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Yes, 2018 was a bad year, but this one is somehow worse. I, like many, am feeling the burn of compassion fatigue, but we need to keep going.
Those who survived 2018 recall it to be a very bad year. The fat lady rehashed her anthology with new versions of old covers, which served as that summer’s soundtrack, as we did the time warp, jaws aghast, watching the red hat continue to wash over America, and the Kingdom that was no longer United. I, like many, was counting the days left with the pained expression and gleeful hope that 2019 would be different.
It has been different, insofar as it has been worse. I’d rather not take a snappy jaunt down the street of what’s happened, nor would I electroshock my synapses with the knowledge that it’s only June, but allow me to wearily tie my shoes in an apathetic, single bow. Last year almost seems nostalgic by comparison. We scoffed at the nation’s insistence that the application of sand-paper on a cricket ball mattered. We picked on Peter Dutton, because we were glad we didn’t get him as PM. We laughed at Malcolm Turnbull enforcing a parliament-wide “bonk ban” to ensure Barnaby Joyce kept his member in his drawers. However, there was a feeling of revelry to it, like the last party the alcoholic throws before checking into rehab. 2019 is the year of the Cold Turkey, and the walls are closing in.
The economy is truly in the toilet, seeing the worst levels since the recession of ’91, those on Manus have chosen suicide, and most of the country wilfully chose Scott Morrison as their leader, purely because they were stupid. In America, they’ve decided to criminalise abortion in numerous states and the Kardashians are duckfacing their way through their Handmaid’s Tale dress-up party. Stop the world, I want to get off.
On Friday, we celebrate into International Selfie Day; a day that should be about smiley, harmless hubris, not hiding in the dark, frowning with fingers in ears, attempting to avoid the grim, meat-hook certainties of life’s accidents. Perhaps the meta-virus we’re all suffering from is compassion fatigue, a condition that forces us to not discuss the issue because the breadth of it is too wide. Put simply, the struggle is real, and always present.
Since the election, I find myself unattached. Too often since, I find myself facing topics, “sitting this one out”, and later suppressing feelings of guilt because of it. It all feels hopeless. The war on the poor, Morrison rubbing religion on everything, the fact that the environmental apocalypse will come as soon as 2050. The media has finally come to the party, questioning the awfulness of the current administration after it is too late to do anything about it. It’s a bad time to be everyone who doesn’t own a second house, or a boat the taxpayer inadvertently paid for.
The Prime Minister has promised that he’d burn for us, but has decided to fuck off on holiday instead.
I suppose the lesson here is about noting our resilience. 2016 was historically poor before 2017 bested it before it was supplanted by 2018. It is our sustained, I know we’re tired, done, and disenchanted. But we’ve long taken it upon ourselves to dole out the criticism. Not that it always works, which it certainly doesn’t, but if we can’t rely on our media to call bullshit, the rest of us certainly will. We’re the generation that instantly became old on 9/11. We were raised on a brand of horror that constantly reinvents itself.
The average person can’t stop off-shore detention or increase Newstart, but we can stop each other from giving ourselves to the abyss. It might seem hollow in the larger scheme of things, but this vanilla, westernised fight is important, as it’s something that motivates us to continue caring. After all, we placed these people in power, it’s our responsibility to do something about it.