One Sunday afternoon, I rode past a skate park, and saw dozens of people gathered, enjoying the day. Since the pool had stayed closed during the pandemic, there was graffiti over the facility like in a number of different neighborhoods, and little kids watched bigger kids fly through the air. When I made my way back to my neighborhood later that night, I saw a plain white car pull out in front of traffic, but just before I got annoyed, I saw all of these cars with details pulling into the parking lot, and I saw yet another gathering managed by residents, complete with kids admiring all the vehicles. In places without steady control due to hatred, such spontaneity is possible, and it reminds those who heard about resistance why to continue the fight. However, when there is an unceasing effort to destroy people for no good reason, we all know that such community solidarity and connectedness is living on borrowed time.
This year has been such a challenge for so many people, and December has been the worst month for everyone. Even though over 750,000 people died from a preventable illness, the corporate overlords care nothing for that as they shove the demand for more consumption down all of our throats. Meanwhile, the politicians who extracted their validation from everyone last year have abandoned their posts, riches in hand, as they prepare to bunker in their silos, mocking those who made their careers possible. The rest of us are somewhat numb, bracing for the administrative crashes yet to come and environmental catastrophes that have become the new normal; we can no longer maintain the façade that so many overlords demand we keep in place for their comfort. Our only comfort is that we are not naïve enough to believe that anyone is coming to rescue us, and that we will be forced to endure more pain, because that is the nectar of oppressors: relentless pain without relief while demanding a positive reputation.
Many people say that those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it, but I disagree. Most people in the United States were taught history, and for the most part, we remember the majority of the mythology we learned, which is why July 4, 1776 is still relevant despite the Declaration of Independence being written by a slave-holding rapist. In Texas, we remember the Alamo because we have conveniently “forgotten” that the battle was to preserve slavery, which is why the state became an independent entity for a short time before joining the United States. This history has been taught repeatedly, and people remember it, but the problem is that we leave out most of the story so that monsters can look like heroes and we never address the shameful legacies of harm.
The last five years have been almost a mirror image of the nation during the last century, complete with a global pandemic. The nation had been enduring increasing violence due to the Reign of White Terror when Black communities were being burned and pillaged, and Indigenous communities were being ravaged and shrunk. Some believe that the rise in police brutality and the terrorist attacks are the only violence, and those people are complicit in not recognizing that the steady displacement of BIPOCQ communities has continued without cessation, with monsters continuing to scream about the need to build more housing. Instead of redlining to steal property that the dominant narrative has found desirable, politicians have switched to gerrymandering to take away the political power of residents for the fight against displacement. Moreover, speculation has become so insane that people are gambling over assets that do not exist in reality, forcing everyone to continue to play along, and since they own the media that sings the praises of this fantasy, people are helpless to stop them. Overlords continue demanding further profits, failing to see that nobody can compete with such insatiable greed.
What the public has witnessed over the past few years is a plethora of impossibly stupid behavior that has made so many people unfathomably sad. There is no recovering to a normal when so many people would rather have control than connection, and it is irrational to assume that people under one’s control can feel true intimacy with their overlords. So many efforts have gone into working to restore the wrongs of the past, and so many of us who have worked in the arena have endured sneering condescension while others take credit for our efforts that have failed due to an unwillingness to evolve. We have all worked so hard to gaslight ourselves into believing that if we just do one more thing, the overlords will see us as people, pull back, and find other ways to intrigue themselves that cause no harm. Sadly, we have all been shown that we are doomed to perpetuate the cycle of brief interest and fervor, followed by boredom and disengagement.
The next week that I passed by that skate park, the graffiti was gone, and there was almost no one at the park, certainly no one rooting for anyone else or anyone being inspired. The puppy I used to see in the homeless camps has been kept either in the tents or with its owners due to the construction going on in the park, making space for the new construction that is already planned; the campers know that their time is almost over, and violence will rain down upon them to preserve a pristine view for those who the city truly values. Still, in another neighborhood, people are gathering to enjoy what little time there is left, knowing that developers and bureaucrats are already begun passing files back and forth in the glee of destruction.