I’m not setting out to tie all three topics together. But maybe I will at the end? I just wanted to talk about several things without making them separate posts.
I saw this movie recently and I think it’s great! The performances, cinematography, and script are all outstanding. I remember reading the Year One comic, and this movie felt like a sequel to that. This was a good story that has me thinking about the movie days later.
Growing Fears: War
The Batman gave me the break I needed from watching the news. I have no ties to Ukraine, but I’m following the invasion and watching how the rest of the world reacts. It’s both fascinating and terrifying to watch the different political parties quarrel over how to deal with this particular powder keg.
We’re sliding into World War, and I’m afraid we’ll be as effective in stopping it as we’ve been at stopping Covid. A lot of conservative voices are calling for hostile actions that would lead to more aggression. We do need to do something, but whatever we do should deescalate tensions rather than raise them. The world needs to save as many lives as possible while pushing back Putin in such a way that he can save face. Even if we do not respect him, we have to respect the power he wields, which means more talking and less fighting.
This is not to say that Putin should face no consequences. He absolutely should. But we should put that aside until after we’ve stopped him from bombing hospitals and killing civilians in Ukraine.
I’m genuinely happy to see so much of the world rally around Ukraine. I’m even happy that China has remained neutral on the war. I wish China could bring itself to rebuke Russia, but that’s asking too much of that nation.
Growing Fears: Pandemic
I’m happy to see the number of infections and deaths going down. I want the pandemic to be over. I don’t want to have to wear a mask everywhere. I want to go back to writing in a Starbucks once or twice a week. I want to go back to in-person conventions, and I want to stop being afraid of being the one that gets someone else sick.
Mask requirements are dropping, and people are trying to get back to normal right now. At the same time, there is a spike of BA.2 growing in Europe. There’s some sign that we’re starting a new wave. No one is going to want to face those facts, and we’ve already had a problem with people denying science and reality. That’s why this pandemic just keeps going and going.
I’m trying to keep my hopes up. If we don’t see signs of another wave, I’m going to sign up to attend some conventions this year. If there is a spike in cases, however, I’ll have to reevaluate.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about Republicans or Democrats or any particular figures in any of those parties. I want to talk about politics in more general terms, because I had a dream recently and it felt like I’d gained some kind of perspective.
Let’s talk about progressives and conservatives, and why we need both at different times.
To be progressive is to tear down and replace institutions that are imperfect, and that do not serve the highest ideals. To be conservative is to value the culture and ideals of your society. These are not completely polar opposites, but they’re opposite enough that it is difficult to find compromise.
In a perfect society, progressives are more likely to be unfair and unjust, because they seek to tear down and replace institutions that are working. Society is perfect, so any changes you seek to make can only serve to make society worse.
In an imperfect society, conservatives are more likely to be unfair and unjust, because the culture they value and seek to protect is unfair and unjust.
I do not believe we live in a perfect society. We do not have equality for everyone. We have racism, misogyny, ablism, and fiscal inequality. We are not living up to our ideals, and we are actively valuing money over human life. Our systems are not working to protect those that need protection. Our systems are allowing an unscrupulous few to take advantage of the many. The systems need to change.
To be conservative at this point in time is to turn a blind eye to all the injustices we’re living with, which is why I can’t be a conservative. When I was younger, I was. As I’ve gotten older and become more aware of what’s going on around me, I can’t.
The Batman was really good. He uses fear to try and make a change in his world, to make sure what happened to his family doesn’t happen to someone else. In this recent depiction of the character, he learns that fear is not enough. He learns that fear is a clumsy weapon, usually used by villains and bullies, and he must become something more than that. He must become a figure of hope, because it’s hope that helps us rise up when everything is crumbling around us.
Bruce Wayne, a wealthy and famous individual, would seem like someone that should be conservative, enjoying his inherited wealth and turning his back on the world. Instead, he puts himself in harm’s way. He’s a broken person, just like so many of us are broken, and what makes him truly heroic is that he takes action when so many of us would remain still.
In the end, the action he took was to shine a light and lead people to safety. Looking around at the world today, maybe we could learn a thing or two from The Batman.