There are few people as brave as the anonymous #Twitter user. These resolute souls actually take the time to create a secret account and then fearlessly go forth to battle their foes in the arena of public stupidity. Free of the cares of those who actually put themselves out there, these courageous men and women find they can use the full arsenals of hate, racism, bigotry and ignorance to fight what they see as the evil of logic and reason. They don’t seem to understand that by hiding who they are, they reduce themselves to nothing more than bitter adolescents screaming at the adults to get attention. (The irony is that I don’t use my name on my account, but the point still stands.)
Fire is an amazing thing. It has scattered the evidence of its power to destroy across our history like scars. Great cities like London, Constantinople, Rome, and the burning of the Library of Alexandria have left their marks on our past. In the US; Chicago, Atlanta, and San Francisco all carry the scars of great fires. Modern cities have fared no better. Tokyo, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have all felt the power of fire carried on the wings of war. Yes, fire provides heat, food, steel and, perhaps, power.
It’s that last that I feel compelled to address. Many of you may have thought I was referring to electricity generated by coal or gas-fired plants, or nuclear plants… But I was talking about the other power that comes from fire. History has shown that those who harness fire and can bring it to bear claim political and social control over those who can not. In our modern age, in this most powerful of nations, we confer one person with the authority to unleash the power of fire upon our adversaries. This power is beyond the wildest dreams of those who lived at the founding of our nation and would be considered dark magic by those who lived a mere 400 years ago. This fire has the power to kill millions in a single moment.
We choose the person who wields this power through the process of “popular election” and the Electoral College. Popular election means that if we get enough pissed off voters who are tired of the system, who decide that we need an “outsider” to shake things up, then that’s what they will vote for. They can decide that we need someone who is not afraid to speak their mind and who is wealthy enough not to care about the damage they do. If that means they are openly racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic (at least against the wrong foreigners), hate liberals, hate the wrong kinds of conservatives, hate science, hate reason, hate reading, hate those who speak against them openly and then call on their supporters to visit violence on those people, then that’s what we will get. You know, someone who is Plain spoken, not politically correct, who attacks the press, education, and protesters, who has repeatedly shown a total lack of basic knowledge of how our system really works. You get enough of those folks believing that they can not trust the news unless it’s that one fair and balanced source. They can not believe science, that schools and colleges are out to destroy their way of life and religious beliefs. You get them all believing that this one guy will save them from the course of history. That he will restore the nation of their fathers on day one of his term in office. You get enough of those folks and there is almost no way to change their minds because conservative “news” has conditioned them not to trust any “liberal” media, they only believe one voice.
Those are the voters who decide who gets control over the power of fire in this nation. Those are the ones who are angry enough, disillusioned enough, cheated and lied to enough, taxed enough that they will do anything to strike back at the system. And that system is broken, outdated, and deeply flowed. The angry ones no longer trust in that system. Many of them are no longer willing to listen to those who formally led them. They have cast off the traditional and embraced the radical, though few realize it yet. And they are not thinking about the fire. It’s far from their day-to-day problems. Many do not remember the fear they suffered as children, wondering if they would die in the shadow of a mushroom cloud. And when those folks remember the fire, when they remember the little girl pulling petals off of a daisy as her world burned away, it will be too late.
Endless, senseless violence kills old and young alike and the politicians simply run for their scripts, or dust them off. The lobbyists do the same. It’s always the same, nothing new happens. We see the same games and the same run on guns and we never move closer to a safer society. We could all walk around armed to the teeth and it would not make us safer. It would only turn the US into a war-zone, if it’s not there already. How often do we have to repeat the same experiment, getting the same bloody results before we try something else? (Cue the gun lobby). We get the society we deserve. What we need is new ideas, fresh faces, NEW NAMES. For our children’s sake, we need actual change. A government that governs in our best interests. We need elected officials who serve us, not themselves, and not corporate America. We need a system that works for us… Most of us are far too distracted by reality TV and social media to care about genuine issues.
Bread and Circuses. We are the Roman mob, tearing yet another republic to shreds. The Great Library is being burned in real time as we sit with our popcorn and watch. We jump up and follow populists, regardless of how insane they are, because we need something new. And in the end they are all incapable of delivering on their ideas. It’s not too late to bring us back, but it’s getting there. The saddest part is that those who will bring the house of cards crashing down on our heads are the ones with the wealth and means to escape and watch the resulting chaos from a safe distance, ever is it this way. Some things never change. (I wrote this on Friday, June 3, 2016 at 10:11am… about another mass shooting. Same as it ever was.)
Here are some excellent resources if you want to join the fight and affect genuine change.
- An article with an outside view of the US “Gun Lobby”.
- Everytown: For Gun Safety
- Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions
- Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence
- Sandy Hook Promise
- March For Our Lives
When you stop and think about it, leadership is such a strange thing. You have this idea and you work to convince lots of other people to 1) give you the money to pull it off, 2) spend (X) amount of time getting different people to do (Y) to help you make your ideas real, 3) put out the millions of tiny fires as the system gets up and running, 4) convince lots of other people that your idea works and is outstanding, 5) tweak it to make it better and 6) sit back and watch as lots of people do tons of work because you had an idea and someone gave you money to make it happen. Note: It helps if people think it works way better than expected.
When I was a kid, I used to spend a great deal of time wondering what my life would be like when I was no longer a kid. I would wonder about future loves, what my kids would be like, what job I would have, where I would live… It’s a long list. Now, looking back on what I was like, remembering what I thought about, worried about, I realize I didn’t have a clue. Why? The fantasy life I envisioned for myself was so far removed from the reality of my adult life that it’s almost comical. The reality is SO much better than the fantasy in almost every way. I have a better life than the one I dreamed of. I have said before and I will say it again, whatever I did in a past life must have been kick ass because I seem to have some rather good karma. Nobody is this lucky. (My latest bout of depression does not change this, which I originally wrote six years ago. dTMS is yet the latest in the string of amazing things that have come my way.)