For the most part, I try to avoid the political and the divisive in my blog posts. Social media abounds with political nastiness, and I don't like to spread negativity; I much prefer offering my readers a taste of kindness, inspiration, and a sprinkle of laughter. That said, this post will be different. Maybe it is because the morning is gloomy, or because the election results worry me, or simply because the past few weeks have been filled with sadness and stress for those that I love. But I am worried about the future.
I must admit I've always been a bit "out of step" with the world. I can't quite understand greed and competition. I look at a person's heart, rather than his race, religion, or status. I have always believed in the old adage, "the more the merrier", be it welcoming people to a gathering at my house, or opening our country to immigrants who want to come here and live productive lives. I am a lifelong "tree hugger" -- believing deeply that we should cherish and protect our beautiful natural world. And I believe in taking care of each other -- helping to raise others up, rather than tearing them down.
I guess this is why the election results this week concern me. My fear is that the Republicans, with their self-proclaimed "mandate" will not "play well" with the Democrats. I believe that these early attempts to forge a better working relationship between the two parties will fail, and we will see another two years of fighting, and name-calling and gridlock. I believe that too many politicians from both parties win elections because of the powerful corporations which pour money into their campaign coffers; and then, they are beholden (an old-fashioned word, but it seems to fit) to shape their political decisions based on what is best for these supporters, rather than what is best for our citizens and their quality of life.
The quality of life in our country, in my opinion, has declined vastly in the past two or three decades. For the most part, mothers no longer have the "choice" between working and staying at home with their children. The cost of housing, transportation, insurances, clothing and food necessitate that most mothers work. Our children are bombarded with violent video games, TV shows and movies. They must attend preschool, or they will already be far behind their fellow kindergartners. The pressure to achieve and to compete and to participate in numerous organized activities is intense. High school students already realize that they must choose careers with higher income over those that would offer personal satisfaction. Employees are at the mercy of greedy employers, who can cut benefits, pay low wages, and fire at will, because there is always some other soul out there looking for a job.
Individual citizens no longer have the power they once had. We cannot begin to "fight City Hall" anymore, nor big banks, insurance companies, Wall Street. If we stand up for what we believe is right, more often than not, we get knocked back into "our places" swiftly and unequivocably by these higher powers.
And, I can't finish without mentioning my worries for our environment. I will never understand why CEO's are so willing to pollute the earth that their own grandchildren will inherit one day. Whether or not you believe fossil fuels are causing climate change, the climate is changing drastically. Why take a chance with this beautiful world of ours. Why not strive for alternatives to fossil fuels. Why rush headlong into fracking when we don't know for sure if it could pollute our water supplies down the road. Been there - done that! Just look at the lakes and rivers we have already destroyed with PCB's and other chemicals from previous days. It seems like greed trumps common sense every time!
Yes, I am still out of step, I guess. I don't understand the greed for money and power; I do not have the spirit of a fighter. I do know that this world would be a better place if more people were a bit out of step, too -- if they could only step off this treadmill that is life today -- but they can't. They must compete and struggle to support themselves and their families. They must play by the ridiculous rules of today's world.
I look into the eyes of my innocent six-year-old grandson. His plan is to be an author/illustrator and own a bookstore. And I wonder what he will really have to do to survive in this world. I don't understand where or when our society went off track, but I do know that our quality of life was better when I was young. I wish, somehow, we could find our way back. In the meantime, I apologize for going all political and tree-hugger today, but sometimes there are things that are too important to be left unsaid --