For a while, I couldn’t write anything here because of the disaster in East Palestine, Ohio and the (disgusting, hypocritical) response from just about everyone involved.

For the sake of my mental health, I avoid the news. I don’t listen to npr anymore, I don’t have any news apps on my phone, I don’t read the Times (New York or Los Angeles). Even then, things like this are unavoidable. While I do believe that it’s important a tragedy such as this should be the headline of every outlet, when the response is just sadism from the state, then it’s less news and more propaganda for hopelessness. The news media, for some time now, has no effect on governance and therefore is simply a public relations firm for the interests of capital.

I was discussing the idea of fear with some folks the other day and so many of mine relate not to the nature of the world but rather the force of economic necessity that has been built into it. The experiences of cultural understanding, social purpose, and self-reliance are all fractured by a system like capitalism. This is the sum total of what it takes from us: our very humanity. A forced relationship between the idea of personhood and the individual’s ability to profit. The understanding that a life is considered meaningful only in relation to its economic value. That achievement is a monetary success.

This is why so much of the news is depressing. Not only in its tragedy, but how that tragedy tends to reinforce all of the ways that we live under inhuman values, where only psychopathic ideologies stand a chance at living comfortably. We can all see that things are going to get worse before they get better, but most days I wonder if they’ll ever get better at all.