Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Fragile, Weary Hope

I am a liberal in politics and religion. All of my friends know this. I am a seeker. They know this, too. I have never been comfortable with easy answers, with the accepted truth of the majority, with well-meaning but trite words of comfort. I want to find some deeper meaning to it all. I want to know there is a meaning.

Beyond the shallowness of our current day there has to be more. More than the acrimony and alienation between so many of us. More than the shameless meanness of our leaders. More than the materialistic gluttony, the voracious urge for empty consumption of so many of us. We’re all appetite and no provision.

Something has turned us sour, spoiled our sense of humanity, and left us rotting inside our vacant rituals.

The election of a president in this country is now a tawdry spectacle of infantile behavior. The candidates preen and harangue and offer us not examples of capable leadership or even decent human conduct. Instead, they divide us with caustic rhetoric meant to demean the other candidate or candidates. They play up and venerate the game of us vs. them. They tell us what to think even if it makes no sense; even if it compromises our best impulses; even if it leaves us feeling demoralized and loathsome for following it.

Politics has always been a shady business here and everywhere. Good people with good intentions wanting to be elected to change the system either get ignored or ultimately rejected, or else they find themselves once inside the belly of the beast becoming a beast too. Governing is no longer a high honor, or even a reasonable act. It has become simply commerce for all of those involved; a money machine for the most outrageous acts of corruption and gangster conduct imaginable. Members of Congress no longer work for the people they represent. Now they enter every day into a dark world of exploitation and pay offs. They work for indecent lobbyists, for snake oil hedge funders, for banking and Wall Street barons who either lost or never possessed a moral code, for giant corporations who use, entice, and manipulate Congress into the dirtiest kind of underhanded deal making possible all for the sleazy goal of enriching one another at the expense of the rest of the country. This is our political system. Fraudulent and ruined.

And why do we tolerate this mindless pursuit of ongoing wars? Europe has turned into a cataclysm of refugees fleeing their homes and birthplaces leaving behind all that identifies them as the people they are in order to escape the slaughter of their children and their own annihilation. Syria; Iraq; Afghanistan—and others—are decaying places where millions are running for their lives from bloody scenes of shocking barbarity. War has destroyed their homes, their cities, their lives. For what? What are these wars accomplishing across a blood splattered world groggy with the screams of terrified children? And why do we continue to support politicians who still believe in spite of the human devastation and the obliterating of once beautiful countries right before our eyes that war is an answer to anything?
Racial bigotry. White power. The bullying of immigrants. Refusal to treat the undocumented as human beings and instead leave them in fear as though they are our prisoners in a land they labor endlessly to keep running. Where are leaders who will end this miserable indifference to people? Where are the men and women who will ask of us a higher calling to our living? Who can help bring us out of this sad deplorable muddling through?

We are a tired Democracy. Fatigue has fallen on us and left us bewildered and vulnerable. We have to fight harder for a better country, for a more peaceable world.

There are those old lines from the poet John Masefield that nip at me:

“I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces,
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust, too.”

I want to believe there are still a few we can trust to guide us through to better days. They may not be the most attractive or the loudest or in with the influential and the wealthy. But they are real and decent and will work for the whole nation. They are here and they are available. They can be elected if we choose them. That’s my hope. It’s about all we’ve got left. A fragile, weary hope.

© 2016 Timothy Moody

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