Just you shut your mouth.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.

I’ve had a compulsion to write for a couple of days now, but between physical exhaustion and a world-weary confusion about my own feelings, I thought it best to wait. Wait until the thoughts were more coherant, organized, and civilized. Yes, I meant to say civilized. “Civilized” is fast deteriorating into a thing of the past in this country. I know, people in other countries have their problems, and we read of them, but I can’t comment or offer an opinion because I’m not living their realities. Brexit? I have to admit: I just don’t give a fuck. The constant chaos and suffering in Third World countries? I’m sad for these people, and I will contribute to charity here and there, but it doesn’t impact my life on a daily basis. It’s not that I don’t care, because anyone with empathy certainly does, but I’ve long since given up on thinking of ways to help.

Same thing with the Middle East. I have very concrete ideas there. They’ve been engaged in war with each other since the beginning of time. Maybe, just maybe…..we should have stayed out of it. Their religion. Their resources. Their customs. It’s never been anyone else’s business. But yes, when they asked for help, we gave it, and just like that controlling family member who helps you out in a time of crisis, that’s when we inserted the condition that “If we’re going to help you, we have EVERY RIGHT to dictate how we help and what you do with the help.” So not cool. And so it began, and now a shitload of the oppressed and ideologically insane in those countries have risen up to say, “Hey, we don’t appreciate your meddling. You’re a bunch of assholes, and the world would be a better place without you. We hate your fucking guts, and we’re going to kill each and every one of you however we can.”

We’ve been so focused on putting out the fires in other countries that the little fires in this country have smoldered, unchecked, for a long time now. The flames of racism, entitlement, power given to the wrong people, and oppression of anything or anyone who doesn’t “fit in” with our ideas of “how things should be” are burning, and they’re getting hard to control. . Yeah, we’ve noticed the smoke, a lot of us have. It was far away though, or it was at least far enough away from our daily grind to not necessitate action. We saw it off there in the distance, shrugged, said, “Not really my problem right now”, and moved on.

As with any fire that’s allowed to move beyond the boundaries in which it has been contained, the smoldering embers in this country have become angry brush fires consuming great swaths of land. Some are reaching the dense stands of trees, and soon, we will have forest fires furiously rolling along, destroying everything in their path. Racism. Religious intolerance. Bigotry. Disrespect of and indifference to anyone or anything who doesn’t follow  your set of rules. That’s a big problem these days. Everyone has their own set of rules. When we don’t like what we hear, we parade out the Constitution and say, “This. This is the law of the land.”  Yes, it was written by the architects of this country in a time when those points were at the forefront of an ideology very much in its infancy. Things were much, much simpler then. Problem is, we’re a complicated, critically thinking population now, and some think the Constitution, well….needs some work. Some revisions that are reflective of a more modern age. And we can’t agree on that. Hell, we can’t agree on anything anymore.

When did we become so intolerant and hateful? When did we decide that it was okay to pass judgment and to ridicule others for their ideas and ways of life? When did it become okay to simply throw out ALL of the rules and adopt our own? The yawning gap between the rich and “the rest of us” has never been as wide as it is today. Has that fueled this fury? The lack of decorum and respect amongst our government officials has deteriorated to such a new low that the current presidential campaigns resemble reality shows and not the actual political process that they claim to represent and uphold.

When everything you read is more tabloid than fact.

When everything you see is bright, plastic, disposable, tacky.

When all the rules are allowed to be thrown into the trash and lit on fire because “We are Americans and it’s our right, goddammit”.

When our looks, how we dress, talk, decorate our homes, drive, think, are fodder for someone else’s intolerance and disdain and the assumed “right” to tell us just what they don’t like about these things.
When skin color, religion, sexual orientation, and gender issues are still being debated and criticized.

Jesus Christ, people. Who the fuck are we and what have we become? Certainly not evolved. There was respect and decency in “the old days”. Sit down and have a chat with an elder. Not everything was better, certainly, but we were on the road to improving. Somewhere along the way, we stopped. Some of us stopped. And when we did, that undercurrent of hate that exists everywhere and has certainly existed in this country since its foundation was allowed to rise to the surface. The events of the past week have certainly proven that. The reactions of many continue to bear this out. Instead of stopping in their tracks and listening to what’s being said, they raise their voices to the cacophony of cries and now we can’t hear a single thing in the noisy din. Everyone is intent on being heard, but nobody is listening.

It is a black thing. It is a white thing. It is a problem with the way people are “seen”. Until we find the solutions to that, until we all accept and realize that we are all human beings who bleed red blood,  and until we respect each other and quit with the fucking judgment, people will continue to hurt each other and people will continue to die.

“Land of the free and home of the brave” has never been more open to interpretation than it is now.


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