It’s 11:00 pm, on a Saturday night, and I’m at my laptop. I’ve been having some difficulty sleeping the last week or so. I’m normally an early-to-bed person. I’ve been that way for many years; however, here I am trying to tire myself to the point that I can easily fall into slumber when my head hits the pillow. Tonight, that probably won’t be possible.
The world has been experiencing a dark chapter this past three months. The pandemic has had its way on global populations. In addition to that, there was the apparent senseless taking of a George Floyd’s life by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota that has resulted in emotionally troubling conversations around the world. Those conversations have evolved into protests in the streets. It’s fascinating how small the world has gotten during my lifetime. I think that has happened because many of us are global citizens. We jet about the globe with the convenience our grandparents experienced walking down to the local mercantile. But even if we don’t commute by jet, we have access to all that’s going on around the world with our choice of digital devices. Look at how quickly the Coronavirus spread to the far reaches of the planet. It has no legs. It cannot fly. It was carried by us.
I’ve been a benefactor of God’s graces for almost seventy years. I’ll be seventy next month, and during that time, I’ve seen many demonstrations in the streets. There have been demonstrations for the civil rights of those with Americans of African ancestry; demonstrations against the Vietnam War; demonstrations against politicians who have been elected to certain offices. It seems every imaginable constituency has felt the need at some point to demonstrate. I think people believe-to various degrees-in the promises contained in the documents that established the republic called the United States of America, but when these promises aren’t forthcoming for some, people take to the streets when they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Why aren’t these promises (life, liberty, and happiness) reigning down on all, 24/7 like manna in the wilderness for all Americans? I could go into a long diatribe as to why, but simply put the dream is always better than the reality, especially when factors such as race, class, economic status, and other categories of the human existence are viewed in light of justice and equality.
For some reason or other, we always seem to have an external enemy. Is that because the powers that be create common enemies to whom our attention can be diverted, resulting in us not continually looking at ourselves in the mirror? America has not seen a prolonged period of peace since it came into existence. Ninety-three percent of the time since the Declaration of Independence was signed, this republic has been embattled; four of those years were spent in war with itself. Oftentimes, I feel as though the Civil War is yet going on.
As we go about what too often seems like a miserable existence, wasting resources on endeavors such as war, policing ourselves against crime against ourselves, imprecisely addressing injustice and inequality through legislation, and just being downright inhumane to each other, we fail to realize how better things would be if we became true keepers of each other.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.
If only we could have the wisdom of age when we are young! Thank you for these thoughts and reflections.
It does seem as if we never graduated from the civil war. Or…we are headed for another one. Or…we are being manipulated towards another one.
None of us want to consider — or even admit to — our nation’s darker side. We are nationalistic; we want to be proud of who we are. And there is much to be proud of. The western international order that has largely brought peace and prosperity to the world for the past 75 years is primarily due to the U.S. Still, it is a façade hiding the injustice of bigotry and inequality. We refuse to accept the fact that regardless of all that is good, we are the most warlike nation to have ever existed and responsible for the genocide of the many nations occupying this land prior to our arrival.
We are quick to criticize other nations but we should more appropriately rectify our own faults prior disparaging others.