Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wanting a better world.

The state of the world is in chaos. We have a newly elected leader that seems to rule from his hip and is more concerned about calling people names, telling everyone who’s to blame for their problems, and shutting down anyone who dares disagree with him.

I get it. People were scared of change. The world is always scared of change. Humans are scared of change. It’s not an easy concept to grasp. We are not designed to embrace change on an emotional or mental level. Our brains and hearts do not physically grasp the concept. It’s why so many people remain at jobs they hate, or in relationships that make them feel despondent, or in houses that should be condemned. People hate change.

I recently had to think about the act of having a child. You adopt one or give birth to one, either way, you have this kid. You love them. You worry about them. You even give up a piece of yourself to maintain their happiness. And you constantly hope the world will be kind to them. You hope the decisions you make and the people you vote for will make the world a better place for your children.

I am a thirty-six year old man with almost zero prospects of ever becoming a father to something with less than four legs. And I sit here and wonder about the state of the world. The idea of leaving a better world behind for the people after me is not a lost concept on me. The idea of a loving family is not a concept that is lost on me. See, this is the thing. I was raised by two of the most amazing humans to ever walk this planet. My parents built the most incredible family one could ever hope to be a part of. I am in constant shock that I was so lucky to have been blessed with these people.

I am also fortunate enough to be the uncle to three beautiful children, which feels weird because two of them are adults now. They are twenty, eighteen, and two years old, of different ethnic backgrounds from two different sisters and they are three of my greatest loves. These kids blow my mind at every turn of their lives. And I worry about the state of the world. I worry that we are leaving behind a bigger mess for them to clean up. I worry that they stay safe and courageous. I pray they stay true to themselves and find whatever path they are meant for in this life.

I am not a father, but I sometimes feel I worry like one. Because I know that my parents did the exact same thing. I believe they still do; worry about me the way I worry about my nieces and nephew. I’m sure it’s even deeper because I’m their actual child. I know that the worry and the struggle for a better world is real. We all worry about each other because we love each other.

In my life, I’ve studied and observed quite a bit about politics. In the 60’s, we had people protesting back when it meant something, we had one of the most famous leaders ask us to put our country before ourselves, and we saw, finally, the signing of the civil rights act. In the 70’s, the sexual revolution brought forth a huge push of ethics In the 80’s and 90’s our leaders tried to turn our attention as a country to our children, because that’s what the future was. We banded together to say no to drugs, fought devastating diseases, birthed the internet nation, and capitalized in technology. In the early 2000’s we banded together as a people to fight terrorism. All of these decades brought us further as a group with such lightning speed that we couldn’t see how far apart it was dividing us, each decade, groups of people falling by the way side with little hope of moving forward with everyone. We didn’t notice that not everyone was on board with the changes being made.

At this moment in America, we have people living who recall the 1930’s, the time of the depression and have seen, probably, more in their 80 years on Earth than anyone who lived the same amount of time in any other decade. It’s truly remarkable the things someone that age has seen and done.

Change. It happened and people were happy.

Change. It happened and people were angry.

Change. Is this world a better place now? Who knows? I certainly don’t. I am constantly at a loss for how our world is seeming to revert backward in time. I am struggling to believe that my parents thought this to be the better world for one of their children, or their grandchildren. I can’t imagine this is the world anyone thought their children would grow up to have.

I recently watched the movie, Hidden Figures. I was tormented by how people of color and women were regarded at this time in America. I grew up with strong and bold people for parents that made each of their children believe in themselves regardless of their gender or their sexuality. These people instilled in me the golden rule of treating everyone like you would like to be treated regardless of nationality, creed, gender, disability or disadvantage in life. I sat in horror of this film and it hit me; the 1960’s were only fifty years ago.

That is not that long. A set back of the magnitude we feel at the present time has not happened in fifty years. And to me fifty years isn’t long enough. Change is always inevitable. Technology changes within minutes. Each year we see new trends budding, and old ones come back. We as people have this weird obsession with moving forward while looking backward at times.

I struggled with this election in general. But I can’t imagine what the opponent would have done because that person didn’t win. So I am stuck with the person we have. I am not happy about it. I am living in fear that my rights as a human are about to be taken away. I believe the person in charge to be an unkind and unjust person who does not take seriously the post in which he has been appointed

This country is a beast. It will put up a fight for the people who live here to take care of it. It is a country I have believed in my entire life unwaveringly, until now. Only until recently did I question my loyalty to my country. Only recently did I question my faith in this country. As an adult, I constantly worry that the country we are leaving behind to our predecessors is a broken one, with no one claiming fault, but placing blame and accusations haphazardly instead of saying, “this is how we move together.”

I look around me and I see my family divided politically. I struggle constantly to imagine how they could think the person in office was the right person. I often wonder if there was a reason I was bestowed upon my family, when I feel so incredibly different from them. But then I talk to them, they see me, and I see them. We accept each other as we are and see the love we have for each other. I know in my heart that we would go to the ends of the Earth for each other, and I remember what I’m fighting for. What we’re fighting for. We are all fighting for a better world. And I remember to focus on our similarities as opposed to our differences. If I lose sight of that, I will have lost all hope of a future.

Love. That’s what keeps us together.