Power to the people

All we need now is the dawning of the zombie apocalypse to complete the collective sense that the world’s going to hell in a handcart. I say “collective” because I’ve not met anyone, not even the most determined optimists, who’s managing to stay emotionally buoyant during these soul crushing times. Even the old “things can only get better” refrain feels ludicrously out of sync with the oppressive gloom which has settled across the land. 

If it’s not ever-increasing numbers of ordinary Scots stuck in the daily grip of grinding money worries, it’s the stream of soul-destroying images of dead children and utter destruction in Gaza. Add to that the meltdown of our political system, public services in freefall, potholes the size of lunar craters, and rain, relentless bloody rain.

The recent biblical levels of downpour are, of course, trivial compared to events unfolding in the Middle East, but the deluge serves to reinforce the sense that we’re all doomed. Even hardened climate crisis deniers must be staying schtum as they wade their way through rain-sodden Scotland this spring. The leaden skies and boggy, soggy conditions drag spirits down, and make us fear that this IS the future. Who wouldn’t be worried that drowned daffodils and storm battered buildings are what we can expect every year until finally the whole planet is submerged? Or incinerated. 

Lordy, life is no laughing matter in these bleak days. The lack of bright, crisp, morale boosting spring sunshine merely makes it harder to overcome feelings of utter futility. But overcome them we must. Somehow or other, we’ve got to find ways to regroup, to find ways out of the stinking morass we’re in. Unfortunately, revolutionary fervour feels a long way off, but surely I’m not the only seething Scot searching for conduits of change to pour my energies into?

In the absence of obvious channels, the problem is knowing exactly HOW to force change. Like almost everyone else, I feel paralysed by powerlessness. Even the ballot box no longer offers much scope for radicalism, or alternative approaches. Taking to the streets remains an option, and I’m certainly angry enough, but TBH, I’m also a bit nervous about parading around with a placard proclaiming “Everything Is Shit”.

Does this mean defeat? Is the only option to build a bunker and retreat until the world finally gives up the ghost? Not on your nelly. It’s not easy in the face of multiple barriers, but there are still reasons to be cheerful, to reignite determination and make a difference. Or at least, keep trying.

So yes, I’ve got grand/vague plans to save society, end poverty and stop war, but in the meantime, I’m taking inspiration and energy from some of the people I meet in the course of my travels. People who don’t buckle in the face of gloom, despair and bloody massive socio-economic problems. People who protest, find answers, fight for change and don’t take no for an answer. People who never, ever throw in the towel. All power to those people.

Photo by Glenn Abelson on Unsplash