On Facing Adversity: A Reflection on Our Future

Every morning I wake up and check my social media feed. I used to do so to catch up on my friends and find out what was going on, but for the past year my feed has been inundated by political postings, both fact and fiction and it’s sometimes difficult for me to find the difference despite my advanced degree. For the most part the news is inevitably bad, especially post election. Every day I see that the atrocious one has appointed some other incredible lowlife to work in his administration whose only qualifications are being rich, ethically bankrupt, and a fan of the man. I see a man who’d rather run an obscene victory lap than take the security briefings the job requires, and who quite frankly doesn’t give a red hot damn about the laws of this country, the people of this country, nor the Constitution of this country. He cares about his money, his power, and himself, always has, always will.

I have valued my social media feed for its ability to put me in contact with a ton of people I have known over the years, most of whom I’d lost contact with. Through it I can find out what these folks are up to, where they have moved, and all of the various things that go with maintaining long distance friendships as well as professional contacts. While I still am able to do so most of what I see is the disaster looming on the horizon, the crimes my country is still permitting (and now endorsing under the incoming administration) against the indigenous people who are currently attempting to protect the integrity of their water, and the gross ecological threat to the planet the new administration represents. This is heavily seeded amongst the photos of grandchildren, gig announcements, cat and dog photos, and the very occasional non-political cartoon.

Everyday I see further threats to the safety of my African American brothers and sisters, Muslim brothers and sisters, and LGBTQ brothers and sisters who all simply want to live in peace with each other, and have the opportunity to an equal share in what happiness life has to offer. I see the rise of the “alt. right,” simply a euphemism for Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, misogynists and bigoted self-aggrandizing greedy folk who despise difference, in a place that is supposed to be a haven of safety for the people, not those who prey upon them. It brings me to the brink of despair that plagues every breath I take of what clean air we have left. I feel an intense sense of loss for what this country could and should be, and sorrow for what it is becoming.

I posted my intent to step back from social media several weeks ago, but didn’t because there were folks who valued what I had to say, and my voice in the argument that much of this space has become. I respected their wishes and have hung in there, however at this point what we all need to do is find a source of hope. We need to find some kernel that tells us that we can rise above the polluted waters, defoliated forests, and flattened mountains that the users and abusers want to leave us with. We need to find hope that we will not be sunk into massive wars due to an individual’s inability to control his base urges, and inability to think before speaking. We need to find hope that we, as citizens, are heard and heeded, that our interests are protected, and that our rights to freedom of speech and assembly are not stripped from us. We need to have hope in the application of the laws of this country to all people within its borders, and that no one is above the law regardless of their position of power, and that they will be held fully accountable for their actions, or lack thereof.

Above all, we must maintain the hope that we can make a difference, that we can still make our country a better place that embraces difference as well as unity. We need to know that the world our children and grandchildren are left with has not been destroyed by power hungry narcissists who care for nothing other than themselves. While I am facing despair, there must be that small light in the distance, that north star that provides even the smallest chance that we can indeed overcome and make our ways to a better future despite the incredible uphill battle we are facing. I know I need it, and I’m sure that the rest of us do as well. So let’s find that light that is in the distance and bring our internal mirrors to focus it into something larger that we can share in the journey we are now facing.

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