Saturday, July 16, 2016

Solipsism In A Time of Catastrophe

My focus on my own little life here at the beach seems to me to be a bit obscene.  The social networks that are formed in the world, not online, seem to be crumbling before my very eyes. In Africa, Asia, Europe, and our own USA.  I feel as though the world is perched on a shaky precipice that is being undermined by violence and hate.  I feel as though I have been here before in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and in the years since 9/11/2001.  Each time things seemed to resolve themselves into a new normal that felt somewhat safe.  And yet, here we are again.  If this has been the Arab spring that GWB spoke of, I liked the winter better.  When I hear Donald Trump make his stump speeches about "Make America Great Again," I am hearing George Wallace and Richard Nixon using the same coded racist speech. I am hearing the Know Nothing Party and other nativist saying "Whites Only." I am hearing "Christians Only." I am hearing "Dogs, Jews, Muslims, Hispanics, People of Color, people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, and anyone below the poverty line need not apply."  What I know is that the new mix of ethnicities in the country has frightened people.  In all things it easiest to point at the finger of hate at the weakest among us -- the newcomer, the family on welfare, the people who dress differently and pray differently, and the LGBTQ community.

Bernie Sanders tapped into the anger too. But the anger was directed at what really has undermined America -- there are too many very rich people and too many poor people and very few in the middle. Ike warned us about the military-industrial complex. JFK told us we should bear any price and carry any burden to make the world a better, safer place.  Even the hawks, Richard Nixon and LBJ told us that it was wrong that so many lived in poverty and that healthcare should be a right not a privilege. And Sanders underlined that we have ignored these warnings.  Big business -- banks, the oil industry, the shale and coal industries, the defense industry and big aggro have taken over Congress with their fat bankrolls.  Very few speak for the individual constituent. Teddy Roosevelt pointed his big stick at Fat Cats and that's what we should be doing...We should be angry that as individuals our interests have been pushed, not on the back burner, but off the stove.

We need to make our country better.  But not by making it more prejudiced and divided between rich and poor, white and non-white, Christian and other faiths or beliefs, straight versus gender queer. We need to come together and take care of one another and respect differences and embrace them.  That is what has made America great, Mr. Trump.
As for the rest of the world, I think the answer is the same.  But like our own country, the outlook for tolerance and unity is bleak, and even bleak is too mild a world. So here I am on a sandbar, at the beach, far from the news of the world.  Far from the hate and the violence and the murders of black people, and police officers, and little children and their parents, etc.  It feels like I am abrogating a duty of my citizenship of the world and of the US by closing my Facebook account.  In fact I am not really aware or involved at all.  But Monday, I will be 67 years old.  If I live as long as my mother, I only have 15 years to go.  At any rate, I am at a point in my life where I no longer count the years that have passed; I only count the years I have left, and they are relatively few.

I am uncertain whether it is okay for me to leave this horrible world in the hands of my progeny, but that is what will happen whether I Facebook or not, whether I leave the sandbar that is my summer home or not, whether I find a way to speak up or not.  I reassure myself in this because in this dangerous sad hate-filled world by saying to myself and others, "There is always Canada."



No comments:

Post a Comment