The kitchen wall. Fresh paint, old familiar art, the 70s-era "Orient Express" lamp. Nothing to do with the post. Just wanted to show everyone that we painted the kitchen wall and the water heater closet door. The door is blue. I like blue.
Thinking about politics ties me in knots, because as soon as I do I feel like I’m in a funhouse maze, trying to find my way through the dark alleys and dead ends, not mention trying to parse out what’s real in the illusions created by smoke and mirrors.
So I try to step back, to take an overhead view of the maze so to speak, which isn’t much help. It’s still a maze, still all about confusion, illusion, and dead ends, and the smoke makes me sneeze.
So I take another step back and ask, where is God (the label I use for the ultimate, rock bottom spark of the divine) in all this? How can I stand in the clear light of reality?
I have my human opinions and beliefs – oh boy, do I – but if I can momentarily step back from being embroiled in the human struggle, I know that my call, my obligation, is to love everyone – even me – who is bungling around in the maze. It’s not a gooey softheaded love, either. It’s a clear-eyed love that sees all things human, from atrocity to agape.
It hurts that so often human beings don’t seem to be able to have or even desire one lucid moment in which we all understand that we are in this together. We have our moments. The Danes smuggled the Jews out of Denmark before the Nazis arrived, for example. Yes, there are ordinary people who do extraordinary things, but so often members of the species homo sapiens seem bent on besting, hornswoggling, defeating, and screwing each other, literally and metaphorically.
Even in a defining moment such as the 9/11 attacks. We understood then that we were all in it together, and we had the sympathy and support of many around the world, but there were people who rejoiced in the tragedy and said we got what was coming to us.
Just to clarify: no country, no person, has a 9/11 attack “coming” to them.
How long did our national unity last? A week or two at most. Then we went back to biting each other’s backs, and the people who truly hated the United States could sit back and relax and watch us destroy one another.
When I talk to my sons and other people in their generation, I get a sense that many young adults are fed up with the horrible behavior of politicians and the condition of United States politics as it exists now, especially young adults who have traveled in other countries and have gained a longer perspective. They’re tired of people getting elected and using the opportunity not to work for the country and the people, but to collect the perks of power and sandbag their opposition, as if those things were the point. We have a whole young adult population saying, “Excuse me? Hello?” but the baby boomer politicians are too busy fighting each other to listen.
I wish you young people well. I wish we were leaving you a country that knew how to do more than chase its own tail to the detriment of its people, and the rest of the world. As you grow into the leadership roles, see if you can figure out how to overcome the implacable inertia of The Way Things Are Done.
Meanwhile, back at the maze: if you think God is on your side, you’re correct. God is also on the side of your competition, your enemies, and the billions of people of whom you never think, not to mention your friends and family members, including the ones who drive you nuts. God is looking at all of us with lucid, clear-eyed love as we struggle through our days and nights.
If you don’t believe in God, fine. Let me put it this way: reality does not give a rip about your precious opinions. If you think your mighty intellect can alter in any way the immutable reality of existence, I wish you good luck.
I’ll be going back down into the maze now, to continue struggling with my anger and my opinions, passions, and judgments, not to mention my confusions and illusions. I’ll continue to think that the people with whom I disagree politically must be mentally ill, deluded, or liars, and that I know what’s sane and right. I’m a human being who is being human.
But I did enjoy that one lucid moment.