The little button at the top of this “blog” says write. It tempts me each time I see it. I always want to write. But sometimes it’s ill advised.
This is one of those times.
I am faithless in the present moment.
I’ve been spending the past 18 months embroiled in something we often call the system. In my case it means hanging around community government meetings, courtrooms, medical establishments and jails.
The flip side is that I’ve also been sitting on sidewalks and park benches, visiting food banks and community meals.
Let me tell you something–I’d spend my time with the so called down and out any day of the week as compared to the people tasked with running things. To be honest, if not fair, it’s not the people who drain the life force out of everyone who gets near the system–it’s the thing itself. We’ve somehow built this overblown Frankenstein monster of a system that now devours all of us. No one seems to know how or when it was created and we sure don’t know how to stop it.
Some suggest bringing the whole thing down. But that looks like 23 million people without health care. That’s just one thing in a huge pile of disasters if we scrap our whole government and start over. Donald Trump is what burning it down looks like. No thanks.
Others say we keep going with little tweaks, a mid term election with more establishment Democrats and scrape the worst of the crazy off this barnacled bottomed sinking ship. Okay, well, that’s something.
I’m thinking of something more like Mr Smith Goes to Washington. It was an old black and white movie which shows a principled person fighting in congress until he wins.
At this point, that’s the only thing that makes sense. We’re in the throws of a government system which eats us all alive. It is non responsive from tiny city commissions all the way to the White House.
I’ve witnessed numerous hearings where elected officials did not listen to anything their constituents said and told them so. I’ve asked for comments from policy makers and they didn’t bother even answering. I’ve sat in courtrooms where judges told people to stop speaking up for themselves because they found it annoying. And I’ve seen people beaten because they asserted their rights.
This, from the country I grew up loving. I cried at the National Anthem, I stood in respect at the Pledge and I told anyone who would listen that the rule of law which governs a free society is paramount.
Now I think I was full of shit.
Just to be clear, this isn’t some rant from an unaffected yet disaffected person. This is my actual, real life. And it’s painful. I don’t care how safe you think you are, I’ve discovered you are not.
If you make one error in judgment in our current environment, you go under. Get sick, miss work, miss a check–that’s it. You’re out. Make a mistake, get on the wrong side of a judge–you’re over. Fail to pay some bills because you’re broke. You’re not approved for an apartment–anywhere.
Be a child who has parents who made any of those mistakes–you’re done before you start.
Is this really how we want to live? Do we want to keep tightening the screws on each other until the whole engine cracks?
This is what the bad kids, those despised young drifters, are talking about when you see them huddled under a tree with their backpacks scattered.
Many think they’re making drug deals or scoffing while giving a side eye to society. And sometimes they are. But, actually, most of the time they’re trying to figure out how to live in a world where it’s so absurd that an entire generation of people believe a young person enjoying avocado toast is to blame for the collapse of society.
Have we always been this stupid as a nation? Yes and no. Yes we have run over people in the name of “progress” from day one. Yes, money has always ruled. But no, we haven’t always failed our children, not cared about living wage jobs and celebrated greed like it’s religion. No we haven’t always fought wars without any justification. World War II was a necessary push back as abhorrent as war may be. But now we’re killing little kids from Syria and we’ve lost the plot entirely. I doubt most Americans care. Politicians, for sure, don’t care. We blow up their nation, the cradle of civilization, and then call them the enemy when they need a safe place for their children.
It’s racist but, hey, we treat our own American children with the same disregard. We cut school funding, food programs, child care, day care and any assistance they need. While we’re at it we’re throwing grandmother in the street by cutting her medicare and social security which doesn’t pay the rent anymore.
The world of children growing up today in this country and our local communities is destabilized.
How does that look in twenty years?
Meanwhile, we may suppose that’s happening in a government far away in Washington. Here, in our sweet towns, this does not happen.
But it does.
I’ve been told over and over that towns cannot afford to care for its most vulnerable. That services need to pencil out. Yet, many keep affording new public buildings, tourist attractions and amenities for the landed class.
If you don’t believe it start attending your local, community commission, school board and council meetings. Let me know how often the folks who spoke out influenced outcomes.
That’s not to say no one listens nor all communities are reckless. I don’t think that. But I do feel discouraged when I encourage people to participate and watch their dreams get tossed in the shredder or worse yet given just enough lip service to look like something is going to happen when it doesn’t.
So, what’s our answer? I don’t know. Keep showing up? Keep making noise? Keep voting no matter what? I think that’s about it. That and reporting back what happens when you show up. Eventually, as a friend recently told me, all the elitists jamming up the spokes and not listening are literally on the wrong side of history. They are going to be dead soon.
Kinda sad when your biggest hope is in the death of your own generation. But that’s true karma. When we die, the younger folks can finally drop us under a tree and get to work on doing what matters.
See, I told you writing was ill advised today.