Blog 5.5.24

I’m watching American institutions actively demonize young people whose only sin appears to be protesting a literal genocide. I’m watching grown adults I’ve worked alongside for years – who have given lip service to the ideas of justice, equality, and courage with their goddamned MLK quotes and solidarity marches – hypocritically defend the mass slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent people. I’m watching a propaganda war take place in my own society, obliterating all productive discourse, turning fear into hatred. I’m watching faith leaders who have publicly denounced minority communities (including the LGBTQ members of their own communities), stand up in front of huge crowds and demand justice for ‘their people’. As. If.

Anyway, the point is, nothing I have to say right now is really that important compared to all that.

The world is full of horrors, and no one can see past their own narratives to do anything about it. Institutional corruption at all levels has been exposed, leaving us vulnerable to predatory “leadership.” Self-important jackasses who, for whatever reason, believe they are qualified to tell others what to think, are still out there pontificating on every outlet that will give them a platform. Oh, and electoral politics (at least at the federal level) is officially broken.

The good news (for me, at least) is that I’m not at all vexed by this state of affairs. In fact, my mental and emotional health are on solid ground. I’m taking good care of myself and the people I love. I sleep beautifully at night. This is no doubt due to the fact that I worked my ass off for decades to build bridges and promote dialogue between peoples who, as it turns out, love eating Chinese food together on Christmas Day as long as they’re not forced to discuss real issues. I did my best, which may still not have been good enough, but my conscience is clear.

I guess at the very least we can take comfort in the fact that we’re all miserable. While Zuck and Bezos and Musk and the political class are safe and cozy in their bad guy lairs, we’ll be enjoying the greasy slide into chaos and destruction together. Until then, I’m going to do what needs to be done: Stay alert. Participate in as much democracy as possible. Protect the things I care about to the extent that I can. And wait, and see. Same as it ever was.

The only difference now is that I feel relieved of the burden of saving the world, or rather, trying to convince the world to save itself. Instead, I’ll spend my time sowing love and compassion in whatever circle of influence I have. This isn’t some kind of escapist bullshit. It’s a resignation that comes from hitting my head against a brick wall too many times. At some point I had to accept that the wall is stronger. If the human collective has decided to forego the use of reason and hand over all control to corrupt power-brokers, eagerly fighting wars for them and allowing their falsehoods to poison our blood before its spilled, there’s not much I can do about it. Believe me. I’ve tried. Really, really hard.

If  there is any hope for us now, it lies in there being enough of us who refuse to participate in the manufactured hate.  Personally, I have a very clear set of values that includes freedom of speech; compassion; democracy; individual and collective responsibility; and an unflinching gaze at the whole. There are quite a few things that are worse than death, and wasting my precious life living a lie is the most terrifying of all.

Unfortunately, I’ve realized many of the people I’ve surrounded myself with for years don’t share those values. I was shocked and saddened at first. But life became a lot better the moment I realized that I’m under no obligation to protect other people from the consequences of their own bullshit. 

What a relief!

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