Reasoning with Madness
"This is a barbaric yawp, and it will be sounded over the roofs of the world."
So many times I sit down to write about the state of affairs in this country, and I get totally locked up. I don't know where to begin, what to do or where to find the center of things. I have a hard time even wanting to tackle some of these issues.
I've had friends reach out and ask me why I've been silent for so long. The short answer is I've been busy. Which seems like a cop out. And maybe it is.
But I've been busy getting my own life, my own house in order (figuratively and literally). Building a foundation and focusing on my own future before I get spread too thin like I often do.
Time is the only true finite thing we have in this life. It's the one thing we never get back once it's lost. So I've been very careful with the time I give away these days. Every day I have less of the only thing I can't get back. So I try to invest it properly.
But this morning I sat down again to write some thoughts out, and I found myself getting angry. Like crippling angry. I had to stop. Think of something else. Play some music. Sit back for a minute and breathe. I am so fucking mad at what's happening in America and I don't even know where to begin.
While my own personal reality is getting better with time and thought and action and determination, it really feels like America is being torn apart. And personally, there will be a plateau in my own life where I can once again get involved like I've been in the past.
But there are so many battles to choose. There are so many horrific things to address and it will take an entire generation to unify and stand up against all of these things. From war to foreign interference in our elections, from civil rights to corruption, climate change to reproductive rights, economic disparity to racism to the constant daily erosion of the very foundations of the American government and our way of life to the very essence of who we are as a nation...where does one even start?
That's what I struggle with. When the demands are so high and the implications of your actions so crucial to get right, it can be downright overwhelming.
But something I have found crucial to tackling any of this: Education. We must educate ourselves. I'm not talking just going to school or racking up hellish debt from a degree. I'm talking constant learning. We must devour knowledge and take it upon ourselves to seek out not WHAT to think....but HOW to think.
Be the referee, not the player.
What's the game? What's the rules?
I used to be a hack writer when I was younger. Then I entered a journalism program at UO and learned HOW to write. I already knew WHAT I wanted to write about. But I needed to know HOW to do it.
The best teachers I've ever had, from middle school algebra teachers to high school history teachers to college philosophy and economics professors...they all all had one thing in common: They never taught me WHAT to think. They taught me to HOW to think.
This is a huge lesson to embrace. Knowing how to think about something instead of what to think is the difference between true empowerment and basic servitude.
That's what I meditate on as I move into the next realm and the battles that must be fought in the coming years.
Many of these issues will not fix themselves. They will take us all to be involved and present. I have faith in us as a people. I have seen our nation rise together a few times in my life personally.
Our history is inundated by our constant belief in doing the right thing, and overcoming horror and tragedy to grow again.
It can happen still.
Who Am I?
I am Ahab.