Once upon a time, there was a genre of fiction called dystopian. Generally, this meant, our world but different, with nuances of our reality typically defined by a totalitarian or repressive leadership that meant the everyday lives of their people were arduous at one end of the scale, and impossible at the other. Think 1984, The Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451 and others.
Once upon a time, if you wanted to push yourself into some lateral thinking, to ponder our society and view worst case scenarios from the safety of behind a page, dystopian fiction was where you would head to.
Aren’t we lucky to live in the society we do today, where such escapism isn’t necessary to contemplate what life would be like if it was our world, but different?
Just by turning on the news, opening our eyes even, every day, we get to witness and experience a smorgasbord of dystopian principles. Discrimination because of race, religion, sex, appearance, orientation, nationality – the list goes on. Leaders who seek power to benefit themselves and their peers, where the Proles can be denied things like healthcare because of any of those things above. Can be denied healthcare because they’re a certain kind of sick, have been attacked – mostly can be denied healthcare because they’re not wealthy enough to pay their way through the system or aren’t in the leader’s back pockets. Leaders who want everything in their vision, yet deny leaders of other places wanting the same things for their people. Leaders who manipulate, coerce, try to influence the way media and information is presented then accuse the media itself for bullying them when they can’t get their own way. Leaders who call elections at the exact time that is optimum for their party to win because the opposition is a shambles. Leaders that force their people to treat them as gods. Leaders who belittle, detest, despite anyone who is less than them, have no interest in what it’s really like to live in this world when you don’t have the resources, the money to get by. Leaders who deny there is poverty, and homelessness. Leaders who throw parties to celebrate the potential death of millions because of their convictions. Leaders who will lie, say anything to win, can’t win fairly, only win because of tarnishing the names of their opponents, leaders who-
Fairly sure you get the picture.
We have got ourselves into a situation that even authors with the cruellest visions for fiction couldn’t imagine. We’re living in a time when every day we wake up, there’s a new way to be prejudiced, discriminated against, denied basic human rights, something to worry about. We’re existing at a point of history where society has taken huge steps backwards, proving George Santanyana correct, when he said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Only, it’s not that we don’t remember, it’s that we choose to ignore it, spin it into a different tale to fit our needs.
How lucky are we, as one people, to have the ability to change all of that? How lucky are we, as one people, to be capable of doing something, no matter how small, to make this world better for everyone? We might be tiny, individual, mere butterflies in the scheme of things. But even butterflies can effect change; we can’t forget that, especially not now.
We can make a difference – all of us can. And I don’t know about you, but some days when things feel too bleak, look too difficult to deal with, I struggle to imagine even a happy for now, never mind a happily ever after. But we deserve one, don’t we?
Do good things, do what you can; for you, for other people, even just to fuck with those who are trying to crush us. We deserve better.