To say that the United States is a nation in the middle of change is to downplay what is happening. Culturally, socially, politically, scientifically, and on every other factor we are feeling the pangs of a very painful birth. We have prided ourselves as the standard bearers for Freedom and Justice and have taken great pride in holding true to the credo on our Statue of Liberty as a place open to all who need shelter.
The world has changed though.
Technology and transportations have brought foreign shores and foreign wars here and with them they have brought the strife, blood, and fear. The more involved in the problems of the world, whether asked to be involved or not, the bigger the target has become on the back of the nation. Some of these conflicts we cannot avoid. To avoid them would be to go against all we stand for, but some conflicts we look for, for whatever reasons we have.
We are in an era of conflict, both without and within.
America has struggled to embrace its bloody path but it’s only through embracing it can we face it, learn from it, atone for it, and heal from it. Only from facing it can we make the changes needed to change the things that have made us make poor decisions. While it isn’t fair to look to the past and fully judge it with eyes that are decades and even centuries wiser, there are some truths that are human truths and we need to embrace those fully. It’s time.
Love is not a thing separated by color, creed, code, or sex.
Neither is pain.
There are things that are true for all humans and we need to see that.
We need to face that we have no true right to tell someone that their feelings are invalid if they do not align with ours. We need to face that we have no true right to tell them that their life is of less value then our own. We need to face that every life is different, ergo every experience, ergo the only universal human truth is that we are humans and we are fallible.
We are in troubling times where we are struggling to define our place in the universe. Struggling to define our place in our faith. Struggling to find our place in our society. We are struggling to find a common ground with others that share little in common with us but our planet and species.
We must struggle onward.
We must take a moment and think not of our anger but of our future and what we want it to look like. And then we must look beyond that, to the future of our children, and to their children, and THEIR children and onward. We must decide whether we, those of us on this planet called Earth on this day, are move valuable then the people who may be here in ten years, in a hundred years, and perhaps in a thousand years.
We must be better than we are.
We cannot imagine that this Earth of ours can heal after every wound we inflict. That every resource is unending. That when we walk we do not leave a footprint behind.
We must be better.
We must find ways for ALL OF US to live on this Earth. The planet will only get smaller and while conflict will always exist, and differences, and hatred to rival joy, we will always be here, together. We will never love every neighbor. We will never agree with every decision. We will never kneel for the same gods. But we are still here. Together. You cannot wish some culture away just as they cannot wish you away. War only begets more war. This living, this LIFE, must be more than a zero/sum game where we are always trying to better our position at the knowing expense of someone else. There is no shame in wealth just as there is none in poverty but there is shame in how you attain a thing and what you become after you attain it.
We can close our eyes to the world we do not believe in or accept but that doesn’t make that world go away.
We can create laws, and rules, and penalties for people to live in ways that offend us but that just sends those people into the shadows, where the will still exist and where they will grow both fearful and angry and dangerous. No one wants to live in the shadows and while some may acquiesce, many will not and will eventually fight back.
We need to do better.
If we worship a being that is forgiving and loving then why then aren’t we?
If we worship a being that is wrathful and angry then why would we?
In a world of conflict, we should strive for as much peace as we can make, and we can make a heck of a lot of peace. We can find balance. You don’t have to agree with or condone things for them still to exist. You can fight for the rights of people you may not respect because they should have the same opportunity for joy that you have.
We need to see the world beyond ourselves.
We need to see the world of the future.
Hate is not self-sustaining.
Hate does not nourish.
Hate is a parasite that takes more than it will ever return and if you value yourself so little that you freely will give hate residence within you then the Other isn’t your problem, you are.
We will always find reasons to be angry.
Reasons to be hurt.
Reasons to be scared.
But we are in a world of people who may understand. Who may have been where we are. Who may be able to help.
We don’t have to approve of things our approval is not asked for, we need only accept that this world has millions of people and millions of choices and we will not agree with all of them. If we hold to certain codes then we must find ways to help with them and not use those codes to pen others into lives that they do not want. The laws we create for others can be created for us just as easily. If we are unwilling to accept and champion those that are in a minority then we risk losing the very things that make us human, and not just warts on a world that never asked for us.
We need to be better.
There is a reason there is so much conflict and it’s us.
Our inability to adapt to shifting social tides.
THESE are the good old days, the days that we can influence and inform. The days that we can change.
The past was good for many reasons but to look to the past as if we have lost something precious is to lose yourself in a mirror maze with no exit. The past is gone, good, bad, and evil. And there was some of all those things back there but we are here, in this moment, together.
This world, this America, this culture, WE are in the middle of a storm.
We must weather the storm and work together to rebuild and to find the truth in one another, and the connection in one another or we will lose the things that make this nation truly great and our people truly wonderful. If we choose hate, if we choose division, if we choose war then we are choosing a path that will lead us, all of us, into a brick wall and into a future that will never come.
This is not your world, it is OUR world, and we are in it together. We can either learn to find those connections and learn to disagree civilly or we will become a war zone where we are led by people who serve no masters but themselves and want only FOR themselves. We will face a world where nothing will be great again.
By our words, our deeds, and the way we treat one another we are shaping this future and whether we shape it into a knife or a ladder is up to us.