Power Through Hate?

Being a child of the 60s and a teen of the seventies, I grew up with domestic terrorism. The Weather UndergroundSLANew World Liberation FrontBlack Panthers and a host of others. While I didn’t sympathize with them, I understood them, understood what they were protesting against; inequality, Injustice, Imperialism, racism, war, all the social ills that have never changed. These new brand terrorist groups coincided with social movements such the student movements, movements for civil rights, women, gay rights, the environment and of course Viet Nam. Without doubt, one could argue that things changed due to the unrest, but how is it, nothing seems to have changed? Sure, we made some progress with civil rights, we became much more aware of our environment, women started being listened to, the war did end and public awareness of alternative sexual lifestyles entered the public American consciousness. All good things for most sensible people, but it seems that all the small steps of progress came to a screeching halt in the early eighties. Maybe we just grew tired, perhaps it was too much too soon, could be the wind just changed. I don’t know, I have my own opinion, and it’s politically based, having to do with Reagan and the rise of the moral majority, but I wouldn’t bet my life on my opinion.

While the turmoil of the time was based in far left ideologies, I’m worried that the next wave of domestic terrorism is going to be from far right ideologies. At some point in time, I believe it’s going to happen. I’m not ignorant of the fact that there already had been far right protests and killings, I’m just of the belief it’s going to get worse. A lot worse. Why? It would be easy to blame Trump, but Trump isn’t the cause, being just a symptom of the disease. The root cause is what lives in the hearts of the individual, in how they perceive the world around them. Who they blame for all the ills in their lives. In that fact, there’s a lot of similarities to those protesters and domestic terrorist of my youth. Everyone sees injustice through their own lens, and they personalize it, needing to blame someone, somebody, and usually the wrong somebody. There is, however, a concrete difference in perception between yesterday and today. Fifty years back, people wanted better, better for all Americans, not just a select group. Fairness and equality were a concept for all Americans, not a select group.

What I see today is a much different concept, based in hate, blame and fear. What the far right wants, and I’m not sure if it’s even a white america, as much as it is, a movement to secure power as theirs alone, at the expense of immigrants, people of color, people with alternative lifestyles, and anyone who isn’t Christian. It’s not a logical concept for a Democratic Republic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable. It is! And I think they’re dead set on getting it, any means possible.

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Age is fundamental. Rocks become mountains, seeds plant their identity in their roots, the universe expands, then snaps back, and memories become entangled. What was once thought to be, never was; or is birthed anew? Once, I was in love with a woman I did not know, yet I believe she knew me, yet love was probably never part of her equation, if memory serves truth to be. From fields of sand, to a lush world of Pygmies and greens, she has sent me afar, and kept me close, tantalizing secrets and tidbits of clues along the way. Not one of which I comprehend.

Here I recline, in a tattered, worn lawn chair, on an airless moon, small and grey, rock and dust, end over end, everything in motion, and I’m contemplating the small circular structure laid out before me that rises up, out above the near horizon. A coin standing on edge, lacking support, marked with unknown symbols that match those that I wear around my neck. Markings that have no meaning in reference to known things, except I have seen them before, on a scrap of parchment as well the medallion.

There is a thought that nature encompasses living things, a blade of grass in a field of brown and green, the song of a bird calling the rising sun, a mosquito alighting on an inviting arm. This too is nature, a cold dark void where there is no breath, and yet I breath. Here too, I am part of the natural world even in the denial of what is natural. What should not be possible, often is. Once, a day long gone, an old man voiced to a young man’s ear, ‘that what can not be, can always be, and ask instead, how it can be?’.

I ask, there are no answers, and I question the realities of the universe spread out before me, a universe of darkness sprinkled with specks of past and future worlds. My mind plays, I hear a cowbell, and I take note of a glow off behind the erect circular coin. I watch, and wonder what I am about to witness.

Love is not a mysterious thing. There are a thousand different flavors of such, but love is often denied to those who need it most. A closed heart, an errant mindset closes the valves of a beating heart, leading to a desolate world. Love too, is appreciation, a delight in experience, and often opens a heart to new possibilities. The world changes, everything changes. The glow becomes a bit more colorful, and just above the close off horizon, a faint hint of a new world rotates into view, and my heart settles in a vapid pulse of wonder.

I am in a timeless place, where silence is replaced with a dance of ascending world peeking out slow and dutiful to music she alone is playing, and she alone can hear, but I believe the sounds to be a majestic rhythm in beat with my heart. A blue green world of land mass and oceans arises while I watch from my weathered lawn chair planted firmly in the moon dust of my desolated little rock of a moon.

I am small. Beaten and assaulted, tired, the breath of life taken by the journey. I am old. I am, in this misery, content. Beauty does nothing to wash away the truth of ugliness, yet I come to understand the ugliness is rooted in the foundation of the age. There is a grayness to it, a coming shadow, that the light of the new world casts upon the coin, payments that I have made, and been made, or perhaps now come due as the symbols before me come to light, casting their own shadows of light and blend, as they disappear from the surface of the coin, and I am awash from the light that penetrates through the voids of space and time. My little piece of rock is alighted, as I am, awash in symbology of a new world. I do not become one with the universe, that is another’s path, one denied this old fool, but I become one with my heart, and I now know, my journey is just continues.

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Patriotism Gone Wrong

‘Love for, or devotion to one’s country’ is a fairly simple definition for Patriotism. Yet with in those seven meaningful words lies a universe of interpretation. Your idea of love and devotion, are there limitations to love and devotion? Is it without question? Undying? What is country? The Government, the land, history, the people? All of it? For most Americans, our love for our country is rooted in our Constitution, our history. However you define the word, it’s more than a word, being a belief system. ‘We the people’ defines a dream, a collective belief for every word and sentence that follows. While collective, dreams are also personal. And changing. It’s one of the reasons our Constitution is a living breathing document. So too is our Declaration of Independence, with the  preamble, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’  Words that speak to personal truths, equality, personal religious beliefs and our basic human rights as citizens, and as human beings. All men are equal. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are our rights, our legacy, given to us by whatever creator we believe in. Rights expressed as truth that is evident to all.

This is where my patriotism lies, in ‘We the people’ and the preamble of the Declaration. My patriotism is not toward political party, our military, our president, our culture, our society, our media, but to each other, to my fellow citizens. It is a belief that regardless of who you are, where you’re from, who you worship, you’re sexual beliefs, or the color of your skin, we are equals, standing before our makers at the end of the day, naked and responsible for our behaviors. That each of us are entitled to our lives, to be free, to be happy.

We live in interesting times, heartbreaking times. Where patriotism is defined as loyalty. Not to a belief, but to party, to religion, to race, to culture, to people who are like minded. So much so, that there are those who betray American ideals for petty dictators, expressing their belief that patriotism is rooted in strength and oppression. Gone is the belief of equality, the dream of a better world quashed under the hollow words of subservience to the cause.

We have never been a perfect nation, we will never be a perfect nation. There will always be injustice, and inequality, there will always be wrongs, but as Americans, our history has been to resolve those wrongs. Yes, it has taken time. Yes, we have failed at times, and we continue to take our time, and we continue to fail on issues that need to be resolved. Time and failures are not reasons to cast one’s loyalty toward a given person, a particular party, or a foreign government. Doing so, refutes all that we have achieved as Americans, denying our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.