Kitten Memes, Funny Vids And The End Of The World As We Know It
We can have it all, if we choose it.
I can write feel-good articles all day every day about America and its place in the world and I have. I can wax poetic on the rhetorical and sometimes material stances this nation takes on moral imperatives and issues of freedom and democracy and I would be right and correct in doing so, because this nation has been a beacon of hope, a shining city on a hill for so many millions and billions of people on this planet for quite some time now.
It is so easy for me to do so, because I believe in America as so many who live here do and as so many who live outside of our national boundaries do as well.
Even now, in the Drumpf era, amidst a rising tide of hatred and intolerance, of petty vindictiveness at the national level and in the highest offices, during the installation of regressive xenophobes and the implementation of oligarchical dream agendas, there is still much of worth. There is much of beauty and much of good to be found in these lands that stretch from sea to shining sea, across purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain.
Daily life remains paramount in our considerations and the place where reality is created, for all of us. The semi-abstract inculcation of national and global perspectives pale compared to the visceral and experiential immediacy of the Now moment. Our interactions with strangers, acquaintances, friends and families as we all conduct the business of living, result in our co-creation of reality at the local level. We all contribute to this chaotic formula of life, manifesting something new in all instances while simultaneously fulfilling cycles of individual and collective behavior that too many are barely even aware exist.
So it is a task of those who have made it their life’s work to see beyond the hedges and hills of the local to bring a wider vision to those who have not done the same. To synthesize information and make it palatable, or not, and share perspective in hopes of contributing to the larger reality we all share by connecting that macro-vision to the micro-reality we each inhabit. Not everyone can or desires to spend time reading and watching and delving deep into manifest minutia and the esoterica of existence for the purpose of illuminating the darkness or seeing beyond the shadows cast upon the cave wall of our limited, personal experience.
And that is also as it should be.
The darkness beyond the fire is as terrifying for humans now as it was upon the plains and savannas of central Asia and Africa for our distant ancestors. As it was in the caves of Europe and forests of middle-America; the oceans of Polynesia and the island chains of Southern Asia. Humanity shares a basic dread of the unknown that approximates the often subliminal fear of our inevitable death that truly influences all of our thoughts at some level, which influences all of our words and actions at the individual and collective level as well.
Collective archetypes and symbols retain their importance and meaning even when we are consciously aware of them. Believing that white is always good and black is always bad is something to laugh at in the light of day when we’re reading about such characterizations in well-lit rooms among friends and family. Retaining that objectivity and sense of being beyond such simplistic formulations is a bit more difficult when you’re walking down the street at night and you see a darker-hued person waking toward you. In those instances, the space between streetlights seems infinite as the dread rises in your gut and it’s not so far-fetched to imagine the worst of people and the imminent fulfillment of the basest of stereotypes.
America is about the Great Experiment. That is its crux and core. Only fear denies the recognition of the reality that the heart of this nation and the harnessed, dynamic energy of implicit creation lies in its multitudinous and prolific diversity. The limited rhetorical and ideological vision of its slave-owning Patriarchs was offset at the very writing of this nation’s founding documents by the apparent reality of their surroundings. The contradiction implicit within the soaring rhetoric and the damning reality was lost upon no one, least of all, them.
Now, we have a small percentage of our nation that wants to turn back a clock that cannot be rewound. That wants to create a perceptual bubble of reality that hearkens back to some never-existent framework of beingness that cannot become without terrifying and soulless machinations manifest nationally and then globally. These people are consumed by fear of change, perhaps also fear of retribution — insofar as they are personally conscious of generally subconscious and collective demons — as the demographics of our society trend toward more equitable representation. Their elected representatives are scurrying rat-like through the Halls of Power seeking to consolidate minority-rule, while the real minorities plus their allies amongst the majority population raise the roof and fan the flames of protest.
As Americans shocked by this turn of events despair and quail in fear of potential outcomes, some take up signs and banners in protest, others sign petitions and share national and global news, while still others post up kitten memes and funny kid videos in a futile attempt to stave off personal recognition of fundamental societal shift and the end of the world as we know it in our lifetimes.
So talking about easy things sometimes is fine. As writers of the heart and soul, folks like me are gonna talk about the bad things sometimes too. Present perspectives we are intimately familiar with but don’t necessarily share, stir the pot to wake folks up and then take on all comers when the shit hits the fan. That’s just keepin’ it real. The ability to find beauty in the midst of ugliness is a gift of the spirit, one that must be cultivated and treasured no matter what. For as darkness rises to combat the light and hatred spreads to consume the love those who are able to be the light and share the love will be called upon to do so with increasing frequency.
People need hope. Hope based in a recognition of what is real and the refusal to live any longer in bubbles designed to hide the pain and suffering of others while supporting the inequitable distribution of resources and wealth.
And yes. This is what the world has always been like. Today’s inequalities are nothing new upon the face of the earth. But that is also what hope is about, isn’t it? Dreaming higher dreams and manifesting them. Creating new things, dreaming new dreams, living new lives in the face of an ever-expanding recognition of the boundless nature of life and human potentiality. We can have both, we can have it all if we dream big enough, dream high enough, dream far enough to encompass all the earth and its creatures and peoples.
We can. If we choose it. Together.