It doesn’t usually seem so far away. You can get lots done in that time. You don’t know where you will be in life, married, divorced, happy, sad, an olympian, at a new job, at the same job, you might be a parent for the first time or for the second, or third… you get it. For as much as years pretty much take the same course – spring, summer, autumn, winter, the bank holidays, your birthday – whatever it is, 4 years simply fly by.
For many (I’ll say many because that is my opinion), today feels like the 4 years we would have normally taken for granted is some sort of life sentence. Like you are in a prison where the bars are invisible. Whether it is true or not, I think some people might feel totally helpless and maybe even scared. Scared because of what the next 4 years will bring. Scared because of where we could all find ourselves in 4 years’ time.
I say scared but I actually feel abject fear. It is keeping me up at night thinking about what could happen in the years to come. What kind of damage could be done in a part of the world where I have enjoyed so much progression and privilege? What happens now? What about the people who have been nowhere near as lucky as myself? What kind of situation will they find themselves in in 4 years time?
It’s hard not to be afraid when you feel like you’re not being heard. It’s difficult not to berate yourself when you feel like you’ve been completely ignorant to all of the privilege you’ve so taken for granted. It’s hard not to be angry with yourself for only realising it when it is about to be taken from you.
Today, Donald Trump gets sworn in as the new President of the most powerful country in the world. The Republican party will run riot and gut what little progression they could not tear from President Obama’s hands during his 8 years in office in no time. Who knows what state the country will be left in in 4 years? Will women have any rights left at all? Will they have any control over their bodies? What about the LGBTQ community? One gets the feeling that racism, already having reached boiling point numerous times over the last 8 years, will spill over and no one will be able to stop it. No one in power will even want to.
Theresa May said the Single Market is pretty much dead to us this week and Phillip Hammond said we will almost certainly become a tax haven in order to lure in big corporations and rich people. Sure, because that sounds like she plans on building a country “that works for everyone”. When our National Health Service is in dangerously dire straits and the Health Secretary takes home £15 million in personal revenue, it certainly sounds like us little people will be just fine. The thing she ignores but claims to be listening to is “the will of the people”. First of all, Brexit was never the will of the “people”, it was the will of 52% of the people. That’s only some of the people, not even half (voter turn out for the Referendum was 75%). Secondly, these people did not vote to leave the single market, they voted for £350 million a week going into the NHS. The literal opposite is happening. There is no amount of money even close to that going into the NHS.
Maybe it will all be ok. Maybe we will all feel totally silly in 4 years for feeling afraid, confused, angry, disappointed and hopeless now. At the moment, I would rather be proven wrong than right. I would rather feel ridiculous than afraid. I would rather feel part of my country than feel like an outsider, like I don’t belong here. Like I don’t matter.
4 years. I’m strapping in.