The end is nigh.
Recently, I have been thinking about the end a lot as we approach the end of the semester, the end of classes, and the end of Obama’s presidency.
Time itself seems to be shrinking.
These past eight years have been pretty momentous in terms of the amount of social change we were able to achieve. Though I can be overly critical of Obama’s administration and politics in general, I think American politics-as-usual has had a pretty good run. However, in the wake of the elections, politics-as-usual may be something in the past as both major American parties undergo serious reconstruction and re-conceptualize their respective directions.
On a personal level, despite the emotional rollercoasters I have been subject to, I had a pretty good semester as well. Sometimes, I worry that I, like America, peaked during this past semester, and everything is going downhill from here.
The future is always a scary prospect, and endings can be pretty shitty sometimes, but shittyness itself must end as well. The future may traumatize us and leave us with scars that we will never forget. Some of us may not even survive the immediate future. I am scared of what American politics may look like in these next four years, and, selfishly, I am also scared of how my next semester will turn out—but they too shall pass.
No matter what, it is our duty to continue to love one another and to remember those who are left behind. To paraphrase Professor Atshan, choosing to love is a political act because you are stating that you want other people to thrive. As American politics transforms itself under the new administration, we must not forget our mutual commitments to one another in creating meaning along with the love that we espouse.
The hackneyed Dr. Seuss quote goes: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” Why can’t we do both? I am happy that some have always chosen to love, and hence, I will smile. Similarly, I will always mourn the diminishing of love.
During the Democratic primary, I supported Senator Sanders’ insurgency of love. The pain of Bernie’s loss hurt for a while. The intrinsic fact that he lost did not faze me; the disturbing thing was that a movement rooted in love and solidarity seemed to have faltered in the face of larger and more heartless political mechanisms. Bernie is just a cute, old man that was nice enough to offer a helping hand and a vision to fix our broken shit.
Lest we wish to maintain the economic and political systems that have helped to produce our current cultural and political climate, we as a country need to radically rethink our priorities. Hyper-individualistic corporatism is simply unsustainable, and it continues to shock me that some choose profits over people. This distorted form of capitalism we live in now must end. To be clear, this particular form of capitalism that I speak of is one where larger conglomerates hold oligopolies and strangleholds on various sectors in the economy—one where money speaks louder than people’s voices under Citizens United.
There once was a time when liberals and conservatives alike agreed that supporting people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and fighting for universal healthcare is simply the right thing to do. Now, somewhat paradoxical to their name, it seems hard to advocate for doing the right thing without the right labeling you as some radical communist. At the same time, many on the left choose to pay lip service to historically marginalized communities while sitting on a high pedestal of false superiority in a liberal bubble and fail to adequately interact and understand the struggles of the same communities they claim to advocate for. Both sides consistently demonize one another, and the mere conceptualization of having two distinct ‘sides’ is part of the problem.
Now, more than ever, we must choose to recognize each other as humans. More specifically, we must recognize the complexities and multi-faceted nature of everyone around us and acknowledge all of our commonalities and differences alike. We must wish to see others thrive for everything that they are and everything that we are not. We must choose to love.
All things must end, but love must live on.