Friday, July 16, 2010

A Dose of Dimness

So, hooray, they may have finally plugged the oil leak. That's great. It really is. But, I just can't get too excited over it. I think I am suffering from too much cynicism. Or maybe it's just reality. I mean, plugging up a deep sea gusher after three months and 200 million gallons is like signing a peace treaty after a mutually destructive global nuclear war. I mean, let the healing begin, sure, but things are so totally fucked, how long is it going to take?

Not to mention that this good news comes at a time when that wacky, wonderful war in Afghanistan (you know, the one that is "Obama's War") is getting more dicey by the day. And....

Look, I am not trying to bum anybody out, but I have been thinking, lately. Perhaps more than usual. Everything is hosed. Everything. There are very few things in this world that I can think of right now, beside the things that I have a direct hand in making or keeping a certain way, that work for me. The small picture stuff: my marriage, my dogs, those things are good. My house is falling apart around me, and my job is sort of undefined, right now, but I can deal with those things. But, all the big picture stuff: economic stuff, big business stuff, energy stuff, conservation stuff, political stuff...all that is just totally off the rails. And I don't know what to do about it.

I can hear the chorus of folks out there saying, "Live a purposeful life. Make the right choices." I see that as being more and more impossible every day. I feel like every time I think I have a handle on some kind of small act, it is co-opted, or I figure out it isn't the good choice I thought it was. And, anyway, it shouldn't be that hard to live a life that doesn't support criminality, amorality, unethical behavior, or the hi-jacking of the planet's genetic code. I can't take it.

In French class, one year in high school, we listened to a French song called "Si j'etais presidente (If I were president)" I don't remember any of the lyrics (except the title line from the chorus), but the gist of it was that this singer would make the country and the world into his ideal if he had the power. We had to write our own version. Since it was in French, and I was an average student of the language, at best, I am certain that Ms. Butcher doesn't have my lyrics in a portfolio of excellent student work somewhere in her files marked "Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (1980s)." But, I know I didn't take the assignment that seriously, anyway. I just wanted to make sure I used at least 70% of my vocabulary words correctly, therefore ensuring a grade of C. What I would really do...well, that didn't really enter into it.

I wonder what our current leader would write (in English), if he were posed with this assignment? I think we had some idea that some change was coming. Well, some change has come, most notably in the form of a new Health Care Bill, soon to be making its way into reality. But, it is and will continue to be molded, watered down, and hacked away at by pharmaceutical companies (especially the two with revenues in excess of $60 billion) and insurance lobbyists and other special interest groups until it doesn't do anything but waste money, time, and people. What else?

I guess that might be another reason why I feel so defeated, right now. I guess I was expecting more from BO. Instead, I just see a smarter version of the same dumb shit: poor response to a Gulf disaster and floundering policies in the middle east. I know that he is not single-handedly responsible for these things, but he has to take the heat as much as his predecessor. It just makes me wonder: are we so far down the road that we can't get turned around and onto a better track?

But, what would I do, si j'etais presidente? I guess it doesn't matter. It's never going to happen. And, even if it did, any efforts I made to create my vision would be thwarted by everyone who has even a tiny bit of power, money, and influence. They'd want to keep that power, that money, that influence. Who wouldn't? But, aaaargh, the world as it is is so ridiculously messed up. In so many ways. What can we do? What can I do? You know, besides move to Canada, eh?


La Fashionista said...

I have similar reactions - so much so that I choose to limit my exposure to coverage of current events (this used to be called "news", an establishment which in many ways is also mightily screwed). When I become aware of these things, individually and collectively, it feels like my heart breaks every single time. But you may have put it best in a recent FB comment about a different topic: "Nature can be harrowing." And so with human nature.

I don't know what to say. I agree with you. There is tremendous beauty in this world, and if we choose to open our hearts in awe of every aspect that we encounter, we also witness destruction.

I want to do the best I can in this. And yet, I feel that I have few degrees of freedom - little power to affect change as broadly as I wish I could. In the space that I do have, I try to live in a manner that is as awake, responsible, compassionate, kind, and thoughtful as possible.

And sometimes it helps to know others - and to think of the people who I know personally - who approach life like this and are out there trying to live in this same manner.


ATR said...

I can't bury my head in the sand. When my hand basket gets to hell, I need to know it ASAP.

But, don't you ever have those days when you think: I need to just quit this job and go chain myself to a blue fin tuna? Or some other issue-oriented endeavor. Sometimes, buying the "right" can of tuna just doesn't make me feel like I am doing anything of consequence.

Of course, just knowing you share this madcap world with me is enough to at least make me think about smiling!

La Fashionista said...

I so wish we could be having this conversation in real time someplace together - preferably with beers in hand while relaxing on a screened-in porch. Back and forth via intertubes = not conducive for the depth of thoughtful discussion we could have. Keeping that in mind...

Briefly, I'll say that in thinking about this I'm aware that since becoming a parent my world has become very tightly focused. I wouldn't call it narrow, though it could certainly appear that way. This will change, I think, in the coming years, but for now my energy is conserved and invested almost exclusively into parenting (directly and indirectly). I think that being in this relatively new role has shifted things around for me for the time being, and eventually I'll be more focused outside my immediate family/daily life.

There's so much more to say about what you've written! It's important and difficult to struggle with these things.

And cue the awake child :) so I gotsta go.