Aren’t We Better Than This – blog

Like a lot of people these days – or a lot of people through time, I’d imagine – I find myself asking again and again – aren’t we better than this? It seems like every day there is a new scandal, a new outrage, a new revelation of information the public didn’t need to be privy to and over and over I ask – aren’t we better than this?

Aren’t we better than fighting in the streets?

Aren’t we better than attacking people for slights real or imagined?

Aren’t we better than targeting people for abuse because we can?

Aren’t we better than harming children who can’t hope to protect themselves because we’re so horribly damaged ourselves?

Aren’t we better than following bigots and liars and making excuses for them when they show their true colors?

Aren’t we better than needing to carry guns around as if it’s for protection and not as a threat not to mess with such a tough person?

Aren’t we better than hurling abuse at teachers who sacrifice at every turn to try to lead our kids out of the gloom of corporatized schooling and into wider pastures?

Aren’t we better than being selfish monsters who care only about our perceived rights and our fear of missing out?

On and on and on and on and on and…

No.

We aren’t better than that.

That’s clear.

If Covid has done anything else outside of taking our loved ones away permanently or temporarily it has shown many of us for the selfish louts we are. It has shown that, when it comes down to it, we don’t want to sacrifice for some perceived greater good, and we don’t want to work together to overcome something. We want to go out to the movies, and go out to the bar, and go to concerts, and we don’t want to be told what to do to protect ourselves.

We were faced with a crack in our foundation as fellow Americans cried out for justice and many of us balled our hands into fists in response.

We watched as democracy with clawed at and its edges torn and soiled and many of us shrugged while too many others joined right in.

Why aren’t we better than this?

Humans are a work in progress.

We are all damaged and dealing with heartache and heartbreak.

Dealing with slights real and imagined.

And dealing with a life we feel we deserve but aren’t living.

Our yearnings, something all of us have – a better life, a better job, a better body, a better whatever – has been weaponized by people who want us to believe we have been cheated out of what we deserve and the great THEM is responsible.

THEY did this to you.

THEY did this to the country.

THEY did this to God.

THEY, THEY, THEEEEEY!

Who they are is on roller skates though and always changing. It’s the Left, sometimes the Right, many times a minority, lately someone with an identity not believed to be the ‘norm’.

Ah, the Norm, the Great Lie, if there ever was one.

As if gay and trans people or people struggle to identify themselves is a new thing.

A modern thing.

Please.

It’s like someone saying they are a child of God as they invade and murder a country.

Whoops.

Some have earned their anger, their dream denied generation after generation and yet still they are told to get to the back of the line because their pants hang too low, their hair is unkempt, and they look like a thug.

Some came here with a dream and a hope only to be villainized for political gain, because the white folks are afraid of anyone that isn’t them.

Many though have forged their anger on that grand lie of – you deserve it.

You deserve that big house.

You deserve that model girlfriend.

You deserve to have sex and are owed it.

You deserve everything because you are you and you’re special and unique and deserve only the best. Not fighting for it. Not working for it. Not striving for it.

No.

You just deserve it for the sheer fact that you exist.

Good for you.

But it doesn’t work that way.

ALL of us want what we want and feel, in some small ways, that we ‘deserve’ those things. It’s natural. We’re a selfish race, in part, because it’s how we survive. We need to tend to our own garden before we can aid with others’. There is a cultural sickness that has struck us though where so many of us feel slighted and falsely marginalized and it has created a deep-seated anger in us.

We are just so angry anymore.

Instead of learning how to cope with people’s nastiness and learning to move past it – because someone who doesn’t know your heart or the hearts of those you love doesn’t get the right to have their words mean more than hot air {though we know those words feel more important than that}) – we are teaching people to fight.

Someone disrespects you?

Punch them.

If they talk smack about someone you love.

Smack them.

Put respect on my name because I deserve it.

You don’t know me or owe me but I deserve it.

But do I?

We are raising angry young men and women who want fame at any cost and want to be seen and heard and are willing to do any stunt or challenge or foolhardy thing to get that attention. We don’t teach them that that sort of fame burns hot and bright and quick.

It doesn’t last.

They want the attention we aren’t giving them.

The attention we have taught them they deserve.

I spent hours last night watching our local City Council meeting where our notorious Council President grandstanded for over an hour about slights done to him, aired dirty laundry and grievances about other Council members, and otherwise abused his power. None of this is new, he just has the power now to bully the other members, many of them women who he made nasty remarks about. He’s an embarrassment that will keep getting re-elected because it gives him power and the people in his district think he’s a sort of folk hero because he gets loud and fights back.

We also recently had a member of the school board attack and beat another member.

Neither elected official can be easily removed because our democracy is so full of red tape that if you learn how to get around it, your enemies will hang themselves with it before you get ousted for misdeeds.

In both cases here it’s a matter of people feeling their voice, and their ‘vision’ is more important than anyone else’s. Their outrage and frustration and anger burns brighter than their sense of duty and loyalty to their constituents.

They are the community’s wrathful swords, so it is portrayed, saying and doing the things that everyone else wishes they could.

We are so anxious to make a fist instead of shaking a hand and we aren’t getting better.

None of this is to say I am better. That I am above frustration and anger and selfish ideals.

We are all wrong though.

We are better than this.

We have to be.

If we all don’t work to try to be better than one of the generations coming up is going to finally blow out this human candle for good with weapons of mass destruction because they didn’t get their way and they wanted to be the most important person in the world.

We already stand at this precipice.

We already have done irreparable damage to this gift we live on.

Our hubris it seems, knows no bounds.

We have a lot of growing up to do, as a human race and as a culture.

It would be helpful if some of our leaders and icons worked harder to remember their standing and that, fair or not, they carry a heavier burden when it comes to their words and actions.

We’re all watching.

And like children, we’re all easily influenced towards the lesser parts of ourselves.

And we should be better than that.

We have to be.

We have no choice.

…c…

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