Tag Archives: democracy

Independence Day Ramblings (a day late) – 7/5/2019

The real problem isn’t Colin Kapernick. Or Donald Trump. They may be the symbols for anger, but they are not the problem. The problem is that we as a society fear and loathe the “other” in whatever form it takes.

The problem is that we don’t listen. We shout insults and obscenities at each other over personal beliefs instead of finding common ground and working towards reasonable solutions to real problems.

The problem is that we take examples of the extremes and generalize that to a whole group. We allow mass media machines, which only thrive when we tune in and consume their ads, to constantly poke at our anger for that other group and inflame our hatred for them, mostly so we will tune in tomorrow to see what new outrage “they” have committed.

Then, we act surprised when someone shoots up a school or a government building or whatever.

The problem is that we no longer respect each other’s right to life, right to culture. We are quickly slipping into a fascist wasteland where any dissent is met not by thoughtful deliberation but violent resistance.

The problem is that we so desperately want to be seen as part of the clever, intelligent side that we completely and utterly dismiss the opposition with straw man caricatures and derisive memes that dehumanize and degrade them as something unworthy of human compassion and rights.

The problem is that we have forgotten that living in a free society means that everyone is free to believe as they wish, and as long as they are not actively calling for harm to another person, they have a right to hold and express those beliefs. If we aren’t willing to defend the freedoms of those we disagree with, we don’t deserve freedoms ourselves.

Freedom isn’t about getting your way. It’s about all of us finding a way to live together. It’s about listening and sharing ideas. It’s about accepting that there is room for all of us in this world if we will just focus on finding solutions instead of inciting hate. We have the most beautiful framework ever created, a framework that has allowed itself to grow and morph and adapt to include more people and more views as time has progressed. Everyone who lives under the umbrella of that framework should take a moment and be grateful.

That’s all for now.

Late Night Ramblings

I’m laying here in bed, thinking of my life and the lives of my friends. This isn’t the America we were taught about. This isn’t the country we grew up in just thirty years ago. Where did we go so wrong? Is the Great Experiment dead? Will freedom and democracy be nothing more than a blip in human history? We certainly don’t live in a representative democracy right now. I don’t know a single person who feels as if any level of government represents them or their interests today.

The optimist in me wants to believe that humanity can overcome where we are at this point in history. People have faced darker days and worse obstacles. My papaws both fought in wars, one in WWII, the other in Korea. They both shed blood for this country, and I want to believe they didn’t do so in vain. I want to feel hope for tomorrow.

But the realist in me sees darker days before the light. Our system is rigged against the average person. Some want you to believe the problem is that half the country lives on welfare, expecting the rest to care for them. You’ve seen the propaganda, but the facts don’t support that. Take a minute of your time and research the actual numbers of who receives government assistance and what percentage of that money makes up the overall federal budget. It’s a small amount.

What I see, what scares the hell out of me, is a growing shift in this country of a new form of slavery. Working people who toil their entire lives making fortunes for the corporate masters without livable wages, without adequate healthcare, without suitable education, without any possibility of upward mobility or leaving a better life for their children. I call it the New Dark Ages.

People are regressing. Civility and decency are receding. Look around in public. Look at how dumb and ignorant people have become. Look at how rude and aggressive people are on the roads. Look at how many people go through their days like mindless drones. Look at what’s popular on TV. We’re hardly more than savages.

At this point, I have no answers. I can’t see a way out of this downward slope into a plutocracy of the unfathomable haves and the great mass of working slaves. Every time I hear a conservative rail against redistribution of wealth, I want to scream we already have it. For the last thirty or forty years all our wealth has redistributed upwards. All the laws, all the regulations, have been rigged to favor big business and those who already have. As a person who gets up everyday, trudges to work, sacrifices my health for scraps, and coasts through the last week of each month on loose change, I feel no hope for my future. I know I’m not alone. I know most of us feel something similar.

I want to believe again in my country, in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, but right now, I truly don’t feel free. I don’t feel like a person who has any say so in my own future. The people who make decisions about my life are so disconnected from my reality they can’t comprehend how their decisions affect my daily life, and what’s worse, they don’t listen or even seem to care. That’s not how a democracy is supposed to function.

Tomorrow, I’ll get up, go to work, trudge through another day, work on book four, and maybe fantasize about big sales, but in my heart, I’ll feel trapped in a broken system, in a dying democracy, in a once beautiful dream that’s dissolved into a nightmare.

This isn’t the country I grew up in.