Mike Stuchbery💀🍷 @MikeStuchbery_ Journalist, Commentator & Historian // Various things at @BylineTimes // History at @TheLocalEurope // DM for Email & Tips // Love for All, Hatred for None Apr. 18, 2019 3 min read

Here's how it goes. You're tired. So tired. Nothing on the news gives you hope, or confidence in the future. You just want some form of stability. Some respite from the relentless incompetence and confusion. /1

You see the guys offering solutions - they're either thugs or day dreamers, and to be honest, you're not sure which one is more harmful. You keep them both at arm's reach, however. You simply don't have time for them. /2

You see the young men gathering, the flyers, the stickers. You even catch one on some TV panel - he seems pretty put together, even if you disagree with what he's saying. Perhaps you're even a little impressed. He's not that bad, but hey, nice haircut. /3

The incompetence from above gets worse. The mistakes, the wilful ignorance, the miscarriages of justice multiply. It starts to impact on your life, your business, your plans for the future. Now you're not only tired, but angry. The faith you had in the system evaporates. /4

Those thugs I talked about earlier? You vote for them come election time, though you'd never tell anyone, not even your family.

You tell yourself, it's not like they're Nazis or anything. There are no Nazis. Not anymore.

It's not like the name means anything these days. /5

For a while, things seem better. Inevitably, however, this new lot let you down. Politics as usual. They're all the bloody same. You feel betrayed, without anybody to turn to. You still don't agree with the young men in the street, but at least they have conviction. /6

Something bad happens. People are killed. The footage plays on TV, on your phone. You can't avoid it. For hours, there's stories flying about everywhere blaming different groups. You disregard most, but some stick. You take in the anger, the hatred. /7

Something bad happens again, and every time that it does, you're a little less ready to dismiss those young men and their message, even if it does seem, well, racist? Xenophobic? Who knows. Some of your friends express admiration for them over a drink. /8

Things start to shut down. The things you depend upon. The things that keep your family working, fed, cared for. You make do, but your anger grows. You see the young men in the street more often, watch as they rally. You get into an argument with someone heckling them. /9

You meet an old mate for a drink. He looks haunted, nervous. In the past, you were close, but now it seems a wall has descended. He's one of those sorts blamed for the bad things that keep happening. He talks of getting out, of leaving. You think he's being dramatic. /10

There's a brawl in town. Some of the young men rallying are attacked. You watch it on the news, and all you can think is that those that attacked them are a danger, the enemy, our thugs. The next time you see the young men, you take a leaflet. It's for a meeting. /11

You go to one of the young men's meetings. They welcome you, they're really friendly. It turns out you were wrong about these guys! You take some stickers, put them around town. You look forward to the next meeting. You buy a t-shirt. You go on a trip with the guys mates. /12

Turns out here's heaps of you across the country. For the first time in a while you feel hopeful. However, there's work to do. You attend every rally & when one is attacked, you're there. You don't even recognise that mate of yours when you bloody him. Not at first. /13

Later, after the adrenalin and drink wears off, his face sticks with you. You try calling him, but there's no answer. You'll try for the next few months, then it's disconnected. Meanwhile, those young men announce they're running for office. They're all over the TV. /14

You never do find your old mate. You've heard stories, but you'd prefer not to believe them, especially as the years pass and the world keeps changing. These days, you just keep your head down and mouth shut. It's easier that way. Much easier. /FIN


You can follow @MikeStuchbery_.



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