I’m feeling politically tired recently, things are getting so dystopian. Naturally, I turn my observing eye to men.
Now that Donald Trump is the republican nominee to beat, and that he isn’t “positively light years” from the white house, I’d like to propose that now, finally, we stop listening to white men’s solemn political predictions. You know the tone, when they shake their head slowly and state low and steady that ‘oh, Trump will never get anywhere near that white house’, and lean into a frothy head of beer. I am secretly and very much bitterly keeping count of men in pubs, friend’s dads, lecturers, suited men in interviews on tv, all of them, who make rock solid predictions as if they found it carved on a rock which they just saw fall from the heavens.
We must not be intellectually intimidated by the confidence that comes along with white men’s political opinions. Because after a brief look around, we can see that they are regularly, wrong, and we can draw from that, that the opinions come from their asses.
Even Obama’s bright optimism at Trump’s chances of ever being more than a joke has irritated me. Men have informed me that Jeremy Corbyn will not be getting voted as Labour leader (he was, by a landslide), that no-one will vote for labour afterwards (Labour are still getting votes and he is more popular than ever), that Cameron will resign in a matter of days after the panama leaks (he didn’t), and guess what, loads of men know what the outcome of the EU referendum will be and exactly what will change! Isn’t it obvious?
Men do not have respect for the unpredictable skittish beast that is the general public exercising their political powers. What the people vote for is like what movies become ‘classic cult films’. You just can’t know exactly what is going to make it. And doesn’t reducing it down to ‘obvious know-how’ take away some of the magic? You put forward your best, you’re authentic, and you hope for the best. You shouldn’t trivialise and simplify the vast array of lives, thoughts and unique perspectives that are present in a country’s worth of people, in order to feed your ego and feel like a wise fortune-teller. Frankly, it’s a little dangerous.
The thing is, we all believe in a Safety Net. The Safety Net is what means that things will never get that awful, it maintains the fantasy and unreal feel to dystopian novels, it’s that quiet assumption that reality would never be quite so cold and harsh to you. You’re not going to starve. Your whole family won’t die. The Earth won’t become barren and beige. We may start to eye it cautiously the older we get, oppressed groups have less faith in it, people who have seen horrors see it as weaker. The absence of colour in footage of the atrocities of our history help us place them in not only some other time but some other world, not our world. But when you see a person meet their end cruelly, your jaw drops and your Safety Net gets a little bit further away. White men don’t realise that they have a very good relationship with their Safety Net. They function like it’s right beneath them. The time passed between now and World War II is getting pretty wide. We’re forgetting those black and white horrors. We’re forgetting that there is no political safety net. Things will get really fucking bad. People will still starve and die because they have. Greed will uproot all the trees and plants. Egos will shoot each other to smithereens. The powerless are alone.
War has taken everyone, and plenty of white men. But unlike women, men don’t have a hole in their safety net that lets in rape, prostitution and controlling partners. They don’t have holes that let in institutions shooting them for the colour of their skin. They don’t have holes that let in diseases which aren’t cured because they are associated with a sexuality. They don’t have holes that let in the government taking away your money leaving you in a dark cold kitchen with empty cupboards. So stop staring at me expectantly after you’ve imparted your political wisdom and have a look at the wide, wide holes in the Safety Net.