I feel an immense sense of gratitude for all that we have. I have a family that I dearly love, I have a roof. My daughter still lives at home, and she is an endless source of joy to me. I have some of the best friends a person could ever ask for. Our tree is perfect this year, and I'm having a great time with my crafting projects; every stitch filled with love for the giftee. But I have a knot in my stomach.
Every day I turn on my TV and there it is. Or I sign in to Facebook, and more of the same. For me, TV is only entertainment. I have an awareness that TV is no place to get accurate information as a rule. For that matter, neither is Facebook. Facebook memes can be made by anyone to say anything. I understand this, but not everybody does. Sometimes I am deeply troubled by the things people are not only willing, but eager to believe. And so much of it awful. It feels like there is this endless source of toxicity, a constant dumping of mental garbage, or the intellectual equivalent of an oil spill, and it's unstoppable. It's relentlessly poisoning us against each other. I read an article about the unraveling of the Central African Republic, and I couldn't help but see us in it.
Lies, hatred, blame; more and more and more. And then violence. Let's add that. Let's make it okay, lets make it a duty, sell it as good. SELL it. Sometimes I feel like we are drowning, saturated in a ridiculous deluge, ALL of us. But some still think the solution is more water. Demanding it. As a right. What about the rights of the rest of us? A small, selfish part of me wishes we could reserve an island for those who keep demanding more; the rest of us could live in peace. It doesn't work that way. I hear guns called tools, compared to shovels and axes. Shovels were designed to dig holes in the ground, to plant gardens. Axes chop wood. Guns were created to accurately propel bullets at high speed into flesh. That is what that 'tool' was designed for. No, you can't blame the gun for doing exactly what it was designed to do, but you can blame the culture that doesn't take it seriously, you can blame the multi-billion dollar lobby that prioritizes the bottom line over human life. You can blame every politician who's taken a legal bribe from this lobby, and voted accordingly. This is a monster WE created, with our apathy, our misinformation and our relentless, cold and calloused pursuit of profit above all else. I'm not anti-gun. I grew up in Vermont, in a hunting culture. Everybody has guns, and there are very few laws. We don't have a lot of gun-violence either (although we did have a school shooting here too, so we are not untouched). But this isn't the world I grew up in. People used to respect guns for what they were-weapons. Guns came with an education and an attitude of respect. That is no longer the case. But you know, doing something about it wouldn't be profitable.
We have sold our collective soul so thoroughly to the false god of money that we completely forgot why it was important in the first place; to enrich life. We've made it more important than life, more important than people. We've taken it to such an extreme that we no longer require or expect morality from each other if it results in monetary profit. And before you start with the religious rhetoric, remember that morality has nothing to do with religion.
.Let's make everything about money, and then make sure very few people have any, and those that do relentlessly use and exploit those that don't.We live in a culture that takes hope and possibility away from our young people, and then blames them for having no ambition. Hopeless people have no ambition. That is a fact, not an individual failure. Once upon a time, hard work meant success. But the minimum wage failed to keep up with the cost of living. If it had, it would be somewhere between just over $20/hr to just under $22/hr, depending on the source. Imagine how your "I pulled myself up by my bootstraps!" story would go if you were making just over 1/3 of your hourly wage instead. That's what people are faced with today. Education isn't the answer it used to be either, with today's exorbitant tuition costs. But we aren't interested in investing our people anymore. In their well-being or their success. The immediate desires of a few are taking priority over the quality of our country, the quality of our lives. The answer to poverty is to exploit third-world countries for cheep products to sell to broke Americans. Once upon a time "Made in the USA" and "Look for the union label" were the thing to do. Now, it's the ones who write the checks who have all the control, and they want more. Do we need another Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to remind us why we had workers-rights and unions to begin with? Patriotism used to be about the people, now it's about the compliant acceptance of mistreatment.
My point is, people are armed and under duress. They are being told who to hate and who to blame. It doesn't have to be true, it just has to sound true. We are relentlessly brainwashed by television. It's easy to believe, and we want so badly to have some 'other' to blame. And it's impossible to break though to people once they're there. It feels like screaming in a nightmare where nobody can hear you, and lives depend on it. In the end you just have to let it go. But we've created a pressure cooker of hate and blame and ugliness; a perfect recipe for self-destruction. And yet when violence erupts all we can do is sit around and recycle the same old platitudes: We'll pray. How sad. Too bad there's nothing we can do.
We need to be honest with ourselves. There's plenty we can do, just nothing we are willing to do. We're being kept dumb by people who have much to gain by doing so (though only short-term, even if the powers that be can't see that.). We've abandoned ourselves, our ideals and our moral character. We've reduced religion to nothing more meaningful than conflict. There are so many things that need our attention. Humans are capable of music, beauty, art, magic...and we've been reduced to this. Worse, nobody seems to understand how serious it is. I still believe in us. I know so many wonderful, in tune and in touch people who walk through the world with their TV off and their eyes open. Hope is something I still have. But I'll admit that being in the world in its current state gets a little tougher every day.