The Great American Whine

Why are people so surprised and indignant about the present state of our hallowed nation? Such was always going to be the outcome of this country’s foundations. It began with killing Native Americans, imprisoning them and stealing their land. It continued with the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans, and then systematically disempowering the generations that followed. Women have literally and figuratively been burned at the stake for expecting equality and sexual safety.

Our country, for all its creativity and technological advancements, and all the good it has accomplished around the world, was built on greed, bias and control. We have allowed our air and water to be poisoned for shareholder value; contaminated our bodies with toxic food and pharmaceuticals; participated in the dumbing down of culture with entertainment that exalts violence, soulless sex and superficiality. Where did we think this country was heading?

So here we are. Being led by the heartless and thoughtless. Standing at the precipice of existence as we know it. (One that survived only briefly in the history of humankind, by the way). It is mostly our own fault. For blindly trusting our government, buying whatever corporations sell, aspiring to what the entertainment and advertising industries decide. And by not holding the media accountable for its lies, laziness and self-interests.

We created this, folks. You, me, everyone who kept silent, drank the Kool-Aid of a promised land, knew when something was wrong and went along with it anyway. This did not happen overnight. We cared about our own “American Dream” at the expense of people both near and in far-away lands; too easily taught to fear the other, those who looked different, thought differently.

We are a fragile, fallible species, living and dying in the blink of an eye. We need each other. Our happiest times appear around people who love us, community that embraces us and experiences that fill our hearts with wonder and awe. We praise God but too often hate others born from the same God. We walk on an abundant planet of grace and growth that provides for all our needs, yet allow its destruction for the latest trend or product. It’s all gone a little mad, really.

So, stop complaining about whoever and whatever it is you are complaining about and start living the way you want this country, this planet to be. Sacrifice will be necessary. Struggle is inherent in all meaningful change. If you don’t do it, your children will pay the price. And, if there is one thing the American Dream was built on, it’s creating a better future for our children. There is no greater tomorrow than one founded on love, compassion and tolerance.

As Native American prophesy heralds, now is the time and we are the people. Stand up, open your heart, grab hold of each other’s hands and get going. The world will not be changed by fighting against what it has become but by participating in what could yet be.

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