The Left needs to get its shit together. And while we wait for that to happen, the exhausted, silent moderate centre needs to make their influence felt.
No more can it mean unengaged, silent, uninterested, disdainful. And we are all of those things (well, I would hardly describe myself as silent :P), but for the most part, most of us who consider ourselves of the centre, will admit to feeling abandoned, exhausted, disenchanted and disgusted with the status quo, and with a sense of helplessness that justifies our withdrawal from the national debate.
While the right frets over the deficit and Safe Schools turning kids gay and the left fight over trigger warnings and identity politics and politically correct text-books, the rest of us are trying to earn a fucking crust and pay the bills.
Centrist can no longer be a dirty word, nor code for “investment-banker”. It is time to take back the middle.
We couldn’t give a shit about gay marriage, just legalise it already, or care enough to know WTF 18C is (a section in the Racial Discrimination Act which criminalises persecution, harassment or exclusion on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion or race). Why are our elected officials wasting precious time and resources fighting ideological causes we couldn’t give a shit about? We are all just busy trying to get by.
While the New York Times is lending column inches to academics like Ulrich Baer to argue that free speech “invalidates people’s humanity,” we’re worried that our rent or mortgage, electricity and gas bills are about to double or triple and we find ourselves 12-months down the road without a pot to piss in.
But meanwhile a conglomerate of the world’s most evil people are building a treehouse in the Rose Garden of the White House. Though The Force is slightly stronger in Washington this week coz Trump, and Co were in Saudi Arabia, apparently harnessing the power of an orb to kill healthcare and what semblance of democracy we have left before drilling Yellowstone Park and hiking up taxes for another billionaire tax cut.
Democracy is fast beginning to resemble JG Ballard’s dystopian parody of a class-war on steroids in the critically acclaimed High-Rise.
The right is throwing logs onto the fire as it watches the world burn, but The Left is too busy fighting amongst themselves, counting the fossil fuel points, and tweeting about micro-agressions and trigger warnings.
At UC Berkeley violence is being used as an activist tool to shut down events and ideas The Left considers too dangerous to be allowed to be spoken out loud.
Words are considered more dangerous than actual weapons, such is the Left’s ultimate virtue.
I am so infuriated and frustrated with the left’s disinterest in addressing inequality. Or the fact that wages have stagnated while productivity has exploded. Filling boardrooms with women may be important for feminism but it won’t do very much to address the millions of other women living in poverty.
And do you think anyone worried about where they will lay their head tonight gives a fuck about your bathroom politics?
I’m not saying that language isn’t important, or that the status quo doesn’t need a good fucking shake up, but we aren’t going to do that by fighting among ourselves on the internet. Patrolling the webs for offences committed by people who are not elected officials is a distraction that will only hasten our own enslavement.
There is no room for intent in an age of hyper-vigilance. Everything must be politicised. Dissected. Everything has hidden meanings we apparently must be protected from. Nothing can be enjoyed for what it is or taken at its word.
Universities are offering counselling to students offended by a Mexican themed party and any other culturally appropriative events which might bring harm to the authenticity of our cultural identities.
The politicisation of speech is now so widely felt that we might not even understand what masters we are are serving. Shame culture has become such an ingrained aspect of internet use that we are all foot-soldiers in the war for hearts and minds: stamping out ideas that conflict with particular ideology.
Can we all just calm down please and focus.
The world is at a very serious crossroads.
If we are going to be vigilant about anything let’s be vigilant about that.
Soon corrosive language on the internet will be a problem we long to have.
If we held our elected leaders to the same standards as strangers on the internet, frankly, democracy would be in much better shape.
But so long as we’re all minding our Ps & Qs we can all enjoy the coming apocalypse in the most culturally sensitive and politically appropriate manner.
Claire Connelly is working on her first book, How The World Really Works, a guide to recognising rhetorical red flags and immunising yourself against bullshit. You should definitely buy it when it comes out. A podcast of the same name will also be launching in the coming months. Stay tuned!