I want to talk about hope, which is both the only thing to live for and the cause of all our pain. Now I am usually a good-natured pessimist, a cheerful dark cry of the coming, meaningless apocalypse. But I am attempting to see another side again, trying to understand things that I don’t believe and why many people believe them. This is the core issue of humanity and it always have been. Perhaps the distracted people of today see the whole cycle of anger, cynicism and blind allegiance as the coming of both a Civil War within the US as well as the fuse that ignites world war three. Maybe it is.
There is more to these issues than simple disorder and cultural confusion. And it is far from the first time such disputes and conflicts have broken out all over the world. Just take the twentieth century as an example: two world wars, several Communist and Islamic revolutions, all of which still have great influence today; the there was the ‘Cold War,’ which lasted longer than any of these and which was more like the spread of a virus with smaller, regional conflicts breaking out and giving the munitions industry–they who ended world war two with two bombs–a chance to try out new deadly weapons in a place they never truly cared about. The response to this in America and throughout the world was a so-called ‘conservative revolution,’ a social revolt of people sick and tired of protests and the hippies and all the failed liberal policies that overwhelmed the handful of successes.
Today, the only difference in rage and radicalism is the power of the weapons and a slight shift to a more extreme perspective. The real change is with the people ourselves. Technology is mostly to blame, along with terrible, selfish parenting, as well as the distractions and blinding pace of the complicated world. Everything we eat is some form of fast food, filled with artificial ingredients and is easy to consume on the run. I claim this about even the healthiest diets, about veganism, about those holistic, organic mothers. And that is because their all natural food has already been prepared, already set up for them and the only thing they need to do is chop things up and mix them together, throw them in a pot or a pan or an oven, or just eat it raw. Chemicals, preservatives and such are included, unless, on the off-chance they are not (regardless of the claims of the seller), you have something fresh for a few days and if you don’t eat it you waste it and throw it in the trash, or you are doomed to pick up whatever rotten parasite has invaded the air that we breathe..
But I wanted to discuss ‘hope’ and I fear I have done a shit-awful job to this point. And so I will turn this narrative around, acknowledging the flaws and wondering how things can get better. Because this is all we do in times of strife or when dealing with great tragedy: we either give up hope entirely or embrace it, seeking a fresh new way of living that will repair all the broken bones left over of civilization.
There have always been a few leaders of change, whether for the better or towards evil. Gandhi was certainly one of them. He inspired Martin Luther King, Jr towards his miraculous quest. George Washington gets a nod, as does Adams and Jefferson and Madison. Lincoln. FDR. JFK (not as president, but as a symbol of hope), LBJ (first term only), Carter (a shift away from corruption that ultimately failed), Reagan, Clinton (don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, because tomorrow is filled with witch hunts and partisan strife and lies and opinions becoming truth, at least for some of the people). Bush II, at the very least, was a decent enough man to care about the consequences of his numerous failures to act, as well as the mistakes he made in going to the wrong wars.
Then there’s Obama, who is possibly the most contentious figure in American history. His election was a revolutionary change to our nation (and I apologize that this is so American based–it is what I know best; I could also point out the historically evil who have altered the world: the Hitlers and Stalins and Napoleons and Chairman Mao and the Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama Bin Laden . . . )
Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize not for anything he personally did, but just for being elected. As such the Nobel Peace Prize actually went to the American citizenry, for embracing change and trying to get past our historical racism and prejudice.
It didn’t work. In fact it seems to have made things worse. It has lead to an increase of the belief-based bile that shoots out as separate truths everywhere in the world. Radical left and right started screaming at one another like never before. This is because the right–the far right–forming a ‘Tea Party,’ finally stepped out of their shell of dismissing ‘the crazies’ and joined in the fun for themselves.
Of course there have always been far right lunatics, going back in time to way before America. There have also been left-wing extremists seeking to tear down the world and start a new way of life. I believe the American Revolution is an example of such an effort. But none of this ultimately matters. Hope will win out, eventually. It will barrel over Trumpian rage and Obama-inspired transilience, and moderate itself back to sanity. The world will become a much better place where people will stop shrieking at one another and listen to what each of us has to say. The world . . . the world can be saved, it can be fixed, everything wrong can be solved if we can only embrace hope!
Or at least I hope . . .