I think I would almost rather have the in-the-cave dysfunctional cheeriness than this out-of-the-cave knowing stable wretchedness.
This essay can also be found here on Huffington Post.
I woke up too early and made the mistake of looking at Facebook. I had disabled the account for years, but reinstated it because it was how the boarders at my barn communicated, and I needed to be able to communicate with them. The timing couldn’t be worse. The election was right around the corner and everyone was doing that dance. I figured out pretty quickly that I could “hide” a post, so that made it more tolerable when I would go online. The thing about Facebook is that it can be easy to turn to it in times of boredom or whatever. I went for years without doing that, but picked it right back up again when I turned the thing back on. What a mistake.
Since the election is over, most of my feed is filled with people literally freaking out and losing their minds over this election. They are so upset that Trump won, and they’re so fearful of the outcome, they are ruining every moment they are in being upset. Yet some of the people in my feed were posting stuff I agree with, describing just how wretched things would have been with Clinton, too. Scrolling through my feed, I came upon one of these posts and read through it. In this post I discovered something I had not known. I knew the US murdered Gaddafi. I knew the politics surrounding this murder. I knew about Clinton laughing about it.
What I didn’t know was that the man had been sodomized and tortured before he was murdered.
Seriously. This human being. This person. He was SODOMIZED and murdered, and then Clinton laughed about it!! This person took pleasure in the torture and murder of another person. And these people, my “friends,” are all upset about this person not being the president? How could any of these people want this person to be their leader? What is wrong with people? She is just as bad as he is. They are BOTH evil! Why can’t people get this?
I can hear the arguments in support of this murder. He was a dictator! He killed people! He tortured too! My response to them? So what? It doesn’t matter. It DOESN’T matter! He could have been as evil as her, but does this justify and make what was done to him okay? It does not. It simply does not. What he did does not justify doing what was done to him. Just because someone was horrible does not give you a free pass to be horrible, too. To do so is pure hypocrisy.
After sharing the post on Facebook I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. I kept thinking about this sodomization of Gaddafi and it made me horribly, horribly sad. I finally called my night owl friend, Debbie. I knew she would be awake. I said to her, “I read that they did something to Gaddafi’s anus. Is this true?” She told me that it was, that he was sodomized and murdered.
Gaddafi was a human being. Clinton was a huge part of this. She laughed about it, and my friends are upset she didn’t win? She is just as bad as Trump. In fact, she is worse. If she were the President-elect, all my friends would be celebrating and back to business as usual, and more murder would go on in our names.
Trump winning isn’t something to mourn. It’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to look in the mirror and see what responsibility we bear in creating this mess, because we all bear some responsibility. Turning our backs on the actions of our so-called leaders is our responsibility. Ignoring the actions of those who murder in our name is our responsibility. Everything that this country does that we make no effort to know about, the way that the poor are stigmatized and ignored, or kicked to the curb because their tents are in our way is our responsibility. The way this planet is being raped and pillaged and destroyed for the gains of a few is our responsibility. So much and more is our responsibility.
Feeling sad about the “pretty” Obama family leaving the White House? Feeling sentimental and worrying that your new President isn’t “Presidential” enough? Here is a snapshot of what was done in your name by the pretty President while you were busy choosing what car to buy or where to send your kid to preschool:
* Put boots on the ground in Syria , despite 16 times saying “no boots on the ground.”
* Despite campaign pledges, planned a $1 trillion program to add more nuclear weapons to the US arsenal in the next 30 years.
* Started a new war on terror – this one on ISIS.
* Dropped bombs in 7 Muslim countries; and then bragged about it.
* Said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”
* Bragged about his use of drones: I’m “really good at killing people.”
* Deported a modern-record 2 million immigrants.
* Signed the Monsanto Protection Act into law.
* Started a new war in Iraq.
* Initiated, and personally oversees a ‘Secret Kill List’.
* Pushed for war on Syria while siding with al-Qaeda .
* Backed neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
* Supported Israel’s wars and occupation of Palestine.
* Deployed Special Ops to 134 countries, compared to 60 under Bush.
* Did a TV commercial promoting “clean coal.”
* Drastically escalated the NSA spying program.
* Signed the NDAA into law, making it legal to assassinate Americans without charge or trial.
* Given Bush absolute immunity for everything.
* Pushed for a TPP Trade Pact.
* Signed more executive memorandums than any other president in history.
* Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.
* Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia.
* Opened a military base in Chile.
* Touted nuclear power, even after the disaster in Japan.
* Opened up deepwater oil drilling, even after the BP disaster.
* Mandated the Insider Threat Program which orders federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues.
* Defended body scans and pat-downs at airports.
* Signed the Patriot Act extension into law.
* Launched 20,000 Airstrikes in his first term.
* Continued Bush’s rendition program.
* Said the U.S. is the “one indispensable nation” in the world.
* Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.
* Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.
* Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.
* Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.
* Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.
* Repealed the Propaganda ban, making it legal to spread government propaganda via news outlets.
* Assassinated 4 US citizens with drone strikes.
One they missed was failing to close Guantanamo.
Cry and whine and go lick your perceived wounds, or try to do something different. There is the challenge. Good luck with it.
I read another article today about how humans need to change their eating habits if we are going to survive. In it, the author presumed a human population of 10 billion by 2050.
What I would like to know is why the population numbers are taken as a given and considering reducing population numbers is never even explored. If humans really want to make a meaningful impact, we are going to have to do more than change our eating habits. We are going to have to reduce our populations to much smaller numbers. We are going to have to accept that some of us cannot have children. That is the price we all have to pay in order to have any possibility of survival (which is slim anyway, considering our many destructive impacts on this planet).
Of course, any time anyone brings up the possibility of reducing population everyone starts screaming and jumping up and down that we are going to infringe on rights or force poorer populations to stop having families, but overreacting and assuming the worst-case scenario doesn’t alter the current trajectory and distracts from the reality that if we don’t do it, nature is going to do it for us, and it’s going to do it in a much crueler manner than we could. Death by starvation is not pretty. Humans cannot continue living as they have. Humans with greater resources cannot continue living like their needs are the only needs, and ignoring the entire planet in the process.
It’s a fact–the planet is not limitless and living like it is will ensure its destruction.
As I move through my day, more and more I’m looking around at the world and marveling at human intervention. Humans have taken over everything and they seem to take it completely for granted. In fact they do take it completely for granted. It isn’t even questioned, yet it seems so bizarre to me. I’ll see a lamp post or a sidewalk or a building and think This doesn’t have to be here. But it is and it is because humans have taken over the world.
As we are isn’t natural. We put ourselves in charge when we shouldn’t be. Even this typing and this website isn’t natural; I recognize this. There is so much that humans do and so much time that humans spend that isn’t necessary. We go about our days and live our lives as if any of this is how things are supposed to be, as if it matters more than anything, but it isn’t how things are supposed to be and it doesn’t matter the most. We aren’t supposed to control so much.
More and more lately I catch myself stopping and staring at a thing and amazed that the thing exists, and I realize that the humans who put it there were not thinking how odd it was that they created what they did. Yesterday while using the toilet, I noticed that the buttons on my button-fly jeans said “Loft.” Down each one, Loft, Loft, Loft. Somewhere some human decided that the buttons on pants sold at the Loft need to say Loft on them. That person found someone who could get others to carve this word into these buttons. That person hired others who made the tools to carve the word Loft into those buttons. They hired people to use those tools. They carved the word Loft into thousands and thousands of buttons, popping them out like little coins falling into a bucket, filling a container made through the same process, filling baggies and sending them to the place where jeans are made, sewing them onto those jeans, packaging those, and then mailing them all over the world to sell to the likes of me. Humans set up these immense and complex supply chains. Really, it boggles the mind.
I like my jeans. They’re comfortable enough. They serve their purpose. But seriously, how many people does it take to make a pair of jeans? 800? It seems we have created these immense and complex supply chains to give ourselves some purpose because we’ve lost sight of what our purpose really is. I’m not sure what that purpose was intended to be, but I’m positive that humans taking over the world and making things like buttons with the word Loft on them isn’t it.
Humans, humans. Going about their business. Living their lives. Making their sounds. Taking up more than their share of space everywhere. Assuming they are the center of everything. Ignoring the meteor heading right toward Earth.
Ah, there she goes again, getting all caught up in that climate change hype again.
Yeah, that’s me. Certain our future at this point is a ball of fire headed in a trajectory straight toward the center of the planet. I keep leaning toward the possibility of something else, then turn my face toward the sky and see that meteor hell bound for us and feel that reality forcing me to acknowledge its existence. I feel that meteor’s heat upon my skin. I see the path it is burning and it is impossible not to feel a little frightened, not to feel overwhelmed by the probability of it all, not to feel ashamed for my race, not to feel desperate to do something, anything besides sit back and let it happen.
A huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow, unstoppable collapse. Alarmed scientists say this means even more sea level rise than previously expected.
Genius, humanity. Good for you.
On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, children wonder why there isn’t a Children’s Day. Their parents tell them Every day is Children’s Day. Perhaps this is true. What isn’t true, but should be, is that every day is Earth Day, and having a small number of people trying to get the rest of the world to focus on it for one small day is not enough, not even close. Earth Day is like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and all the other holidays rolled into one. The Earth is our life giver. We should be celebrating her because she is us and we are her.
Yet as has been the case since humans decided they should be at the top of a triangle instead of flowing in a circle with the rest of the Earth, we have taken steps to dissociate from that connection and now here we are, in a place where we believe the planet revolves around us and the result is that the planet and everything on it is dying. Many respected climatologists believe we can turn this around. I’m a bit more pessimistic, but I certainly don’t believe we should not try. Earth isn’t Earth anymore. As Bill McKibben so eloquently stated in his book by the same name, Earth is now Eaarth, a different place than any of us were raised. We’ve interfered and taken it beyond recognition. Yet, this doesn’t mean we should not take care of what is left. We are Eaarth and Eaarth is us. We owe it to everything, not just ourselves and our children, to wake up and turn things around.
Every day is Eaarth Day, or it should be. Wake up humanity, or it will be too late.
I went to the bookstore today and walking through I felt like I was gliding through a cacophony of voices. It wasn’t the sounds of people around me but the books themselves. Everyone is an expert on everything and they want all of us to know it. I wonder if anyone picks up a book proposing something they absolutely did not believe in and then the book completely changed their mind. I doubt it. More likely they had no perspective or a leaning toward the book’s argument and the book just solidified them in their beliefs.
Humans, humans everywhere. We take so much of society for granted. No one even questions it. For example, we accept the hierarchies placed upon us. Some human says you must pay to park in a certain place, you pay to park there. Our entire society is arranged this way. Obviously some of it is necessary for humans to interact. But sometimes I wonder why humans are so willing to go along with how things are and to even perpetuate how things are. We arrange ourselves in a certain manner and do not question it.
I have been pondering the state of the world too much lately. I keep wondering: how will people connect if there is no electricity? How will people connect if there are no phones? How will a world made of 9 billion people exist when the only means of communication is the same as that which was available in 1850 (or 1750, when there was no postal service)? What if we no longer have motorized transport in most of the world? We would be stuck with our legs, or bicycles. Where would all of this leave us, back in some-distant-past BC because so few people know how to ride horses or use animals to pull wagons? In this, the third world has already outpaced us. How quickly the strands of our amorphously tangled web of connection would fall away if there was nothing to give us the power to connect with one other as we do in the modern world.
Human “leaders” seem hell bent on war and destruction, and it is not implausible their actions could lead to nuclear war. Fukishima is leaking and we can’t stop it. Weather patterns have changed so drastically it is not just possible, but highly probable that many major catastrophic weather events will occur in the near future.
Disconnection is genuinely possible, disconnection on a scale not fathomable to most people. If we could not pick up the phone and call, if we could not turn on the computer and email or Facebook or tweet, if we could not mail a letter, if we could not drive our cars, if we could not take a bus, or train, or streetcar, or plane, what then? Would we walk across the street to the people who live around us because this was the only option left?
I can imagine human connection turning into a grand scale game of telephone, with each of us passing a letter to our neighbor to pass to their neighbor, on and on through various channels until our messages reached our loved ones. And what of those messages? How quickly we would turn to that which is really important. Perhaps catastrophic disconnection could lead to more meaningful communication.
I hate apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic tales (although Take Shelter was handily one of the best films I have seen). I am not the doomsday sort, nor am I a frightened rabbit, quivering at reality and worrying over every possible scenario. Sometimes I leave my house unlocked. I don’t carry mace. I pay attention, and I don’t run with headphones, but neither do I live as if danger is lurking around every corner.
However, lately I have been afraid. It isn’t a dithering fear. Rather it is a deep in my bones realization that the planet is in real danger on many fronts, and in some instances we are past the point of doing anything about it. For the situations that can be changed, those who can, won’t. They have their own agendas and damn the world, they’re pursuing those agendas. It isn’t lost on me that many of the consequences we are now suffering and will suffer are the result of these same few ignoring what is best for most and taking what they will, but that is beside the point. We are here and even the most drastic action won’t undo what has been done, and drastic action isn’t even a possibility because those who need to won’t get on board.
Which all leads me back to wondering how we will all connect when 95 percent of the means used to connect are gone. How will we get to those people we love the most? I can foresee a scenario where a person decides to set out on a journey across their state to go meet up with family, only to arrive at their destination and discover their family had left to go find them. This of course assumes the powers that be will let people travel away from their homes on foot or bike.
I sound like a doomsayer, but we must plan for this eventuality. The risks are real. We must all set up a plan with our loved ones, even if they are just across the city, but especially if they are across the state or the nation, or even further. Decide between you who will be the one to travel (if travel is possible) and who will stay put. Make friends with your neighbors because if there were a real emergency, they would be the people closest to you and the ones you would most likely get to speak to. Stock up on pencils and paper maps. Imagine life without the ability to plug in, literally or figuratively.
I wonder if at some point in the not too distant future if humans will be angry that humans today squandered, absolutely squandered, this planet and our lives, the lives of every living thing. You were able to buy a dollar and 99 cent spatula made of plastic and now the world is uninhabitable. It’s this billions and billions and billions of times over. Some person wanted a green lawn and now people haven’t enough water to drink. Someone wanted a Hummer and now the ozone is gone. On and on and on. Maybe it won’t matter that people can’t connect. There won’t be anyone left because the planet is uninhabitable.
The main thought that keeps running through my mind is that humanity should be ashamed. It isn’t, but it should be.