There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool (We Won’t Get Fooled Yet Again)

So here I am in the second month of 2014, my forty-third year of life, and I find myself a somewhat civically engaged life-long resident citizen of a middling post-industrial city that still hasn’t quite managed to stop thinking of itself as a small blue collar town with lots of farmland lost of Earthy wisdom and pluck. One of the things that I find myself becoming that I don’t like is a bit alarmist. I look at my federal government, and I see a benign dictator doing things that no post modern western government should ever do. I look to the old world, and I see numerous fascist and totalitarian parties being formed and brutal, hate-filled policies being enacted, particularly in countries where such behaviour once made them the most unpopular countries in the world. It’s like the clock is being turned back to a time when hate and fear ruled the world, and all of our rational thinking and hard work is going right out the window.

The U.S. of A, homeland of my beloved wife and partner, is a sea of mass confusion, as intellectuals, academics and celebrity scientists face off against mouth pieces, rogue elephant industrialists a tsunami of Tea Party adherents who have so insulated themselves from the worlds of enlightenment and love that they might was well be a separate nation of religious fanatics and clueless plutocrats. There are aging rock stars and so-called religious leaders who are calling for the head of the President of their own country, a man who, for all his faults, got elected by promoting hope. There are actually vehement critics of Pope Francis, perhaps the most venerable working spiritual leader left in the world (I love the Dalai Lama, but he’s technically not the spiritual leader of his people anymore). I’m not a religious man, but even I respect this man’s words and works to date. Yet I actually fear for his life, because in this day and age, there are too many guns and not enough sense going around.

The world is becoming a dark, cynical, hateful place rife with fear and prejudice (again), with hate crimes coming to light every day, with women still being beaten, raped or sold into sexual slavery in foreign countries… and in inner cities, hooked on drugs and cut off from every support system that could protect them. Gays being imprisoned or beaten. Animals being slaughtered ruthlessly for financial gain. Libraries being burned. Environmentalists being muzzled. Free speech curtailed, the world press corrupted, and the internet being yoked to corporate interests and secret political machinations for the sake of tyrants, oil barons and the copyright-abusing entertainment industry.

I don’t care how tough times are (they’re always tough times for someone): if you can’t admit that you are doing heinous things to fellow human beings, you forfeit your right to the civil freedoms you so easily abuse and steal from those whose only crime is that they aren’t enough like you to deserve your grudging respect. News Flash: NO ONE is Just Like You. Not. One. Soul. We are seven billion universes, seven billion islands, seven billion churches of one, and the best thing we can all do is to reach out to one another and try to understand, try to show tolerance, if love is not possible, and to share love as much and as hard as you can.

It’s not about your life-defining dogma; it’s about doing the right thing. It’s about loving life enough to set aside our differences and working together to make the world a brighter, safer place for everyone. We have to let go of bad ideas that teach us to hate one another. We have to recognize when what we’re espousing is no longer love but hate. We may love those we think are like us, but if we only learned to look a little bit harder, we’d see that there are only islands. Only separate worlds. Only an ocean full of strangers.

And yet, if you’re looking for a reason to care, know this: we are all islands, but we are all connected by that ocean. We are all part of the same ecosystem. We can and should be able to share and love and help wherever and whenever possible. In our unity grows our strength to face the elements and the vagaries of the world. Without that support, we all die. Alone.

So that’s my spiel for today. Share it around if you like. Thanks for reading.


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