Our theme for the month of October is “flash nonfiction.” Writers were asked to submit pieces that were 250 words or less.
One of the reasons politics so often depresses me as a policy advocate is the overwhelming sense that nothing I or almost anyone else does matters. Will Congress pass legislation to improve the lives of tens of millions of people, or will it fall apart because a small handful think it costs too much? I don’t know, and nothing I say or think will make a difference. Will Biden stop using the Trump-era horrific, inhumane policy of violating asylum-seekers’ rights by turning them away at the border? Signs point to no, despite months of strenuous advocacy by dozens of powerful organizations. It’s hard for me not to wonder what the point is of trying to make a difference. (Of course, thinking this way is a luxury not afforded to the many people who actually live with the consequences of bad policies and who fight every day to change them.)
But recently I’ve been trying to think through my feelings in the context of existentialism and absurdism. The defining concept of both philosophies is, I think, hopeful: because there’s no inherent meaning in the world, and despite the often disturbing and absurd realities of life, all we can do is make our own meaning through our actions; in fact, that is what we must do. To give into the senselessness would itself be senseless.
So that’s what I’ll try to do: create my own meaning in a world devoid of it. What else is there?