The horrible news of yesterday was not unexpected, thanks to the leak back in May, but it still hurt. Even sitting here in Canada, it hurt. I spent far too much time yesterday doomscrolling, seeing more evidence that our largest neighbour -- and still one of the big superpowers -- was coming apart and turning into a fascistic hellhole. And that's on top of the fact that morally-bankrupt politicians here in Canada want to take a similar approach while the centrist parties seem hard-pressed to muster up the competence to truly deal with them, and of course, the anti-immigrant, homophobic, misogynistic hatred we see on many fronts, and the advancing apocalypse of climate change.
Many days, these days, I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could return to a simpler day in my childhood when nuclear war seemed on the wane, and climate change seemed more manageable. Times when all mainstream political parties seemed able to reason with each other, even while they came down on different sides on issues. The time when the Berlin Wall and then Apartheid fell. I would have to try and find some way to take my triumphs and the people I love from my current life back with me, but wouldn't we all be safer, and happier?
Then I remember that, while these times seemed safer and happier for me, a cis-gen white male (even if he is of mixed-race descent), that safety and happiness was harder to come by for so many people back in the day. LGTBQ individuals couldn't marry, were persecuted by religious fanatics and the casual homophobia that just seemed baked into society. Many were only just coming out of the closet because it was just marginally safer (and less criminal) to do so. Blacks and other racial minorities were locked out of our economic systems and didn't have nearly the voice we hear now. Residential schools were still being imposed upon Indigenous Peoples. Go back further and you have the Asian Exclusion Act, Jim Crow, segregation, and much more. And let's not forget how close we came to nuclear war, and ending our future decades before it happened.
So, while yesterday may seem a peaceful time of innocence (aside from some school bullying), it was only so for me and people like me: white heterosexual males who were the undisputed top class of Western society. For racial minorities, for LGTBQ+ people, for our First Nations, and for women, this time was very uncomfortable, even deadly due to direct and casual racism, sexism and homophobia, not to mention laws that criminalized their activities and existence or banned their medical needs.
And that's when I realize, this is what Republican leaders want, and what many forces within the Conservative Party of Canada are calling for. This is what the incels dream of. To regain any sort of prominence, however unearned, they seek to impose so much pain and discomfort on others, again, even though that pain and discomfort hasn't truly left.
It is, in a word, evil.
So, time travel is not the solution. Like it or not, where we are now may still not be comfortable for most of us, but it's still progress from where we've been. It's the fact that progress has been made that some forces are reacting with fear, hatred and violence to desperately turn back the clock.
As David Suzuki said, decades ago, there are no "good old days". There is just today. And today is better than yesterday because, unlike yesterday, today still gives us some control over tomorrow.