A ramble I am not quite qualified to ramble about
Too many thoughts and not enough sleep
I’ll be honest: I didn’t really know what to write about this week. I still have a lot of internal debates, but none seem more important than the election that’s happening in only a handful of days. There’s a feeling of impending doom that even if Biden wins, we are too far down this rabbit hole to ever emerge whole again, that the Democratic party is very nearly as bad as the Republican party, and neither represents anybody in our country.
The United Nations recognizes 195 sovereign states. Why are we even obsessed about being number one? It feels woven into the American mindset on a national and individual level that we should always win, and by miles, no less. Maybe it takes being a student at MIT to start understanding that getting by is equally commendable as being the best.
Speaking of “getting by,” some of my classes have acknowledged the enormity of the coming week, while others haven’t. Part of me wants to buy into the illusion that life can carry on as normal if I just bury myself in a pset. The other part of me just gets distracted too easily by the news and can’t even finish one reading over an entire weekend.
While my peers and I have grown used to calling each other out for problematic words or actions, talking to those in a wider circle is a completely different experience. For example, nearly all the parents of my family friends are voting for Trump. And it would be “ungrateful to argue with them when they fed me and loved me when I was a child,” as I’ve been told. At the very least, it would isolate my parents from their friends. Venturing further, it’s clear that some teenagers are no more progressive than their parents and grandparents, with more and more videos surfacing of high school students slinging incredibly racist slurs.
Four years ago, I couldn’t do anything but watch the television with a knot in my stomach. And now, voting in the overwhelmingly blue (but only in cities — a whole other discussion) California, it feels exactly the same as when I couldn’t vote. I can completely understand people who don’t vote in states where it really doesn’t matter. Even Among Us, a game with absolutely no consequences, uses the popular vote. Still, how could anyone not vote?
In my history class, we’re discussing the interwar period. In some ways, our current experience is drastically different, like the immediate access to news and, as of yet, the undeclared war. But in other ways, the polarizing ideologies and inability to reach common ground are so similar to the 1920s.
One of my professors emphasized that we need to set aside time to process the results, whatever they may be. I’m not even sure I can feel more desolate about the state of U.S. politics, and the world, than I already do. Everything is disappointing, but nothing is shocking. And I’m not nearly educated enough on anything to be able to hold a full conversation about it, much less change someone’s mind.
Instead, here’s a short, noncomprehensive list of recent or current topics about which I’ve been thinking and into which I’ve been throwing my measly UROP money.
Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, just eight days before the election.
The quickly dissipating support for #BlackLivesMatter as everyone returns to their lives.
Azerbaijan and Turkish attacks on Armenians in Artsakh.
#EndSARS protests in Nigeria against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Youth protests against the Thai Prime Minister.
Floods and landslides in Vietnam.
The beheading of a French teacher by an Islamic terrorist, and the French Minister of National Education’s decision to blame it on intersectionalist theory from American universities.
Still-increasing COVID-19 case numbers, both in the U.S. and worldwide.
So, in conclusion, midterm season and election season have converged to a perfect storm. I am simultaneously no thoughts, head empty and many thoughts, head exploding, and I think I will be stuck this way for the next few weeks.