Dear U.S. of A.,
After these past four years, the shootings and hate crimes, after watching the horrors of polarization and vitriol hitting the fan on the news night after night, I truly have lost the ability to understand why anyone would get further sucked into the “us-against-them” mentality.
I have no clue why people don’t see the illusion in the “division”, or how people are being manipulated to “hate” rather than to come together. I watch people (almost embarrassingly) claiming their righteousness, claiming “those other people” are the problem.
I have no clue why people don’t realize that the minute we come together, not agree 100% of the time, yet come together to work together for a cause greater than ourselves, then the hate will have no place.
Hate will need to retreat to a culture within itself, a vacuum of blame, rage, and fear, where it will consume itself once and for all, imploding inward.
I have. Not. One. Freakin’. Clue. Why Americans don’t see this.
Except that maybe Americans need someone to hate, so we can feel better about our own lives?
Or as long as we’re pointing a finger elsewhere, we don’t have to look at our own ugliness, within?
Why else hate someone you’ve never met, or generalize that one political belief or the other, or one ethnicity or the other, or someone’s gender identity, or someone’s economic standing, is “what’s ruining America”?
I can tell you what’s been ruining America. It’s been ruining us for a long time.
And it’s not black or brown people. It’s not Asian or Latin or Indigenous people. It’s not LGBTQI people. It’s not Christian people or Muslim people or Democratic people or Republican people or Athiest people.
It’s numb people; people too busy and overburdened working multiple jobs to truly dig to the bottom of their own pain, or disappointment, or mental health issues; people surviving on denial because they feel so out of control in their lives; people full of the anesthesia brought on by buying storage units full of stuff that gets hocked on Facebook later; people worn out from working 80 hours a week for 30 years only to still owe $150,000 in compound interest student loans from 1985; people who can’t afford food with actual nutritional value so they must eat garbage whose chemicals and corn syrup are scientifically proven to *diminish* the critical thought process of the brain’s prefrontal cortex…
What’s “ruining America” is this insane idea of what America “should be”, rather than looking at what it is, and then looking at how to then work together to make it better.
What’s ruining America are lies that people love to believe, because it means they don’t have to think as much—
–lies like everyone is “supposed to have” 4 cars, a big house, a big retirement account or two, a phone that costs more than a laptop computer, that “everyone” has the “same shot” to “make it” in America (the biggest lie of all), that it’s “normal” for college to cost more per year than what one parent makes in a year, that “we’re lucky” to have obscene healthcare expenses that border on a scene from “The Hunger Games”, that it’s “no big deal” we have more sugar in our food than any other nation, and therefore more cancer in our population than any other country—more, more, more…
…and when we can’t get more, we get angry. And resentful. And like any addict, we become frightened and desperate that we’ll be cut-off from our supply. So we blame everything and everyone that walks.
All because our American mythology is shaken.
What’s wrong with America is our lack of grit in truly facing what we’ve become, and our even larger lack of grit in addressing it:
Our consumer culture can’t be bothered by a climate crisis, or cheap plastics in oceans, or rotting garbage making climate-eating methane in landfills.
Our consumer culture wants to keep us indentured through our personal debt.
Our consumer culture wants to keep us addicted to sugar, sex, anger, drugs, alcohol, violence, shopping, rage, and fear. It makes money when we suffer.
Our consumer culture doesn’t even look at the word “consumer” for what it is—someone who continually CONSUMES. Like a Pac Man on steroids, eating, eating, eating, always.
Like cattle whose heads are locked in a gate above a feeding trough—that’s the American consumer programming.
We stare at the dry silage before us, and think we’re kings.
So please, just stop.
If you’re someone who posts on social media that “those people” are “the problem”, just stop.
The problem is a broken system. Not the people. Yet the system wishes us to believe it’s the people. Because if the people work together, the system must change for the betterment of all the people.
There are some broken people, within a broken system, whose roles and behaviors must be addressed. Yet they aren’t “those people”.
They are We The People.
If your impulse to war with another outweighs your courage to trust another, then know that you’ve become “those people”—the same ones you may be raging about.
At some point, someone has to say “enough”.
I’m saying it.
Join me in having the courage to trust that others are wanting the same things that you want in America—freedom, equality, safety, love, dignity—and join me in having patience with others, as everyone takes a moment to lower their guard, not their discernment, to stop looking for the worst in others.
Or, simply add me to your list of “those people”, and continue on in your war.
I am the steward of all that I believe in, of all that is important to me, without evoking the bloody carnage of hatred.
Hate is not our protection. It is a false fuel to boost the illusion of our “righteousness”. It numbs us for only awhile, before fear creeps back in, to manufacture more hate.
Hate is our greatest weak point, the fulcrum of our potential demise. Turning away from hate may mean turning away from an aspect of American culture you’ve known your whole life. Yet this is the part where we improve the system. This is the part where we improve ourselves.
As for me, I’ve pulled my head free from the metal gate, and I’ll leave the banquet of dried silage in the trough, for the birds to nest.
With the courage to believe in the best that you are, and the brilliance you’re here to bring to the world—