In my last blog I wrote ..."our nation is fucked."
The words were so strong, and so unlike me, that my husband called to inquire.
He never limits me. His only request is that I not write about our sex life--which would be so fun!
But otherwise he is resigned, and even encouraging. "Write what you want. Sometimes it takes my breath away, but I married a writer. It's OK."
That is why I love him.
But that last little phrase threw him.
"Do you really think that?" he asked.
It was lazy writing. Using profanity to express strong emotion is so lame. I do not condone it, and I do not do it. If you are going to choose to do it, usage should be careful, and carefully considered.
Still, I will not retract it here.
It is not that I feel no hope. Obama gives me hope. Our little school gives me hope. My boys give me hope.
But, as a country, I feel dark. I feel that we have become so fat, happy, ignorant and passive, we simply do not move, even when things are really really bad. I am not letting myself off the hook here. I am just as much to blame. I am not running for office. I am not contributing greatness.
My feelings of foreboding stem from a series of disasters which we Americans simply cannot stand up to. Our financial system is rotten, still we cannot reform. Our health care system is untenable, still we do not reform it, and the small reforms that were passed are being chipped away at by corporations. We are polluting our seas and forests and world, but even when BP destroys the Gulf, probably for years to come in ways we cannot understand, we cannot muster the political will to put a stop to deep oil drilling, or even try to drive smaller cars, or drive less, or think about what is pushing this insane technology beyond its limits.
Our economy is flailing, and no one knows what to do.
The fact that our government is gridlocked, evil corporations rule the world, and our environment is under extreme stress make me blue. Throw in that when I walk through my supermarket I literally can be poisoned by many of the items on the shelves--from medicines, to pesticides, to eggs, to simply over-processed bad food with healthy labels, to fish that live in our oceans are thus are too full of toxins to eat frequently, I feel discouraged.
I am darker than my husband.
But on one point I do agree. I do agree that there are pockets of hope, and that the change will burble up from below in tiny small acts by brave figures who are not performing solely to make as much money as they possibly can. I am inspired by our school, and by a gardener I heard of who knocks on doors, begs to plant a garden in the front yard, gives the family within all the veggie bounty they can use, and donates the rest to homeless people. I am inspired by Alice Waters, who is trying to change the way children eat. I am inspired by a guy in our neighborhood who took a scrappy piece of dirt by the side of the road and planted flowers at his own expense. Now the strip is purple and white and gorgeous with blossoms. I am inspired by Jay and Marya of Retrospecs who donate all the eyeglasses they cannot refurbish to sell at their high end store to places in Africa. I am inspired by Allison Cohen who started two community newspapers in an age where people say newspapers cannot make money, and is contributing to her community, and her pocketbook. I am inspired by teachers who labor on in LAUSD without any recognition at all, just trying to make their students have better lives. I am inspired by guerilla gardeners and visionaries and lovers of children. I am inspired by all people who create beauty--whether on canvasses, in their community, with their children, or in their kitchens.
And I believe that eventually, in a long, long time, all these little spots of hope will join together and form something new.
But I do think it will take awhile.
And in the meantime I am often depressed about how mean-spirited Americans have become, how little they care about children who are not their own, poor people they do not know, or libraries whose books they do not read.
What do you think?
1 year ago