If you ask around long enough and far enough, you will wind up with a consensus that 2019 was essentially a dumpster fire of a year. Well, just a single month into 2020, and there are hints that the bottom has not been reached yet. I can certainly understand the concern that everyone has going forward. However, I am not pinning my hopes on a Presidential election as being the moment when things get solved.
Political solutions, in my experience, wind up not being solutions at all. America has reached a point where the two majority parties – the Democrats and Republicans – scream from the ramparts that each is the only solution for what ails the country. The reality; however, is that both parties place the needs of the country beneath the desire for power that each craves. Politicians make promises, and rarely come through with solutions or even appropriate plans for solutions.
So where can one turn for an answer? Where and how can things get better? Well, to be brutally honest, I have no idea, either. Leaning back into my time within the wider Pagan community – as a participant and observer – I think we can find some possible routes to take from our collective past.
No Need For Resistance
Much of the conversation for solutions runs along the lines of playing the part of the “resistance”. In other words, let the ultra Right-Wing conservatives grab the reins of being in charge. All the rest of the folks out there can grab some dark pants, sweaters and watch-caps; paint our faces with black grease, and play at being a real-life version of Hogan’s Heroes or the French Resistance in World War II. Nine Hells, some of the terminology has already slipped into the daily vernacular, such as applying the moniker of “Nazi” to those individuals that back President Trump. We may as well start with blowing up bridges on the interstate and rail-lines throughout the country to undo the transportation of goods throughout the country. Except that this will hurt everyone, including the people you are wanting to battle for. No, I think the Resistance moniker is fanciful romanticism, but essentially a misplaced concept of how to approach matters.
Identifying the Real Problems (Sort Of)
In my studies of Druidry, much of what I have learned follows a manner of identifying the problem, and then tracing its connection to everything else. Somewhere in all of that process, a solution, not easily seen, can be found. So, that begs the ultimate question – what exactly is the problem? Well, from where I sit, a large part of the problem is inequality among the folks inhabiting this planet. Stemming from that comes a lack of respect for one’s fellow individual. Both are not easy to quantify, much less identify. Plus, I am not totally sure that “solving” either issue will fix whatever ails modern society at this point.
What can I do about this? How can I create that change? Well, I can write about it (and am doing just that here). I can talk about it with other people. More importantly, I can do this stuff. For instance, using something that came out of the President’s State of the Union speech (which I admittedly did not watch or listen to) – entertainer (his terminology, not mine) Rush Limbaugh was honored with a Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor an individual can have bestowed upon them here in America. But that is just introducing Limbaugh to the conversation, his receiving the Medal of Honor is not where I am going. Yesterday, Limbaugh announced to his listening audience that he has advanced lung cancer. There have been a few folks pointing out that karma was coming around to bite Limbaugh in the ass. Sure, I can understand that sentiment. I do not care for Limbaugh’s concept of “entertainment” that he parades on his radio show. But, I am not jumping up and down for joy over his prognosis. Not one bit. In fact, I lit a candle tonight for him, hoping that he can find healing from such a terrible medical prognosis.
Why Would I Do That?
No matter how much I dislike Limbaugh’s politics or detest his concept of “entertainment” – he is a human being that will be going through a difficult, painful, and distressing time in his life. Like any individual going through such times – some even worse, many far better – I only want them to find comfort and healing in their lives. For many, they will never have that feeling of comfort and peace until they pass beyond the veil. But I would still want them to have that peace and comfort, in whatever manner they find it. For me, that is called compassion, something I think we need to have for others – even those that do wrong to others.
Sure, I get it – all that “love and light” shit, right? Yes. Indeed. I may not agree with others on various things. We may even vehemently disagree with one another. But I do not wish harm on others, simply because we disagree. So many; however, feel the need to move straight from disagreement to violent resolution – agree with me or prepare to die. Living in a life of absolutes.
Life of Absolutes = Fundamentalism = ???
Most Pagans came to this path out of other beliefs where absolutes ruled the day. You had to worship God in this manner. You had to see God as this way only. You can only pray to God in this manner. If you decided to choose any other way, you were going to Hell. I am quite sure a large majority of folks out there can relate to hearing all of that preached at them. Rigid. Unforgiving. You are either with “Us” or you are against “Us”. The literal “Us v Them” conversation. If you side with the Republicans of today, you are a Nazi. If you do not condemn these modern day Nazis, then you are a sympathizer. I have heard all that before. I have even been accused of being a “sympathizer” simply because I do not choose to follow the “Vote Blue, No Matter Who” philosophy. Sorry, but I am not about to leave my brain at the door, just to vote one power-hungry political party over another. I am reminded of a conversation that G’kar had while watching his people destroy a replicated Centauri throne room on a Babylon 5 episode….
With you directing us, we will finally destroy the Centauri.
You have just tossed someone off that throne! Would you put another in his place so quickly? The Kha’Ri spoke with many equal voices, not the one voice of a single leader.
We need strength to lead us, fire to forge us. We saw that in the Centauri, learned that from them.
Then you have learned the wrong lessons. I will not take the throne. If the Kha’Ri is restored, I will take my place among them, but that’s all. I did not fight to remove one dictator just to become another myself.
But the Centauri-
Are a lost people! They ought to be pitied! They are already on a course for self-destruction! They do not need help from us. We need to redress our wounds, help our people, rebuild our cities!
just as G’kar noted in the conversation, those that continue to cling to the various “Us v Them” dichotomies within our modern-day society are on that course for self-destruction. We want change! We want something better! Perhaps, we need to start with helping one another, regardless of who we have supported for political office in the past. Like the Narn, in the Babylon 5 episode, we need to rebuild….not our cities though. We need to rebuild our sense of community. We need to re-learn how to be respectful, yet able to disagree. We need to remember that we ALL belong together in our communities…
I have said it before…I am no leader. I have no desire to lead anyone around or tell anyone what to do. I have a sense of what is right and wrong…and I will do my best to adhere to that perspective. If anyone follows me…that’s fine. Perhaps, someone will crush my skull when I start to walk down my Path…regardless, I will walk it as far as my feet can carry me.