With the holiday season behind us, it’s back to reality although the world seems anything but real. The economy seems dire, Trump seems to be on course to be the next US President (but for how long?), Russia seems to be hacking every country, Syrian refugees seem to be multiplying, and Scotland keeps threatening (and behaving like a spoilt brat) to leave the UK if they don’t get the Brexit the want. Some of it is comical if you were looking from outer space, but it’s a scary time for the human race or what is left of it.
What would life be like today without the internet or social media? Would a veil of ignorance be better and peaceful? The year looks bleak, yet somehow if you are honest you are accused of being a pessimist—I call it realism. The simple fact is more people will become refugees, terrorist attacks will continue (each day there is an attack or an attempt) as the war in Syria continues until there is nothing left to bomb or people to kill, the EU hates the UK for wanting to leave, and those who voted for Trump are realizing they made a huge mistake but won’t admit it. One always hopes that change is good, but at times you can feel when it’s going to be a bad and a rough ride. In some ways I feel the world has regressed as racism rears its head again, and the divide among the classes widens yet again.
I observed the reactions to Meryl Streep’s speech when accepting a Golden Globe, and am astonished at the social media comments, that were mainly in support of what was said, with the odd rant from folks who struggle to write a coherent sentence. For decades actors have used their acceptance speech to talk about gender issues, wars, racial discrimination, and more, so expressing an opinion on the state of the nation was no surprise. On Facebook I had to chuckle when an unknown and out of work actress who said Streep was out of order, then stupidly compared herself to Streep. When people asked who she was (rhetorical), she kept telling people they were on her fan page. Little did she realize that people share posts not because they are worthy of reading, but to mock. Then to top it all Trump names his son-in-law (with no political knowledge or experience of public service) as a senior advisor. I think even the hardcore Republican would have difficulty trying to justify that one. Some may and try to refer to JFK appointing his brother as Attorney General, but the difference there is that Robert Kennedy had served in the Navy and was a qualified attorney, and after that the nepotism laws were introduced to prevent a conflict of interest.
The year has just begun, and I don’t make resolutions, but I have decided to try and read War and Peace in one go. It’s quite apt for what is going on in the world right now, and sadly it’s not fiction.