President Trump

I resist from being political on this blog, mainly because politics has become something that I despise, despite being in possession of a degree in it. It is just too transparently false. Politicians spend all their time telling us what we want to hear, and never dealing with the issues that are long term: environment and social justice. In that area, the media operates to set the agenda, and the bubble/echo chamber resonates back and forth between outlets. This is what you must think of today. And we do.

The Trump effect, and the Brexit vote of last year, have been part of that nexus, much as everyone likes to convince us that they are sea changes in the way people vote. They are not. They are the reaping of decades of relentless right wing mantras about freedom, privatisation, individuality, and lashing out at the changes that have taken place in our world that people aren’t comfortable with, no matter what they are, or what the actual cause is.

The internet is no better. People say we don’t need the media any more, but after all of the above, those of us who care one way or another largely then go about constructing our own alternate reality on the internet. We follow people on Twitter who we agree with. We read websites, and join Facebook groups of like-minded individuals. Twas ever thus, I think, in my mind’s endless game of devil’s advocate. But this is different. This is now egregious, 24/7, direct access to the brain, swished across our eyes in close proximity by a glowing wand of interconnected hive mind. It is superficially attractive. Like a 2 year old child, sitting and poking away at an iPad, intuitively knowing how to use it. Our brains love it. They are addicted to the prolefeed. This is different.

What makes me wistful is that today is the day we harvest the results of that crop. Today President Obama, a man I placed so much hope in, is gone. We usher in President Trump, a man so vile and so unworthy of such a high office that I do wonder what the point of anything is any more. He has no idea of what it means like to live in poverty, or what racism is, or the scourge of latent sexism that he has again unleashed in people. He’s surrounded himself with a cabinet of billionaires. He will now represent the USA.

But people want this. Just like people want the Brexit – that indeed I voted for – because people want to take any opportunity available now to lash out at politics. The politics that we don’t care about, and, in reality, wouldn’t even miss if it wasn’t there. It’s much more convenient to complain about an unchangeable force. I know it. I’m sitting here doing it now. But it’s because I feel so powerless. We are in this era of nothing, where no one cares, and society has fragmented so much. We have nothing to live for, no greater good, no feeling that we’re part of a movement of change, to tackle impending environmental catastrophe, or international wars and disasters. We can’t do it. We won’t do it.

It’s easier to complain. We have no actual political choice. When one is available (see Corbyn, Jeremy; Foot, Michael) – the institutions of the state and the media make sure they are made to look a fool on a regular basis. Do you know that’s exactly what they do in Russia? A fake political choice is presented. Only one result is accepted.

Trump is not a political choice. Never was. While he was and is a disgusting excuse for a human, he is no threat to the political culture or elite. The media may feign their irritation at being shut out, but they love the drama. The daily soap opera. Brexit is the same. It will not be allowed to change anything too seriously. That is what politics and the prevailing liberal market economy has achieved in its ultimate victory. It continues. The faces may change, but they will never threaten the consensus.

I don’t like making predictions any more, but my main one is this: Trump will change nothing. Brexit will change nothing. If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that nothing changes. Just different faces, eventually being crushed by the institutions of the State and the media to implement minor variations on the same old nonsense. Capital is power.

Just a shame that this latest face represents a boot being stamped into the face of a human. Forever.

And we love it.

2017

As is tradition at the start of the year, the tradition is to make some predictions. Or, at the very least, some modest hopes or aspirations.

I really don’t feel like doing so any more. I’ve commented before how school and university give life a structure. All being well, you know what you’ll be doing in spring, summer, etc. But that hasn’t been the case for me for almost a decade now.

First of all, what of the New Year? Last night was a tremendous disappointment. As the years have gone by they seem to have all got worse. Last year was bad, but this took the biscuit. The level of illness, still high in Dad, Mum and my older sister, and the general malaise that sets in when you’re not having a proper party, just meant that we sat here for hours doing nothing.

When the New Year came i resolutely refused to go outside, much to the chagrin of J. Mum was too drunk to even notice that I didn’t go out there. In our family we usually go outside into the street and sing Auld Lang Syne. Last year we did it, but no one really wanted to. I wanted to keep up the tradition, a tradition I know my grandad would be proud of. But people only barely joined in last year. This year, along with the general feeling of “this has all just been rubbish” – I decided that I’d stay inside.

No one sung Auld Lang Syne. Without me there it was a non-event. There was no family festivity. There was no fun. I just sat and watched the New Year fireworks on the TV.

And why bother marking it, when it’s all been so shit? Last year was good for me, but not for the rest of the family. I barely go into any detail on their various disasters now. I don’t want to, it’s too depressing. This year will probably be the same, except I feel like it may be worse for the family. There is too much illness. Too much bad fortune. Too much bad behaviour. I look at my oldest nephew, who turns 18 soon, and behaving like a total dick. He can be treated as an adult when he acts like one.

Then there’s my youngest brother, who is also a self-absorbed narcissist. He does nothing for anyone. He doesn’t even wash a dish. Aged 22, he also seems to be encouraging the nephew to be even worse.

Then there’s my younger nephews, aged 5 and 3, who are, frankly, just weird. Strange children, they are noisy and loud, like children should be, and then act like they’re deaf, dumb and mute when anyone walks into the room who isn’t their mum, dad or grandparents. They seem extremely socially inadequate. Could it be because they are glued to phones and iPads constantly playing stupid games? The smartphone era has a lot to answer for. They can speak, but they often choose not to, instead just shouting a noise, or nodding.

So perhaps my first wish for 2017 is actually that my family get better. There is just too much general bad blood and stupidity floating around. Could 2017 please bring some respite from this? I wish my nephew would grow up. I wish my brothers would start to behave like adults. I wish them some good and lucky breaks.

As for me, I hope that me and J can grow closer together. We’ve drifted a bit over the last few months, and it’s all my fault. I will maybe go into detail in the future. But suffice it to say we’re just struggling a bit at the moment. I still love him, a lot, but I need to find a better way of coping with the fact that we don’t really have anything to do with our free time except go out for walks, watch crap on the TV, play games on the TV, and very rarely have sex. The latter is part of my sadness at times. Sex is fun, but most of the time feels dull and perfunctory. So maybe 2017 can improve our relationship somehow…

Thirdly – can we possibly find a different business? I know it’s not going to happen, but for some reason I am starting to feel our days as a business are numbered. I could be wrong. We may still have a good few years at it. But i am increasingly looking for a change. I don’t want to start from new. I want to buy an existing business. I know this is crazy, but I just can’t imagine that I’d like to still be doing this rubbish by the age of 40. That’s a modest long term goal, surely?

Alternatively, I’d settle for making the business less stressful. My feeling is growing that, if not this year then next, we should simply consolidate. No new clients. Just look after the current ones. And maybe close down the repairs angle. If we could manage without the money I’d do it in a flash. Maybe this is a silly idea right now. Money is king. We need to pile up fat stacks of it.

So finally – could maybe 2017 bring a better hobby? A hobby that both me and J can find fun and productive. Something that can bring us together. It might be sport. We both like swimming. Or badminton. Something that gets us out and about, and is reasonable exercise. J is always on about it, in the hope that it will make him more shapely and lose the folds of skin that he’s left with having lost lots of weight since he was a big podge. That amused me for some reason. Podge is funny.

So come on then 2017. Let’s see what you bring…