May 08 2015

“The people are unstoppable / Another world is possible”

This has long been my favorite protest chant. For me, it gets to the heart of the matter: another world is possible. If I’m honest with myself, most days, I don’t really believe that the world will get better. We often present history as a kind of positive progression: the world has only been getting better, more tolerant, and less poor as the years go by. I don’t feel that, though. What I see is imperialism, consolidation of power, and rampant racism/sexism/etc. Liberalism presents itself as an end of history, the final stop on the line. That’s unacceptable to me, but I usually feel like the only one.

The start of this post sounds depressing, but I’m only writing it because I actually feel positive, invigorated. I’m writing this post from the Barcelona airport, about to board the plane home. It took me a while to figure this out, but what I realized is this: getting out of the US every once in a while really helps me feel better. This isn’t to say that things are actually better in other places, that’s not my point. My point is that It’s not something like “European-style parlamentary democracy is better than a bicameral legislature” or something like that, just look at the UK election results. It’s that the street signs are different. The money isn’t the same. Familiar foods have changes. I see 漢字 instead of the Latin alphabet. Whatever is unusual about whatever part of the world I am in, it’s the smallest differences that have the largest impact on me and my state of mind.

When I go somewhere else, I can feel the difference. And difference is possibility. And possibility is hope, for a better world, for a better humanity.