Just look at this place.
Rain sluices constantly down the buildings, stained yellow-green by pollution so deeply engrained that it simply can’t be erased. People die here, ten years or more before they would otherwise, on average. Their lungs are the color of cigarette ash and coffee, and it is no secret. The children grow up different. Stunted, many of them will exit this life never having taken a really full breath. Still. I suppose it makes it easier not to listen to them.
There was a brief moment, a flare of indignation and anger which almost burned through the complacency. Then there was another, and another, but each was weaker than the last. Outrage needs fuel. Apathy smothers it, and so does resignation. How can you get worked up when you’ve seen that nothing ever changes? They don’t even bother cracking skulls these days. They withdraw to a safe distance, let the crowd vent their anger, and then round everyone up later from photos taken during the chaos. The terrified single mother dragging her shopping away in one hand and her daughter in the other, as much a looter as the balaclava-clad youth raiding the cash register. Justice. One size fits all.
They promised that the world would end in 2012, and wouldn’t that have been a mercy? Instead we get this shambling imitation. Fascists with mealy-mouths who can’t quite bring themselves to outright say what they are implying. Passive-aggressive racists who’d rather stick up a poster than stand up and screech. At least if they were honest about it, they’d let us have the discussion. As though racism and sexism are no longer a problem, because they are so commonplace they’ve faded into the background. Shouting about the problem, now, is far worse than the problem itself, because damnit, we know this stuff is bad. We just don’t want you to make a scene. And its not like we’ve reached socially unacceptable levels of bigotry yet.
No, those old barriers aren’t being eroded, they’re being given a lick of paint and shored up as the only alternative we have to poverty. Just like the environment. Because really, ensuring that you can breathe the air and drink the water are luxuries we can’t afford. Making sure that the food you purchase isn’t toxic, well, its more important that you keep purchasing instead. Don’t you know there’s a recession on? Or, there was. We might be out of it now. But don’t talk about it too loudly, because if you do, the house of cards will come tumbling down and people will remember that they haven’t got any money.
We need things to return to business as usual. So they will. Fear worked for a long time, then rage set in, now its time for apathy. People aren’t even sure what the alternative to all this would look like. Even I’m not sure. Will we ever return to a time when the idea of principles and rights are more than just hollow buzzwords? It doesn’t seem likely. It is just so much easier to be cynical. All of these people seem to be wearing masks, and they’re all paper-mache thin.
I wouldn’t mind so much, but they’re just bad at it. Can’t they at least tell me what I want to hear? Where’s my comforting lie? These ones they spew at me are all just so depressing. Yesterday's lies repackaged and rebranded, but the same bad product underneath. Come on. I demand a better class of liar. Tell me that everything will be alright, tell me you’ve got the way out of this mess, but just please, don’t tell me that it’s one of the many ways we’ve already tried and failed. Give me something new to be swindled by. Is that so much to ask?