Violence does a number on the innocent in places so absent of hope so bankrupt of the slightest respect for human life that finally the dignity of people turns stale and then sours and life crawls in despair for all of them. And this happens in the ghettos of Chicago as well as the bloody streets of Syria.
War still carries the day, still gets all the attention, still struts in defiance of everything decent and humane and sucks dry the economies of the oppressed while boosting with endless bounty the finances of those who ride this beastly machine to their fortunes.
The shrillest, pettiest, most shameless acts of selfishness and greed and blatant lying unfold daily in places of governance, not just in evil empires and far off places of darkness but right here in our own political campaigns, among people running for the highest offices in America, and we don’t even blink at the dishonor of it all, at the sheer pathetic silliness and dishonesty and embarrassment of our political system.
Our news media outlets have no goal but financial. They are not news organizations at all. They are distributors of entertainment and the shabbiest kind at that. They no longer provide us useful information. They don’t even report anything. Instead they appeal to our basest urges. They provoke us into anger and cajole us into division and laugh behind our backs at our stupidity that craves more of the same and brings them billions in advertisement revenue.
Starving children still sit in disease infested squalor all over the world drinking water with floating insects and invisible microbes so malicious they kill with a horror most of us cannot imagine. And here in our vast country we throw out enough good food to feed the millions that are drawn and emaciated and miserable with hunger. And our disconnect with this moral indifference is neurotic and pathological and shows us to be a spiritually broken people.
Still, still, in 2012, there gallops across our supposedly enlightened and religious and Christian landscape the bigotry and hate of those who refuse to allow the reality of difference, who mock the clear obvious diversity of our nation’s population, who cannot break free of their ignorance and fear and littleness and give gays and immigrants and people of color and of other faiths or no faith the freedom guaranteed them in our Constitution. And this behavior reveals what a sham what a sick parody it is of the values we keep hearing are so cherished and important in this country.
Europe teeters on economies so fragile a sneeze will set them all tumbling into oceans of financial and societal calamity for ages to come.
And the seeds of the corruption of all of that can be traced all the way here to Wall Street and DC and the giant financial institutions that prostituted their pledge of trust to their customers and a whole arena of dependents nationally and world-wide located in pension plans and investment portfolios and home mortgages and sold them out for winnings only the cheesiest casinos promise in gaudy glitter. They gambled it all away—money that wasn’t even theirs—while they kept themselves padded and protected and richer than ever.
Are there any solutions to any of this? Any way to climb out of this hole of shame? Of course. But we’re not interested in a single possible solution.
What we are interested in is sports, and the gospel of prosperity, and easy winnings, and our many addictions, and the narrowness of our viewpoints, and our sacred prejudices, and what is mine, and what belongs only to me, and the idea that we own a faith or a belief or a nation that is only ours and not anyone else’s.
This is the stuff that keeps us from solutions.
Tacitus, the famed historian of Rome, said at the height of the corruption and decay of the Roman Empire, "They make a wilderness and call it peace."
How far are we from that these days? Not far.
We have so much needed change that begs for our attention as individuals and as a nation of citizens.
We simply have to find again the greatness of our long lost unity. We need to rediscover the high purpose of our Union. We need as Lincoln so passionately said, "to turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it." We need to work together for a common good.
Only then, if we can be successful at that, can a grand destiny bestowed, become a grand destiny fulfilled. Which has always been the promise of this unique and powerful country of ours.
© 2012 Timothy Moody