|The March of Progress?|
If I hear one more person say that things are getting better I am going to scream. Or cry. Or both.
When I am bringing people down by expressing my current world view they stop me mid-rant to remind me that, "things are getting better". But are they, really?
Oh yes. The gays have it better. Women have it better. Blacks have it better. The poor have it better. Aboriginal people have never had it as good. And peace is breaking out all over the place, while the environment is improving!
Usually it is a well off consumer class privileged individual sharing the optimism. They might even tell me to "lighten up" or "get over it" or "move on" so that I can join in and enjoy the privileged life that we can all have if we work hard enough.
What I want to do in those times is take them, and find someone who is gay and ask them if they agree that "things are getting better". Maybe a ask a gay person from Orlando, Florida.
I want to ask a woman if she thinks that things are getting better. Is receiving 77% of the wage of a male doing the same work evidence of this improved world?
Maybe they can visit a First Nations reserve here in Canada and see if the people there share this Polyana view of things. We could ask about the lack of clean water, or adequate housing, or the persistent racist attitudes of their settler neighbours.
And how about the perpetual war that the planet has been in for the past decade? Do Syrians think that things are getting better? Libyans? Egyptians? Ukrainians? Iraqis?
I used to be an optimist, too. But come on - our planet has never been in as rough of shape as it is now. We have had 10,000 years of civilization to get things right, and what do we get? Trump and his ilk.
Come on - we should have nailed this thing several thousand years ago.
Are things getting better? Perhaps. But as Neil Young said in Vampire Blues, the "good times are comin', but they're sure comin' slow". We are moving at a snails pace when we aren't actually going backwards.
If things are going to accelerate enough to get us back on track, we are going to have to have a simple living revolution the likes of which we have never seen before. Happy, comfortable consumer/slaves are going to have to get out of the bubble they have been in for a few decades, and start talking to the rest of the planet that is suffering in order to prop up their unsustainable lifestyles.
Only then can we work to make this a simpler, more sane world where everyone can truly say "things are getting better". And getting better now. Right now.
If not now, then when?