Monday, January 19, 2015
I Wake in Darkness
I wake in morning light to darkness, a darkness born, in my case of too much thought, thought about the myriad weaknesses and failures of our species (I do not exclude myself), failures that include our determination to despise those who aren't like us (and to kill them, if we can), our unwillingness to listen to viewpoints that contradict our own (even in the mildest ways), our election of public officials who are vain, vile, vapid, corrupt, our reluctance to respect our democracy (a form of government requiring us to educate ourselves to the greatest extent possible, to show up at the polls, to see the subtleties in public issues, the ambiguities, to accept the necessity of compromise in such a varied nation), our passion for comfort and entertainment and pleasure (a passion that, for too many, surpasses all others), our easy surrender of gains earned by long and even bloody struggles (union rights, civil rights--is the Voting Rights Act really no longer needed?), our unwillingness to imagine the lives of others--especially others less fortunate than ourselves--our thoughtless eagerness to judge the many by the few (some welfare recipients cheat; therefore ... some lawyers are corrupt; therefore ... ; some schoolteachers are lazy; therefore ...), our hunger for easy solutions to difficult problems, our almost religious devotion to numbers (students' test scores, for example--surely they must mean something!?), our continuing disdain for those who are highly educated (Elitists!), our worship of celebrities, our unmatched affection for the screens in our lives, our aggressive materialism (our belief that what we own validates our human value)--these and so many more worries darken my sky this bright morning (getting older, failing health, loss of loved ones, disappearing relevance), so much so that I have to force myself out of bed to face more of it, fearing that I will see Hope winging away to an inaccessible location, and then Joyce touches my hand, my hair, asks me how I'm doing, and the lights begin to flicker once again.