I find myself thinking of dark thoughts. Yep, our culture, society, and world are going down the tubes. Occasionally, I find myself saying “Well, I’ll be dead.” I am fifty after all. How much quality time do I have left? How many days until those adult diapers suddenly seem like a good purchase? If I’m lucky I’ve got a few decades left which is NOT much time. This post is gonna feel like a downer because it is. I’ll be back soon with more uplifting, photographic bliss so suck it up and keep reading.
I see an underlying current I can’t NOT write about. This post doesn’t really fit any of my categories but it needs to be said. I came across this rabbit on a walk during my final week in California. On the surface, you might think “poor little creature.” But maybe the rabbit is the lucky one. Let’s talk about alarming trends.
- We need to take stock in what is happening globally when it comes to the alt-right hate groups gaining traction in Europe, Asia, Latin America and certainly at home here in the United States. We sure don’t learn from history. This is how it builds. Quietly and not so quietly in the background. We find ourselves saying things like “Oh, it’s not that bad. People will come to their senses and we will move on.” And then more elections are won by the extremists, the violence lovers, the bigots and the dangerously accusational.
- There is rising antisemitism gaining traction here and abroad. Now, my right-leaning friends try to downplay this but the truth is hard to argue with. I just left Orange County California which is the home base of many of these alt-right hate groups. Not to mention the synagogue by my house was just painted with Nazi symbols. The high school down the street produced students who thought it entirely okay to pose on Instagram over a giant swastika, and oh, by the way, several people were caught and arrested handing out antisemitic literature on local campuses. No joke.
- Corruption is the norm. Americans are quick to point a finger at Russia, China, Mexico and say “Gee, look how corrupt those countries are.” And sure, there is corruption, but we are just as corrupt only it may or may not look a little different. Just look at what is happening with our government. We now know beyond the shadow of a doubt the head of the entire US Justice Department is corrupt. He lied to Congress, misrepresented critical information and has betrayed every single American by tossing aside his duties in favor of an unknown payoff. (Other than getting his job in the first place.)
- Narcissism is at an all-time high. I blame the Internet and Instagram. I heard a mountaineer discussing the logjam disaster that is Mt. Everest and he said: “Take away social media and 90% of those climbers go away.” How great would it be to limit the exposure once in basecamp? No phones, no social, no way of showing off. A guy can dream.
- The overwhelming concept of our culture and certainly our government is GREED. Credit card debt is at an all-time high. Amazon sales are CHURNING into uncharted waters and enough never seems to be enough. Our interior department sells off, rolls back and misleads so that a few rich people get a little richer. And we stand and watch, shaking our heads.
- We are beginning to experience system failure at the city level. Corruption in police forces, corruption in city government, corrupt developers and scams around every corner. It won’t’ be long before a US city needs outside help to survive. (ABQ PD is under indictment.)
- Our education system needs a total rebuild. We just aren’t good enough. Poor education is the foundation on which the house of hate is built.
- Propaganda is the new norm. I want to funnel this through ONE medium. Radio. The alt-right, right-wing, Republican agenda rules the airwaves in a major way. They always have, but the days of attempting to maintain SOME type of objectivity are long gone. But before I go any further, just know the Democrats suck so bad at radio they deserve to get crushed. They have nothing. They tried something called “Air America,” but it was horrific. The Repubs know that radio hits 97% of all Americans, especially those with limited other means of acquiring information. I just drove from Kingman Arizona to Albuquerque New Mexico and the ONLY channel coming in like a 50,000 watt blowtorch was right-wing radio. And folks, this agenda is unadulterated propaganda. Their message is consistent from host to host, and it’s truly scary. I just heard this “If the Democrats win in 2020 they will come to your house and tell you how many children you can have. They will take your vehicle away because it burns fossil fuel. They will turn off your air conditioning and they will turn off your heat.” This is fearmongering.(You also hear “Our side has all the guns.”) Tinged with antisemitic rhetoric, anti-immigrant rants, falsified data and pure conspiracy theory about how the Democrats are Soviet agents and there is a secret agenda attempting to dissolve American life. P-U-R-E L-U-N-A-C-Y.
- The religious community has traded its core values for policy victories. Regardless of the damage done. The leaders of these groups should forever wear the Scarlett Letter “E” for enabling this current regime. Anti-abortion fever. Anti-immigrant fever. Heck, I just had a conversation with someone who said: “Muslims should be eradicated.” And then he doubled down with this beauty. “Nobody has ever killed anyone in the name of Christianity.” I’m not joking. Someone just told me this with a straight face. And when faced with the evidence of history he replied: “That didn’t happen.” His church and his Facebook group rewrote history to fit this twisted new narrative.
- Environmental science is being rewritten to hide the most damning information. This is happening right now. Last fall’s US Government environmental report, which is now going to be used as fodder in the endless lawsuits about to unfold, revealed a truly dire environmental situation followed by a truly dire economic situation. Instead of making a plan to remedy this scenario the current administration has begun a systematic plan to have the data rewritten.
- We live a facade of puritanical ideals while the porn industry rockets to $25 billion a year in revenue. Somebody is full of shit. Women are being told what they can and can’t do with their bodies, and they are being told by…old…men. Remember, it was only made okay for women to wear “trousers” in 1923. What a mess.
Why write this post? Because we simply need to do better and we need to do better today. My advice. Stop going online for your news. Delete your social media networks, all of them, and start talking to your neighbors. And I mean talk. Tell them you are genuinely interested in their take on the world. What do they need in life? What do they want? What do they believe in? No finger pointing, no accusations. Truth, math, fact, science, and compassion. Happy people are productive people. It makes no sense to fight, to drive division and to inspire hate. Unless you have a buck to make, and that seems to be the prevailing wind.
Well said, my brother. Well said.
OMG…you channeled me exactly. The turmoil has overtaken my moments to be creative. Got to refer my readers to this post.
Refer away my friend. And thanks for commenting.
I stopped watching cable news in November and haven’t missed a thing. I think the technology has made us more acutely aware of the reality of the world which was not available before. when I grew up, my world view was pretty small. Now in my late 70’s, I can see more of the pain and evil that is the reality for most people on the planned. I am not burying my head in the sand, I am looking for real traditional journalism, not the propaganda on cable news and social media. This is truly Orwell’s 1984.
Me too. I find many of the news outlets don’t even attempt to hide the pandering these days. I’m happier on my bike away from the noise. Books are key. Long form data, but sadly after the fact.
One can get pretty depressed about it all. I was going through my file of collected quotes tonight and ran across this one, which I think is applicable.
“Unless we teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence. If violence were effective, we would have had a peaceful world long ago. The most important act of peacemaking? Your next one. Few of us will ever be called on to do great things, but all of us can do small things in a great way.” — Colman McCarthy, “Hope”, July/Aug 2003 issue.
“The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.” — Tennessee Williams
Great stuff. I do believe humans, many of us, are inherently violent. We like to war.
Every great civilization has crashed in the past because they failed to adapt. Now that we’ve become a global civilization and we’re seeing all this resistance to adapt to changing realities… well what’s coming doesn’t seem likely to be happy.
Thanks for sharing your view, I still do believe most people have good intentions but stay passive. The active ones are the wrong ones. So keep at it, we need more smart voices.
That is a really good point. The bad people are the active ones. Man does history play that out. And the passive thing drives me crazy as well. I’ve run into so many younger folks who told me they couldn’t be bothered with voting because they couldn’t do it on their phone. It’s so insane I don’t even know where to start.
This sums up very articulately how I’ve been thinking for years now. I think a lot of us are. I’ve been trying to figure out how to look it square in the face and still embrace life full on. I can’t remember that feeling. I still think I’ll get there, though. I’ve also thought about how to get away from social media. Trying to carve out my little corner of the freelance writing/photography/photojournalism world, I haven’t quite figured out how to sign the social media divorce papers…
Two weeks. If you make it cold turkey for two weeks, and I mean ZERO social interaction, you will never go back. It’s just too good on the outside. Too calm, too slow and too meaningful. Two weeks will give you perspective on the absurdity of it all.
A scary time we live in. I never thought history would repeat itself in my lifetime, yet here we are…
Yes, it is. I keep going back and forth. Is it scarier or do we just have better and more common means of communication? It sure SEEMS scarier.