People sometimes deal with adversity by saying, “What can you do? Life goes on.” It’s a way of trying to compartmentalize the bad events so that we can continue to live our lives in some semblance of normalcy.
I’m not usually good at doing this, but the events of recent months have forced me to either get better at it or just curl up in a ball under the kitchen table. I guess I’ve found a sort of balance: Some days I just ignore the latest outrage from Washington and go hunting for dragonflies; other days I curl up in a ball under the table and wait for it to be over.
In less than a year, I’ve watched my country evolve first into a laughingstock for the rest of the world, and then into something almost incomprehensible. In 2017, America is no longer respected as a global leader, but is instead seen as a nation being overtaken by hate and anger. We’ve lost our way, and those who should be leading us are failing miserably.
And if our leaders won’t lead, then it’s up to us to lead ourselves. And we can start by treating our fellow citizens with respect and love. And we need to let the rest of the world know, without a doubt, that this is not acceptable. And that most Americans are decent people, many of whom are horrified and scared, especially after the events of last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I’ve been struggling with how to react to the daily assaults on decency and freedom that have become our new “normal” in America. For the most part, I’ve kept my opinions to myself in public. But I can’t do that any longer. I know I run the risk of losing followers who would prefer that I stick to posting about butterflies or dragonflies. I will get back to writing about my nature escapades, but this is important.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
I worry that keeping silent is almost as bad as approving of what’s happening in our national nightmare. So I just want to go on record: This. Is. Not. Normal. The American government has been overtaken by a terrifying mixture of immoral and hateful racist sympathizers that do not represent the majority of people who live in this country.
The most despicable elements of our society have been encouraged to crawl from beneath their rocks. They are emboldened by the words of a president who either doesn’t understand the enormity of the damage being done by his words, or even worse, is trying to tear our society apart at the seams.
I don’t have answers to the many difficult problems facing this nation. But I do know that we have to be able to talk about what’s happening here. We can’t just allow ourselves to become numb or to stop paying attention to what’s going on. And we are doomed unless we learn how to have civil conversations without resorting to canned talking points fed to us by the right- and left-wing media stations. There’s far too much shouting and far too little real conversation about important issues.
I’ll continue to live my life as normally as I can in these trying times, but it’s getting to the point that I wonder if that’s a mistake. Maybe we all need to pull our heads out of the sand and start speaking out.
Because as long as we’re silent, we’re complicit in the downfall of a once-respected nation.
Note: images for this post via Flickr Creative Commons.