So when I write these blogs I write them with the understanding that I am screaming into the darkness. Talking to myself. These are my way to think through things and to see how they look on a shelf. A person or two may read my bloggies and that is rad but I don’t really imagine that more than a couple people once in a while wander through. And again, that’s fine. I, like anyone who writes, would love an audience but I get that that’s not always in the cards. Maybe it makes it easier on me though that I don’t have an audience to feel I need to cater to.
So while I wish I had people hanging on my every word, well, talking to myself makes it easier to say stuff without fear of upsetting the old apple cart.
As I have said before there come times in our history where there are cultural shifts. Culture and society is built on plates that are always in motion and once in a while we have a social quake that shakes everything up. We’re in the middle of one of those right now. It’s almost as if the small changes get to a point where they reach a moment where the culture, the society must act on those changes – forward or back. In or out. With or against. The small stones of change build into an avalanche and that’s what we have now. The social powderkegis lit and we’re all in the blast radius.
And the thing is, saying all of this, it’s good. The growing pains are hard to watch, and are hard to live through, but the fact is that we need to take a moment from time to time, heck, more than a moment, to look at ourselves and ask if we are the people and nation we want to be or if we can do better and be better. We need these times to reassess the way we see the world and the world works. It’s a time to look at human rights, personal rights, and the rights of the body politic. It’s a time to talk, question, and debate. We need to ask ourselves if this is the world we want to leave the future.
The problem in all of this though is that these sorts of examinations, these sorts of societal quakes bring out the worst in us. Even the best among us must look within and ask if the way they see the world and their place in the world reflects what they want to see in the world. Everyone has flaws, blindspots where we are struggling to be better but are not there yet. It’s part of being human. But another part is in blaming everyone around you for the things you fear in yourself. Everyone loves to portray themselves as enlightened and wise and loving but the fact is that we are ever-evolving and that there is always a part of the fear in us of the ‘other’, the ‘different’, and the ‘strange’. Fear isn’t a bad thing, it helps keep us safe in most instances but in some, well, it just makes us act foolish. The thing with change is that it brings out the fear in people, the deep, dark fear that bubbles from the bottom of us and makes us question our place in the world around us. People of faith fear that their faith will be questioned or taken from them. People of a majority fear they will become a minority. People of power fear they will lose that power. And there is reason to fear because things change, and they will always change and as they change so must we too change. But that doesn’t make change bad. It makes change natural. The mountains will rise and wither. The oceans will swell and recede. The ground will spread and collapse. All things change.
The thing here though is that people begin to forge weapons of their fear. They join together to rage against the changes, proposed or unstoppable. They try to stamp out the people pushing for change in any way possible, even to the point of using force.
And it’s fear.
This is the face of fear.
And the funny thing is that the place that fear comes from, the deep well where it lives, is the same place that every person has and that the people calling for change have within them, but for many it’s the fear that who they are will be stifled, stopped, and stamped out. They feel marginalized and abused and that they need to apologize for just being themselves. And the fear people feel about change is nothing to the fear one must feel when their very existence seems a threat to the status quo.
In the heart of that fear of change is a self-righteousness that we all know very, very well. The proclamation that we know best, we know all, we are the one that is right. However we see the world around us is how it should be. And that feeling comes from all people and all sides. It’s a sort of safety mechanism to keep us on an even keel. If we constantly doubt all things at all times we’ll never be able to do anything but fear. But that cocksure attitude also causes us to lash out at those around us who question us. We want everyone around us to apologize for not just what they believe but what they are. We want people to apologize for everything about themselves, their present, their past, and even their future. We want them to apologize for the sins of their family, their beliefs, their religions, their race, their sexuality, their gender identity, their color, we want them to apologize for making us have to even take them into our gaze.
How dare you make me question myself and my belief?
How dare you possibly impinge on my being and rights?
How dare you?
We are full of so much fear that we want to make enemies of our allies. We want to question people as if they are suspected of committing sins and crimes because they are not us. How dare they believe they can be our ally when they are clearly not the same as us?
But they dare.
Even in the face of people blaming us for things we never said or did.
We want to hold the world on trial as we try to change it, willing to burn everything down with the hope that there’s something beneath the ash.
And it’s all a part of the changes that come but it’s all so ugly.
We want enemies, we almost need them to feel as if the changes are real.
And again, the thing that we all share is fear.
Change will come, for good or ill, whether we stand in place, hide ourselves away, or add to the charge. The thing is that the change becomes a culture war. We don’t see that, as example, homosexuals have been with humanity since the beginning because it’s part of possibility of our genetic code. You can deny it, you can shake your fist at it, and you insist that homosexuality is a choice but if that was the case, if it were just that simple then why would so many choose to take a harder path in their lives? Why would there be so many obstinate people? And frankly, if that’s the case, then heterosexuality would be the same choice. It’d all be a choice. It’d be like telling someone to choose to be Caucasian if they felt they had it so bad. Some things just ‘are’ yet we refuse to accept them. We want to fight against gay rights because we feel that it takes away from religious freedom and sets a bad example and is sinful and all of it when, that lifestyle has been with us for millennia. We have dealt with it for all this time, and have fought it for all this time, and it’s clearly not going anywhere. So why fight? Because the world changes doesn’t mean you have to. You can still hold your beliefs in your heart, you just cannot hold others down because of them. That’s how this works. That’s how society is supposed to work. If you follow a loving god that you trust with all your heart then you must step back, cast your hands to the heavens and accept that your god will judge people or not and that you have no part in that play.
But the fear.
It has seeped out of everything since this past election cycle, and we blame the election but it wasn’t that, though it may have been the catalyst for much of the current frustration we see, no, that keg’s fuse was lit years ago and we are just dealing with things finally. It’s in the arts that you’ll see the seeds of change take root, letting us see and experience other people, and other views, and, if it’s done well, helping to open us up to the idea that maybe the world is bigger than that which we hold in our grasp our arms.
But the fear.
From both sides.
How dare you be a man. Or a woman. Or gay. Or straight. Or trans. Or whatever.
How dare you ‘be’.
Forgetting that this isn’t our world, our personal world, but the world of all people everywhere and we will argue, and we will fight, and we will shake our heads at the selfishness and hatefulness of one another but that doesn’t mean that we get to build walls around the ones we love and live in encampments. This culture, this nation, this world should live beyond one person, one cycle of leadership, and one generation.
This not ours to destroy.
This is not ours to ruin.
When will we learn that.
And that’s where the anger and fear comes from, the frustration that someone feels so strongly about a thing that they will hurt their opposition in any way possible just to get what they want. We are in a world where the rich fight for more money when the poor fight for the simplicity of clean water and the hope to have hope.
But this world will change.
Whether the people in power want it to or not.
It will change.
And we can stand in place, or fight for or against the change but the world will change.
You don’t have to support it but if you aren’t willing to accept it then you’ll have a miserable life ahead of you. But if you are denied the very right to be who you are then that misery already exists and so you’ll fight for change, and you’ll fight for allies, and you’ll fight for those you love but as you fight, remember that it’s fear that pits one against the other and its fear that holds people down, and in the end it’s fear that breaks us all apart and instead of demanding apologies from one another maybe we should simply ask each other to ask themselves why they are so afraid and if it’s worth the losses to have the gain.
I won’t apologize for who I am.
I won’t apologize for what I believe.
But I will try to think past my fear and will believe we can create a better world, a world for all of us, even if it seems like the greatest of lost causes.
I won’t apologize for any of it though.