There are times when a series of events makes you question what on earth is going on. To be honest, it’s fair to say that the cascade of domino-like political events over the past 18 months have caused me – and no doubt millions of others – to ponder whether we’re living something akin to the ‘bad timeline’ of Back to the Future: Part 2, or the dark and sinister Upside Down of Stranger Things.
The Conservatives were unshackled with a winning majority in the House of Commons, triggering the UK’s EU referendum promised in their manifesto, and leading to Theresa May’s non-mandated premiership. Jeremy Corbyn secured the leadership of the Labour Party – twice – and has gone on to reduce the party of Bevan, Hardie, and Benn Snr. to a protest movement in perpetual civil war.
Meanwhile, Europe has mishandled its strategy, tactics, and messaging of the refugee crisis to its 500 million citizens, which has helped in some part to drive the rise of the far right and seen thousands die in the waters of the Mediterranean. Across the Atlantic, the Democratic Party nominated a divisive candidate for the US Presidency, while the Republican Party nominated a quasi-fascist trumped up property developer who went on to win, subsequently causing the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to set its ‘doomsday clock’ to just two and half minutes – the closest humanity has been to Armageddon since 1953.
God, it’s all rather depressing…
But wait, don’t switch to YouTube channels of cute kittens, at least, not just yet. I’ll let you into a not-so secret: We can change things for the better and extricate ourselves back onto the progressive track. We’ve done it before with peaceful demonstrations, protests, and petitions helping for countless decades to develop a socially progressive agenda: the US civil rights movement, the fight against Apartheid in South Africa, the suffragettes, and equal marriage are just a handful of examples.
It can seem a bit overwhelming right now, with tempestuous events increasingly feeling out of control for ‘normal’ people, but remember that every individual who is aghast can help make a difference. For instance, last weekend’s Women’s March showed that we can make a stand and raise awareness in the fight against the rising tide of regression coming from Trump’s America; both the US/EU TTIP and Pan-Pacific TPP trade deals are in tatters thanks to international pressure from citizens; and nations, retailers, and manufacturers are phasing out the use of plastic microbeads, which have polluted the world’s seas.
But there is more, much more, we can do.
People power works. Make your voice heard by contacting your local representatives: councillors, MPs, MEPs, Congressmen and Congresswomen, senators, and others over social media, email, telephone calls, and letters. They all want to remain your representative, whether for altruistic or selfish reasons – and they need your support at the ballot box.
By making our collective voices heard in demonstrations and on voting day, we can all work towards finding our way back, and out of the Upside Down.