Thursday, May 26, 2022

Resurrecting Hope

Is there anything left to be said in the wake of yet another mass murder event in the U.S. that can be helpful? Probably not. Maybe I should shut up. I have less and less energy, and enthusiasm for life every day, but the last thing we need are discouraging words, because that is what domestic terrorism thrives on. Somewhere between thoughts and prayers and conspiracy theories lies truth and constructive action.

By now it should be abundantly clear that our lawmakers, at least the majority, have no interest in the safe education of our children. Indeed, part of the agenda is to abolish public schools such that only wealthy families have access to education through private schools. The goal appears to be a largely uneducated population of unquestioning consumers, and a powerless labor pool for production that is not already automated, or outsourced to foreign countries.

Maintaining and increasing power and wealth within a small circle of elites is at the heart of every level and category of governance, from legislation to executive to judicial, local to federal. It is obvious that there is no sacrifice too great, including the preventable deaths of children and teachers, to ensure the established power structure persists.

Every social media post and tweet that claims voting does not matter, that nothing can be done to stem the tide of blood, is another victory for these “leaders.” We are conditioned to be apathetic, lazy, armchair activists at best. Please repeat the same trite, tired, worn-out pleas and rhetoric so that indeed nothing changes. Submit, surrender, accept your reality of death, poverty, and despair. You have streaming services on your phone to distract and comfort you….

Do not be deceived. There are ways you can make an impact. Be brave. Change your habits and set an example others can live by. What I am asking is that you make some difficult decisions, but none of them are irreversible.

Do you have a firearm? Ask yourself whether you truly need it, especially if you have curious children in your household. Give serious consideration to surrendering it. My late father had at least one handgun. I should have insisted that it be taken away from him as soon as the full scope of his dementia became apparent. I’m grateful nothing catastrophic happened, and the pistol was turned over to police upon his passing.

As much as possible, drop out of the corporate economy. Patronize local businesses instead. Eat at local restaurants, tip as generously as you can.

Do you have an investment portfolio (mine is modest, through inheritance)? Make sure you divest any shares in corporations that manufacture or sell guns, that are guilty of crimes against labor, the environment, and/or consumers. Get a new financial advisor if they balk at your standards.

Voting does matter, as it remains one of the few avenues to influence lawmaking; but running better candidates is even more important. Consider running yourself, and/or promoting the candidacy of people in marginalized demographics (Black, Hispanic, Asian, transgendered persons, non-binary, LGBTQ+, truly middle-class and below). I guarantee you that our general population will be better off. Beware, however, of individuals seeking to increase their own power and wealth by aligning with power brokers in either party, or those with an existing high profile as a celebrity.

Here is a hard one: Consider changing or abandoning your religion. That is not the same thing as surrendering your faith, or a belief in God. At least re-evaluate the ethics of your church, sect, synod. Are they in favor of limiting the freedoms of others, especially women? Do they discriminate against agender, transgendered, and/or LGBTQ+ people? Do they want to deny their right to exist? Do they support continued colonization via missionary work? Do they align themselves with the more destructive aspects of any political party? Any “yes” answer here should be a red flag. What good are freedom and charity if we pick and choose who receives them?

Dismiss me as a grumpy old man if you wish, but I am not going to take up arms, or an attitude, to “protect” myself from changes that are long overdue. I am in no way threatened by the idea of true equality, justice, and freedom for those my race, gender, and ancestors have abused for centuries. The biggest part of my White privilege is the obligation to repair the damage to the best of my ability. If that makes me an “apologist,” “race traitor,” or some other epithet you are compelled to apply to me, so be it. I’ll wear it proudly.