A friend and I started chatting about Ivanka Trump’s absurd G20 appearance, and it all kind of spiralled. Here’s how my side of the conversation went:
If I wasn’t so horrified by everything their government has been doing over the past few years, I’d have second hand embarrassment. It’s as funny as it is fucking upsetting.
It honestly just makes me angry, and it’s hard not to be furious at strawman legions of ignorant small town white dudes in my head who voted him into power. But there was obviously more to it than that, and I’m scared that it really is leading to a dystopian future of sorts. It’s gruelling to watch it happening in slow motion, and it’s a total vortex. We can all see each other split into defined silos and we’re just letting it happen. We’re losing touch with one another. It’s even harder in Ontario, because we’re all breathing the same air and I don’t know why their Ontario is apparently so different from ours.
A lot of these “clean the slate” bollocks and “cost cutting measures” are very much preying on general ignorance. Like, governments have debt. It’s kind of part of the whole deal. They’re investing on the kind of projects that amortise over decades. It’s very very hard to bankrupt a province, y’know? But people assume it’s like personal finance, where if you’re in the red it’s a more pressing issue. It’s not that we want to be in the red as a province, but it’s a known quantity in politics.
There’s so much dirty lobbyist stuff going on. Back pocket payments, new clandestine laws hidden inside other bills, etc. So you’ve got a series of businessmen getting into politics purely to make deals with their friends, and help all of their cronies make more money at the behest of those who think they’re being cared for. When it comes down to it, I don’t understand how their constituents think. Like, how do you hear “no jobs will be lost” then see so many jobs being lost and think “well they said no jobs would be lost, so I guess it’ll be fine.” How do you equate that and see business as normal?
It’s also people ad nauseum regurgitating talking points they inherited. I’m sure this very much includes myself. When it comes to divides along racial, sexual and socioeconomic lines, I don’t know how much they’ve examined their ideas, or if they’ve been passed down from their opinion leaders and taken as granted. Their parents or bosses said these things, and that became normalcy for them. Not that this is isolated to the right either. When it comes to the left, there’s a point at which we become sanctimonious, and having certain level moral obligations doesn’t recuse other shitty behaviour. Social media is an absurd echo chamber at times, which blocks out a ton of very valid dissenting views.
There’s this pervasive notion all across the left that I really hate. This idea that “now that I’ve learned this thing, I get to cast judgement on people who don’t know it yet.” Everyone’s always learning, right? And we can’t expect people to know stuff just because we do. I bet I’ve expressed a ton of shitty views even in the last year, let alone when I was 20. At the same time, I get a lot of internal friction with concepts of tone policing, etc. I very much believe in righteous anger and expression of feelings. I also believe that it often gets in the way of finding mutual connection as a method of sharing ideas. And I’m not gonna ever tell someone they don’t have the right to their valid feelings, but I can often see it running counter to peoples’ goals. Emotional labour is hard. Also sometimes doing it is in your own best interest.
I feel like there’s kind of a missing staircase in the discussion from the left standpoint. We know that there are so many kinds of privilege that people benefit from. A lot of marginalised people don’t have these forms of benefit, and the underlying notion is that those who have a ton of privilege should work to dismantle these systems to make things more equitable. I hear that, I get that, I beleive that.
ALSO, what we’re asking for is directly to the “detriment” of most of these privileged people. They’re giving up things, and for many of them the upside (increasing representation, giving opportunities to those who haven’t historically had access to them) doesn’t benefit them in a tacit way (or at least, obvious). Why would they want to help with something that doesn’t do much for them? How is that a viable tradeoff for a ton of people who don’t understand the nuance of why it’s important? To most of them, they’re just giving things up, and they already see themselves as victims, because we all do. For so many people, spreading happiness is not a motivating driver. They’re worried about themselves and those close to them, and strangers don’t factor into that equation. In their heads they want to tend to their own garden first, but the “first” aspect is a misnomer when problems will always be present. Life is hard.
I don’t like much of the above, but I think it’s real.