As I sit here looking out over the lake that our home sits next to, I have mixed feelings. Spring is coming and the world looks reborn. Yet the country seems to be in a bad way right now. We are so divided. I don’t remember it being quite so bad before, although I’m sure it has been. With a 24 hour news cycle and endless forms of social media, you hear about every awful thing as soon as it happens, and then it is dissected and repeated, over and over again in the media. There is just no escape.
Racism has made such a strong comeback that it makes me doubt that it had ever gone away. FOX News and hate radio blast out misinformation around the clock and it is difficult to even have a civil conversation with someone who has differing political beliefs. There is no trust between the political parties and that distrust and lack of civility has filtered down to ordinary people. Truth is whatever you say it is. Truth is whatever is politically expedient to say.
Along with that, there is the insistent denial of science, climate change and an almost total abandonment of integrity. Religion is being pushed at us by politicians who are using it as a cover for a radical, divisive agenda, much like every other fundamentalist regime which hides its misdeeds under the cloak of religion. “Separation of church and state” is viewed as a conspiracy, when it has been there in the Constitution all along.
Who are we becoming? The images I see on TV and in the newspaper seem to be from another time. We are once again fighting for contraceptive freedoms and the right to decide what happens to our own bodies, while groups of white men in Congress or in churches seem to think that they know what’s best for us. People who have stood for small government when it comes to social programs, see nothing wrong with legally compelling women to undergo medically unnecessary and invasive procedures if those women choose to end a pregnancy. It is intrusive, expensive, and designed to punish. All countries that embrace extreme religious views that they force on others always end up punishing women.
I find myself worrying for my children in new ways. What kind of world are we leaving our children? It feels so wrong that just a few people with the most money and political capital can force everyone’s lives to go in a direction that they don’t want to go in. We are wrecking the planet with our ever-increasing energy needs, our endless consuming, polluting our drinking water with fracking and industrial farming and putting profit ahead of the needs of people who are just trying to get by. Profit over people is the mantra and it is not going to work for us in the end.
These thoughts weigh me down and are never far from my consciousness. I am politically active and work for change but I worry that it is too little, too late or that moneyed interests can buy off the decision-makers anyway. Sometimes I think I know what it must be like to be an animal that senses danger and perhaps a natural disaster before the people do, but you can’t seem to get anyone to pay attention in time to take shelter from the coming societal earthquake. I really want to be wrong. But I don’t think I am.
Perhaps you caught me on a pessimistic day. But I am feeling this way more and more. And I know that the more I invest my heart and soul into changing the world, the more broken my heart will be if, or when, the bad guys win. And who are the bad guys and what gives me the right to decide? My eyes are wide open, even though I want to shut them. I hear the hate and the lies that I can’t get away from. The bad guys are the people who wrap themselves up in the flag and the Bible, yet claim that the poor and those with less are a drain on society and deserve even less than what they have. They say government can’t fix everything for everyone, even as they game the system to cut deals and provide legal exceptions for their moneyed interests. They say they hate entitlements, yet they believe that they are entitled to take the whole pie because they are somehow better, harder-working, more deserving—God’s chosen. And the scariest part is that most of them actually believe it.
If you’ve ever been in a packed subway car, with no room to move, concerned that you won’t be able to get to the door for your stop, then you know how I am feeling. I am stuck here, looking for any opportunity to inch towards my desired destination without being pushed by the crowd past where I want to go.
I wish all of us luck finding our way.