A message to young radicals on the occasion of conservative victory

Brothers and sisters, comrades and queers, it appears the barbarians have indeed breached the gates and left them swinging in the breeze.

But don’t despair. Believe me when I tell you that this defeat is just a pause on the path of inevitable progress, and will only serve to make eventual victory even sweeter.

It’s not the end of the world, just the way of the world. Politics is cyclical in those countries that deem to call themselves democracies, and there is inevitably reaction and revolution even in those that don’t.

Yet progress advances, as the name itself implies. Sometimes it moves slowly and subtly, incrementally and imperceptibly, and sometimes it belies its name and turns back. But eventually it bounds forward in a mad rush and you soon find yourself standing in the ruins of a wall that once seemed impregnable, wondering how it ever seemed so.

For now however there will be more obstacles to be endured and more barriers to break through. But as always a new generation will emerge to articulate the outrage in wonderfully unconventional ways while the rest of us will go forward at least with our indifference extinguished and our determination renewed.

The years ahead may seem bleak and certainly reactionary regimes don’t make life any easier, particularly when you live with the real threat of persecution or punishment. But on those occasions where dissent is tolerated, conservative governments can actually make life a lot more interesting. Prepare to attend the most inspiring protests, meet the most passionate people and go to the best parties of your life. For some of you, the coming days may even determine your life’s work and you will find your calling in the cause you are about to claim.

I know this because I came to consciousness during a time of conservatism and have lived through several others. The lessons I learned from these painful periods have lasted a lifetime and have shaped me more than times of liberal largesse.

You see, you don’t know freedom until it is taken from you, you don’t have a belief until it is challenged and you don’t know how to fight until you are forced to defend yourself. Activism, and on occasion, the best art, are born in periods of agitation, not apathy.

Trust me, the resolve that emerges from the dark days to come will last longer than any of our opponents presently in power. And anyway, if you live long enough and survive enough battles, you will eventually see your old enemies reformed, impotent or dead.

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