Thursday, September 17, 2009

America's Selective Nostalgia

Its more a deep sense of dread and loss rather than a thought-out decision against a single black man who happens to be the president of the United States of America. We have a bad case of selective nostalgia - American's think that select ideals from our past should hold true long into our future. Don't get me wrong, I agree that there was a simplicity in our lives long ago, that I often long for. When you consider that most of the daylight hours were consumed with our own efforts to feed ourselves and survive what nature decided; lives were more simple and to the point. But, we no longer live in that world. Most of us are completely disconnected from our sources of food. Giant and Savemart have taken the place of nature - they are more predictable, price increases notwithstanding. We sit at desks and push buttons all day to earn a piece of paper that we exchange for our daily ration of food and shelter. And though we have fully adopted this behavior as normal, we insist that we must hold onto cowboy justice and white supremacy - both founding ideals in the American way. And should anything seem to risk those things, well by golly - we'll fight to the death.

I find it an ugly irony that we condone the rape and destruction of our land and food sources by corporate conglomerates, and further allow them to out and out steal any future our children might have, all while insisting that "Joe" be allowed to openly carry any type of gun he wants on his hip, citing his right to thwart the government should it get too big for its britches. And how dare a black man think he can change America for the better, he obviously just wants to give his kind more of a hand-out.

Life in American today is a far cry from the days when this country was founded. We have explored capitalism and industrialism to a bitter end; an end many don't want to see or take responsibility for. Greed and survival-of-the-fittest mentality has been white-washed and re-sold to American's again and again as patriotic and our founding father's wishes. But the reality is, American life is a complex web of ideas, dreams and vocations. If we get our heads out of the sand and realize that some things MUST change, we can regain our sense of pride in country and ideals. Those changes must be systemic. You can not insist that the government is always the boogy man while corporations lurk beneath every bed and in every closet. You can not demand your right for personal justice when our cities, schools and neighborhoods know none. You can not scream for your right to supremacy (especially in a Joint Session of Congress) if you do not have a better idea to offer - no matter your skin color.

We have to consider the whole, not just isolated aspects of our ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We can no longer demonize one group while elevating another, just as potentially dangerous, group. What's the point? What do we need to think, feel, create and innovate as response to the real and present American life, and what we might want for our future. A government that is helpful and not harmful, a business that is fair and not monopolizing, a reality where wealth is not the only power, but ideas and innovation and yes hard work are elevated to leadership. American's like to idealize hard work- of course we have put it so high on a petal-stool that we no longer understand its true merit. Bytheway, fighting - though it may tire you, is not the same as work.

It's time to stop screaming at one another and get to work in making America a leader again. A leader of youth, ideas and hard work. If you haven't got a good idea, please just shut-up.

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