America is Burning

It is difficult to organize my thoughts at this moment, but I feel compelled to try. And I’m sure many Americans are feeling similarly overwhelmed, exhausted, and most importantly, enraged at the current state of things in our country. However, let us not forget that the current state of things isn’t all that new, with the exception that we have let ourselves slide into the extremes in a way we haven’t done before.

The murder of George Floyd, by a deranged lowlife and former cop with more kills than some of my friends who served in actual wars, has ignited riots and protests across the country. And it is hard to say those folks aren’t justified, even if the outward expression of their blind rage has resulted in cities burning and antagonistic stand-offs with police, who in some areas, have only made matters worse by ignoring the role decades of abusive policing has played in this whole mess.

When you account for the sad reality that we have been ravaged by a pandemic we have yet to get under control, it is easy to see how a collective sense of anxiety and cabin fever has exacerbated the pre-existing tensions. As Killer Mike said earlier tonight, it also doesn’t help that we have a “dumb ass president” who decided to fan the flames and quote a segregationist sheriff from the sixties, who brutalized black protestors.

Make no mistake about it, our country is much worse than it ever has been and a big part of that is Donald Trump, who is the epitome of a coward, incapable of real leadership, and completely devoid of anything that resembles empathy or a soul. He is a fraud from a long line of frauds and grifters, but I’m not here to talk about him. We can all agree, we talk about that worthless, despicable human being enough.

No, I’m here to try and be rational and pragmatic, even while my blood boils with rage and my stomach turns itself inside out.

For over a decade I’ve written about how selfishness and superficiality (Kardashian culture, essentially) will eventually be our undoing. And now, in this era of fevered tribalism and hyper-partisanship, I’m seeing that prediction come to fruition in a way that I could not have predicted or imagined. We have allowed feelings and beliefs to be equal to facts and measured thought. We have succumbed to surface level impulses and proclivities that are inherently self-destructive.

I’ve once described our current state as a mash-up of Lord of the Flies and Monty Python, but as it stands, at this moment, there is none of the darkly humorous absurdity that made that a fair comparison. No, we are descending into utter madness and going full Colonel Kurtz, at a moment when we face a multitude of difficult challenges and need unity more than ever.

But at the same time, our country has been plagued by a sinister evil since its inception. While we love to praise our most sacred foundational screeds such as the 1st Amendment, we have fallen victim to the Paradox of Tolerance. By tolerating the intolerant (the racists and white supremacists) for as long as we have, we have effectively enabled them to poison our society and country via bad faith efforts for decades.

If we truly wish to finally realize the noble ideals our country was founded in pursuit of, but have failed to live up to, we all must unite against the intolerant and ensure they are as effective as an unplugged toaster from here on.

Additionally, we also must work to systemically destroy the greedy, rich sociopaths who buy power and influence, and spend much of their time and energy on distracting and dividing us along petty grounds. Bad faith lowlives are one thing, and in some ways, they are victims of a culture that exploits the working class for the benefit of a small portion of the population, but the most depraved and demented among us are those who have the most.

You would think these people would be content from having so much, but they are addicts of the worst kind, and it seems their greed will never be satiated no matter how many souls they must consume to keep accumulating wealth, power, and resources.

It is not hard to be better than this. It really isn’t, and as much as a part of me wants to burn it all down, I know the cost of that, both economically and spiritually, will be a self-inflicted burden that will be much harder to overcome than if we were to see this moment in history as one that unites us over our common desires and aspirations.

All people want is to live their lives in peace, to be comfortable enough that they can enjoy the fleeting time we have on this earth with friends and loved ones. Not to be consumed by a constant state of anxiety and stress, but to feel fulfilled by the simple joys in life that we all take for granted or neglect in favor of superficial pursuits that provide only temporary satisfaction.

Now, more than ever, we must find it in ourselves to rise to this historic occasion, to be better people to ourselves and to one another. Otherwise, the ambitious idea of a country of the free, where all people are created equal, will be reduced to nothing more than brick and ash and broken people.

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