Irritation: Factor Nine

I am irritated. I am irritated by the man in the silver Porsche who drove through the T-lane intersection ahead of me today at 50MPH. I am…

Irritation: Factor Nine
Photo by Niranjan _ Photographs / Unsplash

I am irritated. I am irritated by the man in the silver Porsche who drove through the T-lane intersection ahead of me today at 50MPH. I am irritated at the person who left their dog in their car across the street. I am irritated at the white boy in the massive and despicable muscle truck who drove by with his “RAIDERS” stickers, his bad attitude, and his loud engine. I am, it seems, annoyed with all of humanity.

I am also annoyed with the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, the man soon to be elected to a lifetime appointment in my nation’s highest court of law. Brett, himself, is actually the least offensive part of these confirmation hearings. His Republican allies — who, in the beginning, weren’t even all that pleased about his nomination — are definitely annoying; listening to them is like listening to pennies scraped over glass.

But what gets my goat, what really steams me up? The fact that the so-called “Left” has still not managed to conjure up any seriously united response to the problems we are facing in the most powerful country on this planet — let alone to those global crises which threaten the lives and systems of which we are all apart. Expecting people who believe in institutionalized racism, corporate “personhood,” and free-reign capitalism to behave differently than they always have is a losing cause. There are plenty of intelligent people who exist in a more libertarian (small “l”) mindset who I could probably hold good dialogues with; being attached to a political position as an ordinary human doesn’t necessarily mean you’re awful to the core. But, of course, these are career Right-wing politicians. Expecting them to change their spots is foolish.

So, no, I dislike them, but I’m not feeling overly antagonistic toward them. The group of people who frustrate me the most are, in fact, people who consider themselves progressive. Why? Because there is no united front. Because in the face of all of the ills currently besetting our small and silly Type 0.72 civilization, we are failing to stand up together and make the differences that need to be made.

Working across “party lines” is fine; compromise is good when it’s an issue confined to the political sphere (political compromise is a specifically defined phrase). Compromise with the planet’s ecosystems? That’s not good.

I saw this phrase pop up a while back, I think it was on Tumblr, and it stuck with me. “Truth has a liberal bias.” The way I see it, every time there is any mention of compromise within the political sphere what ends up on the chopping block are those things identified as “progressive,” or “liberal,” or “environmentalist.” You know, issues like clean air, water, ground, and an ecosystem capable of surviving past the next fifty years. In other words, when we “compromise” we always seem to do so toward the right, never toward the left.

But, mind, while there are inherent problems with our political and legal systems, I do not believe it’s too late to change things through action within the systems. Not unless, as seems to be happening, too few people who care are active and participating. How many millions of environmentalists who are registered to vote don’t go out and vote? How many young people are left in the dust because they have no support, no help, when it comes to being active members of society? (I’ll write later on why the voting age needs to be lowered to 16). How many people refuse to vote because they are “disillusioned with politics?” Too many. The progressive movement isn’t going to work if otherwise good people refuse to do anything.

I encounter far too many people who are more concerned about “chemtrails” than they are about minimizing corporate influence; people who are fixated on the supposed evils of other countries but are willing to let slide our own country’s atrocities, both past, and present. The discussion is always so one-sided. Yes, the various governments of country (A) have done terrible, awful things — maybe they even interfere with the elections of other countries. But Country (B) is just as bad — it’s murdered just as many people in the name of progress and Westward expansion. Any attempt to simplify the situation as “they are the bad guys, we need to stop them,” derails the real conversation that we need to be having: namely, how do we improve the planet we are on; how do we live to better ourselves and all of humanity? Unless we start with that question we will be continually bogged down in nonsense.

I’m pleased to see the rash of organizing and growth of progressive movements. Every time a progressive candidate wins an election against an entrenched conservative, I cheer. But it’s not enough. There needs to be unity, and that unity isn’t going to come from the establishment members of any party. It’s going to come from ordinary people who stand up, brace themselves against the monied interests, and cry with one voice “we will not surrender our duty as stewards of this little world. We will make our own destiny!” (Or, y’know, something like that).

We need a massive alteration of how we operate, and we need it fast, before we all end up blindsided my megacorporations who don’t actually care about us ordinary folk (beyond our value as commodities of the systems we’ve agreed to abide by).

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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