Finally I get to blame it on the rain. Milli Vanilli where finally vindicated. I watched the rain as it attempted, but ultimately failed, to turn the parking lot below into a swimming pool. I had no choice but to sit and watch this futile effort. Years of worry about lighting brought about by a trip to the Boston Science museum and their lighting exhibit made me think twice about plugging in my computer. Had this not happened I would have written something far more light hearted.
It fascinated me, as I watched how beautiful and paradoxically powerful water is. You really need an exact amount or things get destroyed. Too much water on crops and they don’t grow, too little and they also don’t grow. The difference between life and death can actually be accurately measured.
Water is soft. An individual drop falling on a person can do no real harm. We use it to bathe and drink. Without consuming it we cannot survive. Yet the same water which we use to nourish our bodies can drown us if we can consume too much. It can literally cause a mountain of crumble and has after millions of years become the ultimate graffiti artist carving out ravines and canyons. It is done at such a scale humans still cannot replicate it to the same scale.
What we are seeing in the United States today is much like the rain outside my window. The United States, if you think about it, was based on this totally bizarre and radical idea at the time. Let’s build a country built on the thrown out and unwanted pieces from other countries. Even today it stands as a unique social experiment.
The founding fathers , not content with their mad scientist experiment decided “Hey let’s not only get all these people from different cultures with different wants and needs, let’s leave them in charge.” So there it was. The founding fathers made a system where a poor man from rural Arkansas could best a rich man from Maine.
Now though, the whole system is starting not to work. Freedom is waxing and waning between extremes, never settling in the middle. It worked for a while but eventually the wear and tear of the pendulum swing is causing the rope start to weaken and fray. The precise measured amount of freedom never seems to be met. Either it is too much or too little .The difference between life and death , remember, is quantifiable.
It is really easy to blame it on politicians. Politicians in the end are nothing more than carnival barkers. They are more what professional wrestlers would be if professional wrestlers wore suits and bored people to tears with speeches or votes. Our elected government acts much as it should, it sends the people least likely to play a useful role on the local level as far away as possible.
The real blame sits squarely on our laps. Day in and day out we watch as people become coarser to each other. We have replaced real worlds with virtual ones. We watch horrific tragedies play out nightly on the TV with the same fascination as we watch gruesome events unfold. We try and connect with those tragedies instead of the ones we can actually affect in a positive way in our own backyard.
We have lost the art of rationally disagreeing. We see disagreement as some great affront. Really though it is the most beautiful part of the country we live in. Most of my friends disagree with me, and those who agree with me I will disagree with because no one should agree with me ever. It is a terrible idea. I am a person, I am not omnipotent. Yet more and more often we have taken disagreeing as being some personal affront to our existence.
Tom Brokaw, covering his last election many years ago, made a very poignant and important observation. I will now, in a combination of forgetfulness and artistic license, repeat the meaning of it. I hope I don’t butcher it too badly. Every four yea
rs we peacefully change governments, there is no bloodshed there is no violence. It simply happens.
We as a nation have committed many wrongs. Most of our wrongs have been committed against our own people. Yet we strive to fix these wrongs and more often than not we succeed. Most of the citizens in America were alive when African Americans were forced to sit at the back of the bus in many cities. Now forty years later we have an African American president. Not only that but we have politicians who are diametrically opposed to him who are African American. There are children alive now who know nothing but the many different versions of this. This diversity which is relatively new to most of us is “normal” for the children who will one day lead this country.
Did we accomplish it through violence? No. Was it accomplished by calling people bigots and shaming them into agreeing with us? No. It was done calmly. It was done with loving kindness over beers and coffee. This is how America will survive.
Yes sometimes you need to raise your voice over injustice but raise it too much and you commit the very crimes you are fighting against. Hold your ground by all means, but understand that person who you are passionately disagreeing with is merely exercising the same right you are. You can hate the message, but once you hate the person you have become no better.
Every religion I have studied has had some form of the golden rule. Treat people how you wish to be treated. Love, compassion and respect will create more love, compassion, and respect. It is the only way to keep us from drowning or to keep us from turning into dust.
Josh Keidan is the Unofficial Official Spokeman for Generation X. He pretty much likes everybody, even people who like the New York Yankees.