No Vote for the Unraveling, Colltalers
The despondency and sense of hopelessness pervading our age haven’t discouraged at least one group of people: doomsday hopefuls. On the contrary, they’re actually thriving. Which is not new, except that now, they have a good source of inspiration residing in the White House.
That should come as no surprise given the floods, raging fires, starving refugees, and widespread war mongering. Humanists and advocates for hope are not too popular these days. And the many who’re convinced that the human race is unworthy saving don’t help matters either.
Hordes of survivalists, Apocalypse whisperers, ‘preppers,’ however one calls then, have always spiked in times of crisis, despite different agendas. Religion, social unrest, fears of a nuclear Armageddon, all make strange bedfellows out of phony prophets and conspiracy nuts.
Those who would rather take what comes unfiltered and prepare without being preachy, are feeling the pressure to ‘make a stand,’ or ‘get down from the fence, already.’ Apparently, Lao Tzu’s ‘the best way to carve is not split,’ is falling out of fashion, arguably out of impatience.
They may want to hold on to their perch, though, at least for now; we’ll get to that in a moment. But first, why so many subscribe to the cliche, the more things change, the more they remain the same? That is, without comparing now with, well, all else that may’ve come before.
It’s certainly not mere disillusionment about disenfranchisement and alienation, for that is old news. And so is blaming obliviousness and apathy, a fair charge Americans get all the time. That it’s now a widespread malaise may be explained by the U.S.’s diminished stature in the world, but that tells only part of the story. The same about access to higher education, or the proverbial lack of confidence in political leaders.
Technology, veiled economic interests, income disparities, always, we could go on lining up reasons why the increasingly more privileged few (and fewer) have been gathering greater control over the destiny of everyone else, and the planet, seemingly with little reaction from the oppressed, and often with their very acquiescence. It’s baffling. To some, the very system, like Humpty Dumpty, is broken beyond repair.
That’s where unbalanced minds, who see foes all around; end-of-the-world apologists, rooting for a final conflict to fulfill archaic prophecies; and, hold on to your amulets, perfectly rational citizens, to whom we’re already a lost cause, gather and find a bewildering common ground.
What’s left then, one wonders, to those who still heed to the merits of living a decent life, of remaining open to the joy
of love and being touched by natural wonders, the profound communion anyone can find with animals, you know, those pejoratively referred to as idealists?
For even among them, social activism is rarely an unanimous decision, as they approached their own existence as a work in progress, in itself enough to fill their waking hours with all the attention and labor they can possibly muster. Given what’s above, who can disavow them?
However, there’s a minority, a fluctuating body of humans of all races and nationalities, who may still tip this vicious scale and win the day. They’re not some hypothetical band of outcasts, although they’re often unnamed and unsung. Anyone can spot them in collective efforts to help those in trouble, or get a glance of them on their way to volunteer at a local Soup Kitchen. The faithful and the partisan would love to add them to their flocks but joining credos is not for these. We do know they exist, though, by what they build and leave behind for others.
We know for a fact that in Puerto Rico, for instance, hadn’t been for a massive amount of anonymous do-gooders, things could be much worst. And that all over the world, many refugees find shelter with strangers who open their houses to different people, no questions asked.
In the U.S., the millions and millions of undocumented workers, pursuing thankless careers in areas natives find too hard to apply, are another example. For even knowing that labor has little value towards being considered a full-fledged member of society, and even with a particular cruel administration waging war on them, they remain exemplary, and no matter what, exceptionally loyal to those who support them.
There’s no nationality to name who they are, or race that characterizes them, other than human. And among humans, they’re some of the best. Even more so because they’re not waiting for acknowledgement; only for a chance and opportunity to do their part, no questions asked.
In these largely brutal streets of America, they’re the ones who rush to give first aid to victims of traffic. Or offer help when no expectations for a return is apparent. Some may even believe in subway beggars, with sad homeless stories to tell, but that may be another story. Still.
When all is added up, subtracted the patina of justification each group may put forth, regardless of their own particular brand of truthfulness, the choice may not be hard to make. Or rather, it is an increasingly difficult one to pick, but let no one-track-mind convert force you to jump.
We all have our reasons, and it keeps us mentally stable having them clear, as for why we do what we do, and how much we’re willing to sacrifice in order to continue doing. But beware the appeal of either getting yourself enlisted in some cause, or dismissing every action as useless, for there may be a reason why choices are made to appear as either, or: somewhere someone may be cashing on your casual decision.
Readers may find this post a bit off, but I too have a ulterior motive: this week I’ll have the honor to be a pallbearer for one of the good ones, that you’ve never heard of until now. His life, wit, and endless heart will live on through those who loved and were touched by him. So please allow me: here’s to Greg Dennis, we salute you and won’t forget your good deeds. Thank you for everything and have a steady journey. WC