This Week…You Can’t Stop Progress


"You can't stop progress, but you can help decide what is progress and what isn't." – Ashleigh Brilliant

What is there to say that hasn't already been said? Once again we were wrong, we seemingly overestimated our capacity for both humanity and sanity. I was as guilty of it as anyone else. As I went to sleep at 4:30am on 9th November I quite literally closed my eyes and hoped that everything would be fine when I opened them again. If that isn’t a euphemism for the state of the world right now I’m not sure what is. 

I don’t think there’s any definitive answer to how we got here. There are catalysts of course, an anti-establishment anger shared by many that was stoked by one side and personified in the other. People felt forgotten in different ways, to these people the powers that be made it impossible for them to realise their version of ‘the American dream’, an undefined term that’s completely subjective to every single US citizen. People were afraid, but the lines were continuously blurred in what exactly they were afraid of. 

The key word here is ‘lose’. People felt they had nothing more to lose, while others were scared to lose what they felt was being taken away from them. In the same vein as Brexit people romanticised the life of their parents and grandparents, people saw globalisation and diversity as an attack on their version of what it is to be American. That version of America, and indeed the world, I hope is a world that is fading no matter how the events of Tuesday played out, and it is  important to remember that in the years to come. 

Perhaps we’ve all become too addicted to politics, the reality TV for those who despise the prospect of reality television. Maybe politics is supposed to be boring so that it never bleeds into the world of celebrity culture, becoming a real life soap opera where you see politicians as exaggerated caricatures to vilify yet believe that what they say is all part of a wider, fictional plot. We talk about it amongst our peers at work, we share the best bits of it on social media and political speeches become quotable anecdotes to emblazon on t-shirts and hats. Perhaps we’ve all become too engrossed in politics in a way that our involvement in the subject is not as an activist, but as someone who stares into a goldfish bowl. 

I sincerely hope that this is the last, dying cry of the ‘disenfranchised’, a term used to describe those who halt the progress of the marginalised to grasp on to the progress of themselves. While this may indeed seem like a reset button on progress the world will continue to be an ever-changing, unstoppable force of increasing diversity, the colours will continue to change and our identity will continue to be redefined by the cultures of the world no matter how hard people try to stop that happening. It is a scary time of course, absolutely petrifying in fact, but you can’t stop progress, you can only delay it. 


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