeply with the urgent issues of our time. Take the skills you have and dedicate them to the need of this moment. Everyone is needed. Everyone has a valuable contribution to make in defeating the nefarious vested interests that would have us divided, at each other’s throats, subservient to their whims and slaves to their grim future.
Much opportunity there is for service, for moving beyond our small selves and stepping into a larger, more expanded state that will bring as much more sustainable happiness than that sacharin we derive from the current materialistic, spiritually void rat race.
Here! Now! Together!