August 15, 2020

The world is a mess.

Sound familiar?  It should as it is a phrase repeated by every generation in every year of every decade, and it is true.  The world is and our country is, and pretty much always has been.  It is kind of what life is.  A mess.

Dooms-day’ers are predicting the end and optimists are saying it will pass.  Meanwhile we all keep moving through it, this mess.

I try not to enter the right-wing/left-wing discussions on line.  People either peeing on each other or agreeing with some evil observation, blame at the center of it all.  Blaming someone else of course, never one’s self. Always the other guy.

And lists of reasons why the writer is correct and others not so much.  Lots of proof from the media and the internet.  Like Goebbels always said, say it often enough and it will become the truth.  Truth? What is the truth? (I can visualize Jack Nicholson screaming “You can’t handle the truth.”) Even the history books can’t verify the truth since they are usually written by the winners.

So today we are dealing with a lot.  Here is a partial list:

A changing environment, a warming climate, and the coming consequences. Oceans in peril, coral reefs dying and fish being eliminated systematically.

An ever growing sense of entitlement and a waning work ethic.

A dysfunctional government with leaders who cannot lead but can divide; Trump lovers and haters.

Black lives matter, even when they are resisting arrest and Blue lives matter, even when they are cruel or racist.

China wants to get at us through Tick Tock and Russia wants to get us by re-electing Trump.

Biden is losing his mind and Kamala Harris isn’t a citizen and Bernie wants us to be socialists (and he does).

The GOP is just now beginning to react to some of Trump’s more outrageous antics – but there is no movement to replace him with a more stable candidate, and the Democrats couldn’t find a candidate.

The people that represent us in congress don’t represent us.  They vote along party lines ad nausea while protecting their re-election.

The virus is called dangerous by some and just another flu by others; wearing a mask is an affront to the freedom of some who should be able to spread the disease if they want to. Going back to work and school a double edge sword.

The advice of the public health professionals is just a scam – what the scam is no one seems to know.

The economy is crumbling, has crumbled – yet the stock market thrives while unemployment soars and the entertainment, recreation, dining, gym and coffee shop businesses struggle to survive.

On and on it goes. I don’t participate. Why?  Because one more voice in the maelstrom of noise out there is not going to help us.  I am not sure what will help us other than time.  Time seems to be the only remedy for this insanity of pitting us against each other. 

I just read Kurlansky’s book 1968, the Year that Rocked the World.  January 1968 was when we married, the year my reserve group was activated, the year we were immersed in the military community of the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range and shielded, for the most part, from the outside world.  Where Vietnam was how heroes were made and where assassinations were celebrated (We got another one!) and where long hair was scorned (not that I ever had long hair) by the prior generation.

We were so focused on surviving on $90 a month and the coming birth of our first son and how to move to a billet which didn’t have duty every third night and 3rd weekend and how to stay out of trouble being as I was a person who too often spoke his mind and that is not appreciated in the military, that we barely noticed. We were trying to figure out how to survive, how to get ahead, how to advance, how to get a TV even though it was black and white and we were only able to see armed forces broadcasts – so what was happening in the States, and in Europe, on the college campuses around the world, in the neighborhoods back home, between the growing protest against the war, civil rights movement and the Black Panthers and the police and the Democratic convention and Nixon seemed of little concern.

When I read Kurlansky’s book, it was as if I saw for the first time what that year was about. And now, today, we are in a similar situation.  Divided nation, peril is everywhere and blame is being portioned out rather than solutions.  It is the way our world, our race – the human race – is.

The comfort I have is that it was as bad in 1968 – and probably most years before and after.  It is how it is. How it always was and unfortunately, how it will always be. 

I have no solution for you, but for me I have tools that ease the pain and torment.  I stopped fighting everything and everyone. I have accepted that there is more than one way to do things, and that this too shall pass.  I try to do the next right thing and try to be a good father, husband, friend and neighbor, brother, uncle and so on. I resigned from the debating society.  I live in peace within myself knowing I cannot know the truth, or the right thing to do, or the outcomes of the future. I do the best I can according to my experience and my heart.

I’ll vote for the  one that aligns most closely with my priorities and values, or, if none exists, the one who will do the least harm and allow time to do what it does.

Peace was a buzz word in 1968 and I hang on to it today.

Peace to each of you.

Our Home from Apollo 8, December 1968