What We Deserve
By Derek Jones
This election cycle doesn’t seem to be bringing the best out in hardly anyone. The accusations and judgements are everywhere. I see friendships ending and understanding not given much value while we point fingers at each other, each claiming to have more awareness, integrity and reliable information.
Perhaps this mess we have is exactly what we deserve? Maybe spending approximately 3 hours voting one day every two to four years isn’t enough. What are we doing those other 364 days? Is it truly surprising politicians and business people act in their own self interest? Isn’t that what America is about? Control, domination, dishonesty and destruction seem to be the filter everything is viewed though and acted upon. With that filter we lie to ourselves about so many mundane everyday things is it surprising to see what that creates on a larger scale in the absence of being real , truly aware, honest and engaging in a healthy relationship with others let alone the kaleidoscopic miracle that is the life that surrounds and permeates us?
The accepted lazy nature of checking out a story or source is reduced to: does this fit into what I think and confirm my opinion? If so, then it must be the truth. If not, dismiss it. If another perspective come along is it going to be about the smug satisfaction of putting someone in their place or seeking understanding? Where does empathy and compassion come into play when other people are viewed as stupid, sheep or the myriad of other demeaning terms we relentlessly use to dismiss one another?
What does business turn people into? What does politics turn people into and why? Don’t misunderstand me I know some good business people that have great compassion, just as I know politicians that care and are working on making a better world with love. Business too often is based on control, domination, dishonesty and destruction just like politics. Business controls politics because we traded our personal responsibility for convenience and the illusion of fulfillment from the instant gratification that business provides. That was the deal and now everyone seems to be upset at the cost. We collectively elevate greed, selfishness and so many other horrendous qualities when we view things through the filter of domination and control. Be it business, domestic policy, foreign policy, the media, law enforcement, sports, personal careers etc. etc. this philosophy is everywhere and money is the now the religion that corrodes the beauty humanity can be.
Is it shocking when politicians or business leaders turn out to be creatures that we despise? It sure as hell shouldn’t be. We elect people, turn our backs and send them basically alone into some hellscape of greed and power hungry sharks expecting them to do the right thing and not get eaten alive. We set the standard for being a success at how much money can you make. What someone does to make that money isn’t as important. Where is the larger public support and involvement for the poverty ridden sacrifice zones all across the country? Where is the involvement and support for people of color that often inhabit these places? Where is the public involvement and support for law enforcement? Where is the support for the people around the world being killed because they live in the wrong place or are starving because they don’t have anything we want from them? Where are “we the people” when it comes to community let alone politics? It’s easy to sit on our asses and blame others for the mess we’ve collectively created.
There are wonderful people doing beautiful things in the world, our country and our communities. They do good work and don’t get much recognition. They often make very little money. They sacrifice for others and often people they don’t know. They don’t do it for some ulterior motive or to manipulate the situation in their favor. Why don’t we elevate these people? Involvement isn’t especially easy or necessarily fun. The quick fix mentality has been internalized to such a degree that the obvious work we need to do is relentlessly avoided. We are not going to be saved unless we get about the work of saving ourselves and doing the work of re-prioritizing what’s real, beautiful, kind and important. When domination is replace by collaboration, when control is replaced by healthy relationships, when dishonesty is replaced by honesty, understanding and awareness and destruction is replaced by empathy, compassion and kindness then we’ll be on the road to living in the kind of place we can get excited about. When we recognize that hate and fear is itching for the fight we can perhaps begin to find better way by using our imaginations, with love as our guide, to create beauty.