Monday, June 20, 2016
I have always believed that mankind is on a gradually upward spiritual evolution. I know many will say I'm naive, what with the bloody mess the world always seems to be in. Sometimes, it is discouraging when we seem to take two steps back for every step forward. But spiritual time is not our time. What seems like lifetimes, centuries, millennia to us pass in moments in the Great Whatever. I call it that because I have no clue who or what may direct our evolution or if anything does. I don't think it is any particular god, however, none of the ones we've made in our image, no, not in our murderous, jealous, greedy, bigoted image. If there is a god, he, she or it is far larger than anything we can comprehend. I think it beyond arrogance to believe god is focused primarily on us, this small group of humans on one planet among billions.
We have to look far behind us to see our progress. Slavery, for instance, has almost been eliminated except for small pockets here and there. In America, we have "given" women the right to vote and (mostly) to choose their own lives and that is so in the other developed nations as well. If there is still racism (and there is), it is not as overt as it once was. There is no more officially sanctioned segregation or Jim Crow laws or poll taxes. Gays have been able to come out of the closet without fear and to marry those they love and their government has recognized those marriages as legal with all the rights that designation bestows....though not without much wringing of hands on the part of some.
We treat children better than we used to, striving to make sure they are all fed, clothed, housed and educated. We don't have thousands of small children begging on our city streets. They aren't working in mills or mines, at least, not in most countries in the 21st century.
We are more aware of the fragility of our planet and the devastation that can be wrought by leveling rain forests and pouring our trash into the ocean and ravaging the earth itself to get at the resources that we want/need. Plunder for profit is still the name of the game in many places but we are learning. More and more countries are getting their power from resources that aren't finite and don't require raping the earth.
I can say all this and still be stunned sometimes at the hate that is so overt on the internet and elsewhere. Many of the comments and posts I read are like having a blunt force weapon taken to your sensibilities.
Many despise our president and also the Democrat nominee...and despise is not too strong a word. It is innate loathing based on nothing I can understand. Many hate Muslims. Many hate Mexicans. Many hate African-Americans. Many hate our government.
I believe they are in the vocal minority. I believe there are more kind people than cruel ones. I believe there are more lovers than haters. I believe there are more optimists than those who believe America is in the midst of self-destruction.
I believe we will continue to get better. I won't live to see the end of wars and brutality and ugliness but maybe your children or your grandchildren or your great-grandchildren will. The upward spiritual evolution can be paused but it can't be stopped.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
The way I see it, the upcoming presidential election is a choice between intelligence and ignorance, sanity and mental disorder, fear and courage, hate and love. America appears to be divided roughly 50-50 between which set of attributes it favors. In November, we will find out for sure who is in the majority.
We will either select a candidate whose calm (aka boring, or so we're told) style of wanting to bring all of us together - gay, straight, black, white, Latino, transgender, Christian, Muslim, Jew, males, females, is the foundation of her campaign or we will pick the candidate for whom sowing discord and dissension is his bread and butter.
We will either choose commonsense or hysteria. We will either reach out to one another or we will shut one another out. We will pick that bland wonk who sets out her plans in great detail or the one who shouts stirring slogans with nothing behind them - the one who thinks America can be great again or the one who believes America is great now.
In November, it will be up to us to decide whether to go with the candidate who can take a punch and come back strong to keep moving forward or the one who strikes out viciously at anyone who hurts his oh-so-sensitive feelings.
Sometimes, I truly believe Donald Trump knows he's in over his head and is trying to find a way out without admitting it. Other times, I think he considers running for president as the ultimate reality show, like an especially high-stakes Survivor. And still other times, I wonder if he is curious to know just how far he can go without losing his supporters. Just where is his bottom? He doesn't appear to have found it yet.
Calling John McCain not a hero didn't do it; saying he could shoot someone on Main Street and his supporters would still follow him didn't do it; wanting to deport 11 million Mexicans didn't do it; calling for a Muslim ban didn't do it; promoting torture of families didn't do it. His racism didn't do it. His sexism didn't do it. An attack on the American justice system didn't do it. His disregard for the First Amendment didn't do it. In his latest, "where the hell does he come up with this shit" diatribe, he accused American soldiers of stealing the money we sent to Iraq.
When I listen to him, I often think - "American simply cannot and will not elect this horrible man president of the United States"....but I thought that about the Republicans selecting him as their nominee and I was wrong about that.
There are evidently more people out there who vote on emotion rather than rational thinking than I thought. They appear to be Americans who believe everything in the country is so rotten, we need a Donald Trump to burn it down and start all over again. What kind of America do they see when the shooting stops and the fires go out? A safer one? A better one? In what ways?