Friday, April 29, 2016

Hope Amid a Sea of Violence

The news is, of course, distressing; violence and hate seem to be all around us. Electorally we have never, I think, been as divided since the Civil War but nothing, no political system and, certainly, no one person is perfect. George Orwell knew that dystopia is the usual reality and utopia a fantasy which is why he wrote "Animal Farm." Nearly all revolutions ultimately fail. It is why the French Revolution had its Robespierre, the Russian Revolution had its Stalin, China its Mao, and North Korea its brutal Kim Jong-Un. It is why Cambodia had its slaughter by the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot, why the Shah of Iran fell and why a brutal religious dictatorship of the humorless Ayatollah Khomenini took hold. Free speech for so many is a quiet dream of those who dare not speak its possibility. There are, of course, dozens more examples of revolutions that sour. Hope in the beginning of a revolutionary political movement feels so good and all things seem possible but as humans are prone to do they often take a wrecking ball to it.

I am going out on a limb to say it is why the American Revolution of 1776 looks so good to me, a fervent criticizer of American power. Have we had our wrecking balls throughout our short nearly 250 year history? Absolutely, we have. Still, the ideals for which the colonials fought are, I believe, still very much alive and its goals for which we strive are still possible because we have a process. Persons of color were freed by that process, a Civil Rights and a Voting Rights Act passed, a Depression overcome, two Word Wars won with a little help from our friends and later adversaries. Women got the vote and women's rights are expanding with every decade. People with a different sexual orientation can now love and marry whom they choose, the disabled obtained rights and our nation licked polio. Most importantly a black man became president and a woman just may (I hope) take the presidency as well. At the very least she will win the nomination of one of the two main political Parties of this huge nation. Is our nation perfect yet? No, of course not and with our competing interests it never will be but we strive and hope the demagogues and religious fanatics are not given power. Well, I can hope they are not.

In the end it is amazing that a nation of 350 million human beings is still alive and stuck together with an invisible glue. There are many good things to save about this nation and many bad things we must throw out. But there is a process to do so and I want to see this nation, no matter who it elects, live understanding one cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Indeed, it is why I devote my years now to try to be an advocate for causes that are humane, fair and just whether for humans, animals, or the planet which gives all of us life. I live since the late 1960's in hope that, as Martin Luther King said, we will overcome one day. We must, I think, at least try. There is hope amid this sea of violence and Lady Liberty still shines her light in that sea beckoning others to light their own lamp with her torch!

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