If Politics Feels Hopeless, Think 25 Years Ahead

In 25 years, Donald Trump will be dead

The future is now and we live in the past

In 25 years, Donald Trump will be dead. Within 30 years most Fox News viewers will be gone. This is how political change really happens. Old political actors just die. New ideas come to life.

These ideas aren’t necessarily good. They’re just new. The organizing of today creates the organization of the future. That’s why it’s important to do what’s right, even if it feels impossible today. Because you’re not changing today, you’re changing the future.

Cause And Effect

We live in the past. Laws, customs, beliefs — these are all made in the past. This sucks for the present, because we’re all the slaves of some long-dead economists. It is hopeful for the future, however, because we can free (or fuck with) them.

Did an economist write this?

The simplest way to understand this is children. If you 3D print a human in your womb, feed, clothe and teach it; in 25 years it’ll be out there affecting the world. It’s the same with ideas. In fact, younger people physically carry ideas into the future.

Cause and effect on a political scale is generational. Life cycles, not news cycles. Decades, not years. This is somewhat hobbled by the fact that politicians never fucking retire, but the ideas circulate nonetheless.

We Live In The Past

We don’t live in the present. We live in the 80s. In America, both Republicans and Democrats still live in Ronald Reagan’s world. The framing is still business good government bad, with the effects being felt today. Hence today, in 2021, the stock market is going up while Americans are sick and freezing to death. This is small government. It doesn’t work. It’s tempting to look at the dickhead Republicans today, but they’re essentially mindless. The cause was actually 40 years ago, longer if you count the economists that Reagan distilled.

China also lives in the 80s. ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’ came from Deng Xioping. His ideas about hybridizing capitalism (“black cat or white cat, if it can catch mice, it’s a good cat”) are what’s still driving China today. We’re all in the fucking 80s. Look at our music, TV, our entire construction of reality.

This is cyclical. Generational call and response. It’s actually obvious, that the past shapes the present, but we don’t act like it’s obvious. We act like people in the news are causing things today, and not historical figures from the past.

Going back to America, the current dominant thinking is conservative. Even Democrats think within a conservative frame. This conservative movement was in turn a response to the Civil Rights Movement and the New Deal (hence cyclical). White people organized around segregation — using abortion as a shibboleth — and used churches, think-tanks, and talk radio before taking statehouses and eventually storming the Capitol. The Republican Party didn’t just become this way. People organized to make it this way.

Democrats since Clinton keep trying to triangulate to some middle ground, but the middle is always moving. Conservatives are actually better focused on moving the middle. It’s not that they’re strategic, they just don’t give a fuck. What’s vital to understand is that the future isn’t the average of the day, it’s the future. It’s something else.

The Future Is Now

Luckily, no one needs to depend on the political parties to drive change. They’re actually the last people to get it. The Republican Party was dragged into fascism by talk radio and the Tea Party and then Trump. The movement moved them, they are not the movement.

The Democratic Party won’t lead change (it’s essentially another capitalist party) but they can be moved. Black Lives Matter is the largest movement in US history, give it time and something will budge. The Civil Rights Movement looked crazy at the time, but it really changed things. Now America has to do it again.

Democrats look at polling like astrology, to tell them the future. They need to get out there and make it.

A Green New Deal, Medicare for all, defund the police, prison abolition; these all seem fringe now, but that’s good. The future is on the fringes, not in the middle. Obviously, right? The average of today is just today.

Thinking Ahead

There is, of course, no guarantee that better ideas win. Behold Republicans today. They’ve gone from preppy and structurally violent to preppers and actually violent within my generation, and these fascists are still out-organizing you. In the medium term, America is still fucked. This can feel hopeless, but that’s not my point.

The point is that liberals saying ‘oh that’s not realistic’ is not being realistic. Reality is a construct. We make it up, generations in advance. The future is, by definition, not realistic now.

Generation by generation, we reap what we sow. So sow better. At some point God will do a hard refresh and these motherfuckers will die. The question is really the children we raise, the ideas they carry, and the organizing we do today.

So, if the present seems hopeless, remember to think 25 years ahead. That’s when your causes will actually take effect. That means you can try and do the right thing, even if it’s not the right time. Your time will come.

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