The world is ending—not with a bang or a great cataclysmic event, but with a long, drawn-out sputter. The apocalypse is happening in such a slow and boring fashion that if you’re privileged enough, you can very easily ignore it. It can be tempting to do just that. But even if you’re not being directly affected, somewhere down the line, your descendants are going to be forced to reckon with it.
There is so much going wrong, but it isn’t flashy or anything. Instead of people going homeless because of houses being reduced to ash by a nuke or a meteor or something, they’re just getting bought up by landlords who keep driving up prices and accruing more and more land.
Instead of people going hungry because the soil’s irradiated, it’s because we waste so much food and don’t care to try to distribute it better. Instead of people being captured and sold by Mad Max-esque raiders, they’re just forced to give up large chunks of their limited lifespan to work for someone else to get rich, while having to pee in bottles. But hey, at least you can go sit in a tiny box to cool off before getting right back to breaking your back.
Homelessness and starvation are killing people, and it’s not because we’re short on resources. Reports suggest that in America, we have five vacant properties for every homeless person. And according to the US Department of Agriculture, we waste between 30-40% of our food supply. We don’t just have enough—we have more than enough. The problem isn’t production, it’s distribution.
Those vacant homes need to be fixed up and renovated. That food needs a way to get to people in need. To do those things takes time, effort and money. We have the time to do it, we have the money to do it, but nobody in power is willing to put in the drastic efforts needed.
Putting people in houses and feeding the hungry does not immediately turn a profit. That’s what it all comes down to. Capitalism rewards one thing: greed. If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t get done. It’s not that there isn’t enough for the poor, but that there will never be enough for the rich.
Just about everyone in a political office is privy to this, and they enable it. Rather than address these issues, they put up a smokescreen. They fight over and debate questions like “do transgender people exist?” or “should cops be able to shoot black people dead in the streets?” or most recently “should kids be learning that racism is real?”
The answers should be fairly obvious, but they’re going to keep going back and forth until the ice caps melt, and the most we’ll ever get out of it is symbolic victories. President Biden recognized Transgender Day of Visibility earlier this year, which is great and all, but how about doing something to improve material conditions? Universal healthcare? Even a little bit? Make mental health services more accessible? Anything? No? Okay.
The symbolic victories that the ruling political class and corporations try to placate us with isn’t going to fix anything. The speeches don’t fix anything. The paper straws don’t fix anything. The issues we must reckon with are systemic in nature, deeply rooted in the horror show we call “America.”
The option to fix things isn’t on the ballot. It’ll never be on the ballot because “revolution” is not the name of an old white man taking money from oil companies. To address the root cause of the issues plaguing us would require a radical upheaval of the established system.
Capitalism is a parasitic system encouraging the rich to constantly leech off those below them. It has bred a society where men refuse to plant trees whose shade they won’t be able to sit in, and instead cut down forests to sell them piecemeal to those dying in the sun.
And if that’s not enough, the planet is heating up pretty rapidly, which is kinda concerning. But it’s whatever, I guess. Every square inch of land could be submerged underwater, forcing us to live on floating cities made out of trash, and people will still say “well I don’t think climate change is real because it was a little chilly yesterday.”
Story: The Vermilion