Saturday, November 12, 2016

And Perhaps We Were Too Dear

As we rode our bikes in our diverse cities, with our jobs, our clean desk jobs.  Jobs where we didn't need to bathe and scrub to get them off of us at night because we had choices, options, education.

With our access to information, and broadband, and noises and smells that forced us to face those not like us, and see them.

Seeing those maligned immigrants daily, up close, holding onto the poles of the subway when the seats were full, mowing lawns, our lawns, washing dishes, washing cars, washing our homes and our children, passing us helmet-less on bikes we discarded, riding from need, riding quietly, riding home in darkness, dirty and tired from the day.

With our intellectual curiosity, and our interests in other cultures, without fear and hatred we could not imagine thinking otherwise, or understand those that did.

With our world travels, with our degrees, our four dollar coffees, and our farmer's markets.

With our algorithms linking us to other like-thinkers where we could make team huddles, mental high-fives, and like, like, like, and like each other's thoughts, as if we were looking into a mirror showing our own brains.  That metal echo chamber.

With our love of international aid projects that encourage extractions abroad without irony, while our coal mines closed at home.

With our knowledge of how government really works and the vacant, gaping blindness to where it was not serving.

With our love of volunteering, of public health, of things bespoke.

As civics classes died without shuddering first.

As cable networks took over, as people stopped reading and stared at the screen, alone, at night, when the gremlin thoughts emerge.

As the free network news, that thing you could watch when the bills could not be paid, moved under the entertainment wing of networks and away from truth.  As medicine ads sustained the news that the old and sick who watched, the watchers who depend on the very public assistance that paid for the very medicines being advertised.  And those watching felt the money in the government was being spent badly and elsewhere.

As maps of heroin addiction and despair appeared like ink blots atop shuttered factory towns, we forgot or merely read about it.

As people hunted for a bad guy, for a place, a face, a single target for blame for a loss of manufacturing jobs that technology and progress would insure never returned, no matter the promises, no matter the diplomacy, the threats.

As we all bought piles and heaps of cheap things made elsewhere without fleeting thought to the consequences, to the harm to the damage, real and psychological.

As we walked over decaying leaves while the sunlight shined in our eyes, wearing our custom Red Wing Shoes and our turned-up jeans, thinking we are nice, we do not judge.

As we voted for candidates that raised millions of dollars from those placing a bet, those gambling that the fate of the greatest nation in the world could really ever be put in the hands of a single person, a person who would think themselves capable to running the greatest power.

As we sat dismayed to find that elsewhere, the pain is so deep, the anger so diffuse.
And we saw, at last, faces contorted with anger and fear.

Elsewhere minds so willing to buy that lottery ticket, that statistically improbable chance that may change the loss of face, the loss of place, the loss of identity.

We stood uncertain of everything we knew about us, uncertain that were as kind, as sure-footed, as special, as great.

And a few wondered if that shock was what the Romans felt right before it ended, right as they realized what was happening outside the city.

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