Saturday, June 20, 2015

'Murica, Manure and The Worldwide Web

"You've been quiet," said no one of me EVER! Until this morning. What he said was in regard to my blogging: I've not weighed in on Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner, or Rachel Dolezal, or Charleston, SC, or any of the hot button topics that have been seared into our TVs, monitors, phones, or earbuds for the past several months. Starting with Ferguson, I made a concerted effort to stay out of the fray. Reason -- or reasons being, 1) I am so repulsed, so infuriated, so heartbroken over the state of American society today, I cannot read another disparaging word about it, and 2) if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

I think we all remember this commercial:
And there you have it, Reason #1: The more intelligent we become as a society, the dumber we get. We choose the things we want to believe rather than believing what is true about one another. We have all these wonderful resources at our disposal, so many ways to bring us together as one race -- the human race -- and still we crave self-annihilation. We say we've evolved simply because we have laws that "forbid that kind of thing" but laws do not necessarily cause people to love one another (there's an entire book written about this). We choose -- yes, I said choose to see the worst in one another, to fear what is different, and therefore, to hate it. We choose to believe what seems most comfortable to us. FOX spins the story one way; CNN another, and the line has been drawn. But, it's up to individuals to use God-given intelligence to sort the cream from the crap; we can bow to their agenda, or seek truth.

Go to your closest bookstore; see how many books there are on relationships. Who thinks there haven't been enough written? Psychology 101 is a basic Humanities that every Associates degree outside of Basket Weaving requires; with all the education in this country, I should think you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who's taken it. And somehow, we forget "birds of a feather flock together." It's one of those things that makes us comfortable. If I am the only person in the studio who hates the exhibit I'm going to feel pretty strange when everyone else whips out their checkbooks and starts buying up everything in sight. Human nature tells us we will do one of two things: place our order, or seek out others who are as repulsed by the exhibit as I. If I'm really insecure, I might even try to create some repulsion through innuendo or blatant lies. But development -- true human development often requires stepping outside of our comfort zone to build relationships, to edify others, and to work for the common good. Today's "information highway" is being used as a manure spreader to disseminate the manure of sheep who have either decided to mindlessly go with the flow, or recruit more sheep. Neither option gives birth to change. As much as technology has allowed us a window into the humanity of those physiologically or culturally different from us, we have chosen to use it to separate, to leave us hunched before the ambient glow of hateful websites, and foolishness: Lilliputian glimpses of Titanic situations, and stories spun with the sole intent of garnering ratings at any cost to real people. We have stopped really thinking about anything. Our society is dying, and as we desperately struggle to resist the suffocation of our own insecurity, we pull down onto ourselves a deluge of ignorance, until the gaping hole of self-righteousness, hatred and unforgiveness become our grave.

Which brings me to Reason #2: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Has there been enough written about race? Has there been enough written about riots? Has there been enough written about cross-dressing, same-sex marriage, trans-gendering, "passing," weaves, PETA, hate, gun control, GMOs, blah, blah, blah? To last a lifetime!  "The pen is mightier than the sword!" Yeah, maybe before the internet. But now you've got every zipperhead with an opinion or "viral video" posting fodder on the worldwide web. (The irony is not lost, trust me.) Eventually, it comes time for us to put our brains in gear, get off our fannies, stop fueling this fire and do some good old fashioned loving. Sounds corny, I know, but outside of a few sick individuals, we all want the same thing: to get to the finish line having run a good race. And that picture may look different from one person to the next, but is beating you over the head with my vision going to change yours? Are we going to fight so viciously over the specifics that we lose the vision entirely? I have chosen to write things that encourage, educate, or simply bring a smile to someone's face. I have chosen to not simply comment on the bricks that build our society, but what our building could look like if each brick was securely anchored to another.

Before I go, here's another cliché for you: Divide and conquer. Am I the only one who sees dead people here? The big gr$$n machine, that runs our companies, our counties, our country, our world, owns the vast majority of the media outlets. Do you remember the 99% a few years ago? "Divide the haves from the have-nots." Now it's black and white. Conservative or liberal. Gay or straight. Male or female. Extremes that seem to hit us "little people" right where we live. If we can be so divided that we break, the big green machine can not only spread its manure, but six feet of dirt right over us.

Despite appearances, I'm just not ready to go that quietly.

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