I’ve been trying to write this post the whole year, and it’s not so much a “year in review” post as it is one that I just ran out of days to write about 2018 so here we are.
The intention of this post, as its title suggests, is to write about what it feels like to be alive in this the year of our lord (Ariana Grande) 2018. To the reader of the future, be it me or be it you, I want to try to express what the mindset of one white Canadian man was, one who lived away, who lived at home, who tried, failed, failed, and finally succeeded at becoming a temporary immigrant (“the Resident Alien”) in the United States.
There are certain things I, the writer, know today that you, the future reader, may not know. The events of this year are fresh in my mind, but they haven’t all become history yet, because the histories just haven’t been written. And who writes them will determine, in part, how you, reader, get to learn about what this year was like. If for example Trumpism and the rampant gutting of the US’s government continue, it’s likely the history books will look favourably upon 2018 as a year of triumph. They shouldn’t. We know there is at least one major investigation going on into Trump’s campaign (“the Mueller Investigation”) but we don’t yet know what it’ll reveal nor do we know if it will matter in the end. It should.
On the other hand, you the future reader will undoubtedly know many things about this year that I just don’t — just can’t yet know. 2019 and years beyond will certainly reveal new truths about this time, leaks of secret meetings, revelations of wrongdoings, and so on. You might even one day have the benefits of clarity. You’ll likely have some kind of view point on this year and this era, some whole (or at least whole-er) perspective on what the living fuck was happening in the world, that I just am not yet privy to.
You may wonder, how did we let this all happen? How did a nation allow itself to be so blatantly abused? How did the rich profit so much? How did a president condone tearing nursing babies from their mothers’ breast? and how did a government not condemn its leader?
I’m hopeful you have more answers than me.
This year has felt like an eternity, somewhere between a slow drip and water torture. It’s been a year of violence — not just of war, shootings, and hate crimes, but psychological violence too. The deluge of scandal, the festering undertow of nastiness and spite, the abstraction of people into “illegals” and “resident aliens” and “caravans,” is a baseball bat to the mind. It shatters our ability to care, to make sense, to object. It is beyond numbing, it is pulverizing.
I try. I think we all do.
It’s 2018 and we’re doing the damn best we can do, those of us lucky enough to do so. In 2018 it’s a struggle, but we’re learning how to be resilient. We’re learning, slowly, how to be less cynical. We’re learning. And we’re coming. (And, those of us who can, are voting).