What a year, right?
Good things and bad things…
Let’s honor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar for sustaining a long and peaceful struggle for freedom; and the Tunisian National Dialog Quartet for garnering the Nobel Peace prize.
Let’s also honor the death and suffering: the Hajj pilgrims, the Nepalese children buried under Mount Everest’s anger, storm victims, the heat wave in Pakistan, the Chennai flood victims, and the fallen from Hurricane Patricia, the most powerful ever recorded, and more. Humanity’s surge has made the climate obviously screwy, but not more screwy than the superstitious deniers, easily rallied by dogma. Maybe the COP21 agreement at Paris will make a difference, kudos for trying.
Terrorism is the fashion, hitting beloved Paris multiple times, with the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the November attacks, and interestingly revealing our prejudices when the equally dastardly attack in Beirut just one day before went largely unnoticed.
The San Bernardino shootings, along with the staggering volume of mass shootings in the US almost sparked a sane conversation on gun control, but not actually.
Thanks, Canada and Angela for a humanitarian welcome to the migrants.
Good to see that the anti-vaxers are discredited, but not before they did serious harm to children. Dogma isn’t dead though, as Texas continues to ban and revise books; and anti-Evolution-ists and climate deniers linger in crevices. Leviticus, judgmental and fearful, is doing his mischief, as evidenced by Kim Davis’ claim of faith to refuse legal same-sex marriage licenses. To understand the misguidedness, change the parameters: What would happen if a DMV clerk in US says his faith is Sharia law and his faith does not allow him to issue driving licenses to women?
Obama tunes back America’s two long and costly wars, and reverses the movement towards fascism, and tries to catch up to other civilized nations in health care, and guides an economic recovery and tries out a non-war strategy to holding back Iran’s nukes, and for progressive and courageous secular humanism on race, religion and LGBT. But still, fifteen years of war and drone strikes leave one to wonder if the US’ foreign policy missteps have been ISIS’ best recruitment tools. ISIS is winning, not because it’s winning, but because it has succeeded in escalating.
We might be ready to come to terms with the ineffective war on drugs, in starting to decriminalize marijuana, and saving a lot of money and heartache in the process; and also facing up to being the largest incarcerator, imprisoning more our own than any other country. The progress towards LBGT rights here have interestingly ruffled Africa.
The “death by police officer” stories know no end, showing perhaps that racism is quite alive in US, and also showing the difficultly of law enforcement in a gun culture, and the power of everyone now having a camera.
Body-shaming, slut-shaming and all-sorts-of-shaming comes under public awareness, as dancing man ignores haters, and skin-over-bones is no longer welcome on the fashion runway.
Will Trump trump or will Hillary emerge hilarious?
Modi gets credit for advertising India outside of India…but it seems that a conversation on intolerance is not yet tolerable.
The US economy and world-wide financial markets seem to be recovering. But nobody’s talking debt, deficit or the incomprehensible $127 trillion Federal unfunded liability.
Technology leaps inexorably forward with computing approaching quantum limits, self-driving cars, drones, 3D printing, and the spread of mobile devices.
Fear resurges in the increasing popularity of nationalism, as evidenced by France’s Marine Le Pen and our own silly Trump.
China takes advantage of the distractions and colonizes outward. Putin does not want to be left out of the recess playground squabbles.
In other news, Bruce Jenner tries out the woman thing, Pope Francis reaches out, and US air-kisses Cuba. VW lies. Things fall out of the sky: Germanwings 9525, Kogalymavia Flight 9268.
Rightists continue to count on the fear. Progressives (like me) are baffled not so much by Right-leaning leaders but by their supporters. They do have the good sense to super nova. The mob mentality will diffuse, and some sanity will prevail. But what drives them in the first place? Is it that we have short memories, that we forget that this is the same fundamentalist energy which wiped out Native Americans, conserved slavery, was against suffrage, prohibited alcohol, interred Japanese Americans, fought against civil rights, prohibited weed, supported a costly war in Vietnam, then again a fifteen year war in Iraq? Have they forgotten Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act’s assault on basic American rights, outsourcing torture?
Or is it that fundamentalist cynicism is same everywhere. Here, it manifests as Trump followers; there, as ISIS’ followers?
Still, the greatest thing about the US of A remains: we are continually moving forward.
It’s the eternal struggle against fear. Everyone is ruled by fear, consciously or unconsciously. In some, it manifests as the need to control.
Someone summed it up pithily: history is just one damned thing after another.
The problem is fear. For those willing to look inside, it’s easy to see the fear. Be quiet, be still, and look, and you’ll feel the column of anxiety in you.
The solution is individual awakening. Awakening is self-inquiry with self-observation and self-honestly. Look inside. See the fear.