by Bridie Wilkinson
It’s over, you tell me. A majority won.
You’ve lost, give up, keep calm and carry on.
Nah. I’ll take the other route. The road less quiet.
Because 48 against 52 is too close a call for me to go silent, to not shout with all my strength until my voice is sore.
Because we’ve done this before.
We’ve grown up in a world where decisions are made on false promises and rickety personalities. We like to tear them down, to rip them from newspapers, plaster them on cardboard and raise their faces to the skies in a roaring crowd, to make spectacles of the men whose closed-door politicking continues to cost a generation its future.
All of this is so unnecessary. A popularity point grab that missed the mark. And it was messy. It was overspill. We watched those who ate away at our education, our health service, our city and our identity blame their own gluttony on the other guys. The unknowables. It’s easier to point the finger away from the mirror. The once Great and United now reduced to hiding behind a lace curtain, ignoring the knocks at the door and yelling at people to get off the front garden that we never really owned.
We’re ashamed. I’m ashamed. When you laugh at my attempts to try and talk about this, about the tweets and the shares and the statuses understand that these are not for you. They are for anyone but you. I’m trying to somehow say sorry. Sorry for letting the ties fray, loosen and slack. This wasn’t in my name. Nothing ever is. These politicians posturing on the TV, these parties turncoating on their own leader, these people hurling racist slurs at their neighbours – none of this is in my name.
I’m losing control of something I was once promised. Those things that have shaped the moral core of our values; bold, wide ideas of freedom, peace, love and equality that come through in small gestures, in holding doors open for strangers, telling someone to keep the change, and turning on the kettle.
I look at the news and feel disconnected to the country I see before me. Has it gone so quickly? Who turned this tornado up to eleven and how the fuck can it be turned back off?
We can’t believe it. It’s a sucker-punch to the stomach that left a gaping hole in its wake. We all thought we were safe. But I don’t surround myself with people who don’t look at the world the way I do. Who don’t see a situation like this one unfold, one with name calling and overblown numbers and endless buzzwords, and know it’s all theatre. It’s all for play. No matter how many big buses you paint.
You know it too. When your figurehead admits he isn’t fit to deal with the situation, something’s got to give. There’s only so much hot air that a balloon can take until it bursts, and every time you open your mouths we can all see the surface strain. Hush now, it’s our turn to talk.
Because did you think we would take this quietly? That’s not what we do. Our voices haven’t gotten smaller from being ignored, they’ve grown bigger, louder. We put them online, put them on paper, in songs, poetry, art – it’s a different kind of protest to what you’re used to. But it’s one we’ll take to the ballots. We won’t go away.
We’ve done this before. We’re getting good at it. You just watch us.
Bridie is co-founder of Dear Damsels. Her pen is usually her weapon in times of fuckery.