Monday, December 15, 2014

We Can Do Better

Here we are, a nation on the decline, half of us convinced the other half are evil madmen. We scramble around after our individual dreams like lobsters in a pot, grappling and clawing and coercing and betraying.
            The American Dream. Always just around the corner. Projected at us mirage-like straight from the Swiss bank accounts of psychopaths into our movies, tv shows, our friends riding the wave of the latest bubble, from billboards and fashion magazines, coming from all around us in fingertip 3-D.
            So we keep obeying the rules of this game that benefits so few of us. Watching the antics of megalomaniacs parade across the silver screens, reading about mass murderers in history books, lauded as paradigms of humanity. The game says the victor is always worth listening to. The game lets might equals right.
            So we look hungrily to the wealthy. We listen to them, hoping to understand why we suffer. They point to the teenager next door and his late night 7-11 run becomes an excuse to play out our dearest vigilante fantasies, as though we can physically strike out against the evil in our lives, as though the thing turning love into numbers can be killed.
            We hide our debt, our shame, our failure from one another because we are unforgiving with our own judgments, because we don’t want to burden one another, because failure is contagious, because we might be millionaires still if we don’t catch it.
            But the numbers have spoken. To be born poor in this country is to die poor. There many reasons for this and none involve the innate superiority of certain human beings over others. Many involve unwillingness to compromise values, obey arbitrary orders, or hurt other people in the name of success.
            No matter how different we may seem from one another, everyone wants the same thing: to be treated in a respectful manner, appreciated for their contributions to the community, and left the hell alone when they’re not hurting anybody.
            This isn’t much to ask.
            Isn’t it worth considering exactly what it would take for everyone on Earth to get what they want? The most problematic instance, of course, is people who want to be allowed to hurt others indiscriminately and without consequence.
            They are often brought up as though they negate the whole idea of Utopia, which is pretty ironic, as this describes without doubt many of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. Even if Utopia sounds too idealistic, surely we can do better than to put its gravest enemies in charge.
            In order for a new world to arrive, the status quo must be upset. This is such a frightening prospect that many people would rather suffer indefinitely under the old order than trust our collective ability to invent something better.
            Changing the world is as simple as shifting our global priorities. It’s not a matter of sacrificing our lives or giving up all we have. We just have to stop letting a tiny group of people hoard our common resources.
            What would we do with the resources of the world if we all got to decide together? I think we would look around us at those most in need and put our best people and resources towards helping end their suffering. Helping them to thrive. We’re always trying to do that on our own, in our communities. We don’t spend all of our community time and resources preparing to fight others. Why do we do that on a national and international level?
            What emergency are we storing up our resources for if not our brothers and sisters? What better use of resources than solving desperate crises? Do we regard suffering so casually as to see it as a hobbyist endeavor?
            I don’t think we do. We have more empathy and good sense than that.
            It’s time to shrug the old story that the wealthy ruling class knows better than the masses. Surely we masses, with our good hearts and solid priorites, could come up with a better world than this. 

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