The world today aches. It trembles with pain. It longs for something kind and good and human. People are tired. Worn down by the hatred of cold and calculating tactics of the powerful. Weary to the point of despair because of an unfair and unjust system that works only for the few, for people with influence and wealth and who alone pull all of the essential levers of life, always in their favor.
Most of our modern world, including America, is lost in a sea of corrupt financial vandalism. The greed of the powerful knows no limit. Although that greed is primarily carried out by polished men in expensive suits whose lives glitter in luxury and extravagance, their greed nonetheless oozes out of them like a foul discharge. Their Joker smiles betray any attempt at normalcy. Their giddy gluttony is not the attractive superiority they boast or they presume. Instead it pollutes and harms and ruins. And for many if not most of them their wealth is by no means a sign of high intelligence or honorable or even skillful work. It’s just the result of clever scheming, sociopathic manipulation, cheating the system, and buying off those in places of authority like unscrupulous politicians in order to get the breaks others have no access to.
The banking industry universally has in the last few decades become a pathetic sullied system of crooked deals and voracious greed. Big shots gamble future spoils with the money of the decent and the hard working and often the unsuspecting, all without any legal consequences to their misdeeds. That none of those responsible for the horrendous Global Financial Crisis of 2008 were ever prosecuted for criminal conduct shows how the powerful are exempt from responsibility compared to ordinary citizens of the world. And much of the world is still suffering from that near fatal financial collapse. Except of course those who created it.
Worldwide, people, mostly children, are starving to death or are in the miseries of some disease or attempting to escape war, often the result of circumstances that could easily be alleviated if their governments didn’t steal all of the country’s resources leaving their people powerless to survive.
And here in America we still have maliciously arrogant politicians dealing in negotiated bribery and corrupt wealth while refusing to raise the minimum wage, support the Affordable Care Act, save Social Security, protect Medicare and Medicaid, provide women with safe abortions under the constitution, implement a first rate public education system, and treat undocumented immigrants with human dignity and compassion.
I don’t like the America we have become. It does not reflect the values of most of our people. It operates on the basis of wealth not on character or even skills or work. Our leaders do not represent me or you. They are poor models not only for us but for the world. People everywhere used to look to our country and see creativity, generosity, brilliance. They were in awe of what we built, of the art we made, the culture we provided, the intelligence we displayed. They coveted our democracy. They saw a country that cared about people; all people. Yes, it was wealthy and powerful. But it had a heart and a soul. It was luminous and inspiring. It left people gazing and dreaming and longing to come here. They felt welcome then. They knew if they could just find a way to get here they would be safe, accepted, and they could make a beautiful life here. People of the world don’t feel any of that now.
We have let the world down. We have let ourselves down.
We have settled for lousy leaders. We have allowed them to use us and betray us and then leave us once they have gotten to their own place of endless security, wealth and power.
All of our current presidential candidates are all millionaires, some many times over. You can’t be a serious presidential candidate in this country unless you are very wealthy. And how shallow of us, how passive to let that be and not care. Or protest it.
There is a great line in Louis L’Amour’s novel, “Conagher,” where the man Conagher, a tough independent cowboy, takes up with a strong willed widow and her children to make a life for themselves in the vast untamed country out West where all they could see was an endless lonely horizon full of dangers and threats. It would have been easy to be despondent. But they had staked out a place of their own. And Conagher turns to the woman and says, “The land is ours, and what the land becomes will be ours, too. The land is not only what it is, it is what we make it.”
We need that determination from all of us who care about our nation. It doesn’t just belong to the rich and the powerful. It is our land, too. Our country. What will we make it become? For ourselves and for the world.
© 2015 Timothy Moody