I think of the years I’ve lived through in this country, beginning in the 60s. I think of all of the events of those years, wars, assassinations, fiscal fraud, red-lining and the many deeply institutionalized racist laws, regulations, and embedded policies relating to all areas of living.
How is it that I (and many others, I imagine) can live through and be aware of all that has transpired just in my own lifetime–not to mention the first 165 years of this government, or the mass murder and slavery that preceded our separation from England, or the much longer history of man’s inhumanity–and be surprised by where we are today?
In the face of the facts of history, how is it that one can have even a shred of hope in human nature to actually improve the condition of one’s neighbors?
Perhaps the only hope one can have resides in the microcosm of family, or the view of natural wonder; the smallest unit of society, or the lack of society. I pick up Jackson, or even Frankie, and the pure joy evokes an emotional state that makes the world melt. I look at Pattie, hug Joe, see an email from one of my siblings, and feel an instantaneous warmth. We see a view of the world without humanity–somewhere in some glorious National Park, or the sea life on a reef–and that little dose of goodness doesn’t last long, just a quick shot, but it makes the enormity of the world’s problems melt, just for an instant. How is it that my mind can use such a fleeting moment to balance everything else? Is that the nature of escapism, or is it what we call “mental health”?
I think about what many are hoping, working, praying for–the removal of a criminal from the position of POTUS–and look at the daily headlines of disease, political and economic fraud, and see that we’re hoping for nothing more than the common decency taught us by our parents, the fundamental value of the Golden Rule at the heart of most all religions.
But so much of human nature is so greedy, so narcissistic, so psychopathic and unempathetic. What a bizarre concept of omnipotence would create such an unresolvable conflict, only to lead to humanity’s destruction of everything, including itself?
Today’s headlines are no more, no less encouraging than any other day’s. So I’ll just pet Frankie for a while.