Saturday, March 7, 2015

When All Else Fails, Do the Dishes

We watched the Seahawks game against the Packers. Before it started I said to my son that I hoped it was a good game. At the end of the fourth quarter with the score tied, my son turned to me and asked, “Is this tense enough for you?” Whew. Yeah, it was. Football, I’ve been told, is but one of the games that simulate war. Strategy, land won and lost, physical violence, injuries. I found myself thinking that it’s too bad that football isn’t as violent as we get. How’s that for a vain surmise? Sometimes I am rocked out of my preferred personal contemplative state. Some days I look at what seems to be the infinite capacity of human beings for cruelty and violence, and I wonder how we made it this far without making ourselves extinct. I have written essays in the past when I tried to bring readers to the point of realizing that we are all in this together. I’m not even going to try to go there today. We are divided so many ways, one from each other, I won’t try to sell that “C’mon, people, love one another,”* philosophy. It ain’t that simple. The election of a black president in 2008 seemed to herald a new paradigm of equality at the highest level of political power. Yes, that, and a new wave of outspoken racism, hatred, and incredible lies in this country. Racism had been somewhat covert for a few decades, but it’s been right back out in the open since 2008. Racism is a twisted complexity of unreason that allows people to feel superior by dehumanizing other people. It allows the subjugation, torture, and killing of other human beings because they are seen as less than human. It’s part of our cultural psychosis, racism. The institution of racism goes back to slavery in this country. You cannot buy and sell human beings without telling yourself they aren’t really human beings. There would have not been a United States if there had not been a political compromise to accept slavery in the southern states. This is the great divide that has run through our country since before it was formed. The Civil War was fought to keep the divide from causing a complete breakup of the country, but the Civil War was not the beginning, and it was not the end. We are still divided. We are still, we are ever, at war with each other, and there can be no meeting of minds. I believe deep in my heart that all people are equally loved children of God. Then I am left wondering how God could love racists. This is one of those tough Christian precepts that it’s hard to live up to, that each person, each creature, is loved alike, is of the same worth. Okay, God, they are your children, but why do you need them to be the way they are? So am I falling right in there and seeing racists as less than human? Dammit. I’m thinking too much again. I’m sure there are people out there with a scientific understanding of human behavior who could tell us why some people ardently want and wish and work for peace and equality and justice, while some people as ardently want and wish and work for hatred, separation, prejudice, war, and sorrow. It has to do with power, and money, usually, but it must be some profound difference of temperament and understanding, don’t you think? I don’t get it. Sometimes the evil I see gets me down, especially when it’s people I care about who are spouting lies and espousing hatred. So when I’ve thought myself into one of these holes, I’ll finally get up and go do the dishes. There is not much I can do about racism, war, and lies, but I can do the dishes. Each morning I thank God for my life and my many blessings. I try to be kind, and often fail. I wonder sometimes if there is a reason I am still here, and if there is, how will I live up to it? I need to take a lot of naps, you know, and I’m not brave. Guess I’ll go do the dishes. *A tip o’ the hat to Chet Powers, who wrote “Let’s Get Together”

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