Welcome to the second stream of consciousness blog I’ve written this week. And what a week it’s been. I mean, I’ve travelled to London, started making a lovely t-shirt for a comic con, run some polls about Disney on Twitter and, oh yeah, WITNESSED THE METLDOWN OF THE ENTIRE DAMN PLANET.
It’s been a terrible week in a terrible year. This election, and the Brexit referendum in the UK before it, aren’t just votes. They’re not handovers of power where things will essentially be the same, just a teeny tiny bit different. This is a massive change. A monumental change. A shifting of attitudes to race, gender, sexuality… HUMANITY that nobody can ignore. No matter how much we may all want to. “We drank the poison,” Stephen Colbert said at the end of his Election Night special. Drank it and lapped up every last drop.
The weeks, months and years to come will bear out how much damage that poison does. Because it will do damage. We can’t say that things will be ok, though I understand why people do. It’s a comfort and at times like this, we need comfort. We can’t say that we’ll all get through it either. Many will, but the destructive attitudes put in motion by Trump and Brexit will cost lives, either directly or indirectly. Already, a number of trans teenagers in the US have taken their own lives. People of colour, gay people, those who have suffered sexual assault may, tragically, suffer the same fate.
People will cry. People will struggle. People will suffer. People will shout. People will scream. People will mourn the tragedies that have happened, the tragedies that are happening now, the tragedies that will happen in the future. People will wonder how people could do and think and say the things they do about other people. People will lament how people could break things so badly. Some people will even enjoy breaking them. Sadly, that’s what some people do.
But people will fix things. Because that’s also what people do.
The dark seems so scary because it’s a representation of the unknown. The unknown scares us and fear encourages us to do dark things. It’s a vicious cycle, and the only way to break it is to shine a light on it. That’s not easy and maybe it’s a little naive to think it will solve all the problems in the world. It won’t. Life isn’t as simple as that and these problems aren’t as simple as that. I wish they were.
But light is the beginning, the torch that helps you find the mains switch and restore power. Even finding that flashlight is difficult, of course, but maybe it can be done through fictional worlds. So let’s think of fiction as we ruminate on reality.
Let’s think of Supergirl, a rounded female hero whose sister recently came out as gay.
Let’s think of Finn, a soldier with a conscience who risked his life to say ‘no more’.
Let’s think Kamala Kahn, a Muslim Ms. Marvel helping to smash prejudice among comic books’ young readers.
Let’s think of Wonder Woman, a decades old icon whose unveiling as bi-sexual shows that things can and do change.
Let’s think of Rey, who was abandoned and alone but felt the Force surge through her.
Let’s think of Elsa, who coped with anxiety thanks to the power of love.
Let’s think of Jyn Erso, who’ll lead a rebellion built on hope.
Let’s think of every character anyone has ever found solace in, for they are the light we need. They are the friends we need.
A moment. And another one. And another one…
Trump, Brexit, and the worst of their support think the world is terrible. And they’re so poisoned by that belief that they don’t understand how anyone could see it any other way. They’re wrong and they must be proven wrong. Through compassion, through caring, through empathy.
When the night is dark and the atmosphere thick with sadness, such things seem harder to achieve than ever. And yet, they are more important to achieve than ever.
So, find your fictional hero, seek solace in them and take heart. Whisper to yourself your faith in them; even though they’re not real, the impact they have on you is. Don’t feel alone, don’t feel scared, don’t feel lost. Because you’re not. You’re with someone. You just need to say it.
I’m with Supergirl
I’m with Finn
I’m with Kamala
I’m with Wonder Woman
I’m with Rey
I’m with Elsa
I’m with Erso
The election is just one moment. There are many more to come. We can make them better.