I'm sitting here in a peaceful, safe place that took me a lifetime to find. And yet, underneath the calm is the depressing realization that the world around this place, and also at times within it and of it, has become riots in the street at one end and virtual warfare at the other.
This is the time we live in, a time where there is no middle. In spite of the vastness of information available to us through every medium imaginable, we have isolated ourselves into a small cocoon of sameness, of things that don't vary from the rigid realities we have set for ourselves.
Our tolerance for differences is purely intellectual because in real life we don't tolerate differences very well. Rather than look at the people around us, look at those that are not around us. Those are the ones we need to examine, especially the reasons why they are not around us.That is where the true sickness of our society lives, in those people we threw away because they just did not fit into our extreme constricts of acceptable and unacceptable.
In the last couple years the polarization of the external world of politics and wealth accumulation has infected the day to day relationships of ourselves as human beings. We are so easy now to cut someone out of our lives because they are not like us. We are uncomfortable without our own personal choir of yes we agree, and we dissect the different ones who don't agree as if they were tumors infecting our perfect world.
We demand everyone be completely socialized, never say the wrong thing, never step outside the rigid lines we have drawn. If they mess up once, if they displease us in the least, if they say one thing we don't completely agree with, then we cut them out of our lives. That person annoyed me. Off with their head! We have let our ego needs turn us all into the Queen of Hearts.
The harsh thing, the dehumanizing part of this is we do it now without even bothering to talk about it anymore. No one feels the need to explain, to apologize, or even defend their right to demand only those like them live and interact with them. No one thinks much of gated communities anymore. They are normal now. They are who we have become, the walled cities of sameness.
We are no longer families with each other where the weird uncle was tolerated because that's just who he was, even if he wasn't like us. Now we cut the weird uncle out of our lives. We no longer tolerate the flaming activists who take to the streets for justice, for information, for equality, for the truth. Instead we condemn them and judge them for bringing "negative" energy into their lives, for choosing to focus on what's wrong with the world instead of what is right. We have grown so fond of living with our heads in the sand that we no longer feel the kick in our ass from those stepping over our indifference.
We no longer understand that not everyone was raised the same, not everyone speaks the same language even if it is linguistically similar. We no longer accept that intellectual and emotional growth happens at different levels and times for different people. We want everyone to be perfect, especially if we are not. The more imperfect we are, the more we demand perfection in others. It's a vicious cycle we just can't seem to break.
We no longer end marriages, relationships, friendships. We burn down the house, trash everyone associated with the destruction, even if we lit the match. We walk away bitter and vengeful and since we live in a world where bitterness and vengefulness are the norm now, it's easy to raise armies to support us in the war on each other.
We are all so special now, all so believing that only we have the right to dictate how others should be and live. We have become intolerant sheep who are led around by flatterers, by yes men and women, by artificial praise and ego boosts. Our needs mean more than the needs of others. Our aches and pains hurt more than those of others. Our childhoods were more awful/perfect than others. Our marriages were more awful/loving than others. Our relationships are more awful/perfect than anyone else. We all just know we are the only ones who get it and everyone else is deficient.
How did we get here? Maybe if we started asking ourselves that instead of finding new ways to judge each other, to make each other THE OTHER, we might just find out how to heal the mess we find ourselves living in. Until then we will continue to live with violence and despair and hatred.
And we MUST get involved. The racism that has taken over this country once more grew because too many people fell asleep. Too many people felt it wasn't their job to deal with it. Too many people didn't want the negative energy of doing something or even being aware it was happening. Too many people just didn't give a damn because their own needs, their own specialness was more important.
At some point America became a selfish, bitter, country intolerant of everyone and anyone who is and was different. This didn't happen overnight. This happened one person at a time. It happened the first time we cut someone out of our lives because they weren't perfect. It happened the first time we criticized someone for not being just like us. It happened the first time we put ourselves in the position of being the judge instead of the citizen.
We can't go on like this. If the country is to change, we must change ourselves first. It's always been that way. What hasn't been that way is our understanding of that simple truth. We let it die because we became more important as individuals to ourselves than to the greater good of a larger world.