Yesterday I spent the day canvassing for Labour. I met lovely like minded people; I felt good about getting a flustered 81 year old Maureen to the polling station to exercise her democratic right to vote. I felt hope in humanity. By midnight I was in despair. We have the most far right government of my lifetime; a media that is their personal propaganda machine and a proven liar and cheat as prime minister. Our human rights and democracy itself is under threat. Putin’s plans to destabilise Western democracies are going rather well both sides of the Atlantic.
This morning my fear and despair are telling me I can run away from this shit show one way or another. I could emigrate – New Zealand seems attractive. Or I could retreat into my middle class bubble. I’ll be ok economically as long as I stay healthy. Or I could get pissed. Drown my sorrows; block out the uncomfortable truths.
All of these selfish solutions cement their victory though. What I’ve learnt from my experiences canvassing is that when humans get together in pursuit of a better world for all; its powerful, uplifting and nurturing for the soul. We weren’t powerful enough to win this time; people’s anger is still being played out through Brexit rather than the real issues. Some of the poorest areas voted Tory for fucks sake! If we stay connected and reach out repeatedly to those people though; listening, caring and doing what we can to help; they will know who really has their interests at heart when this government fails to deliver what it promised. The Labour centrists will want us to chase the middle ground again; but that is now so far right it would betray all our principles. We have to hold firm with belief in our social democratic plans; right policies, wrong time.
I’m going to allow myself today to wallow in my despair. Tonight I’m seeing good friends to listen to good music – that will lift our spirits. Then I’m going to make sure I stay connected with those likeminded people. I’m going to get active in my local Labour Party; join more protests; keep speaking up and speaking out all year round. Connection is the opposite of addiction. Connection will nurture the vestiges of my hope, give me the energy to continue the fight, to stand up and be counted instead of running scared.