Friday, July 29, 2011

Screaming at the wind

If you scream and no one is listening, did you actually scream at all?  There are times when it is all I can do just not to completely surrender to the chaos, the swirling effervescent madness that is all around us.  In a crowded room of people talking about the trivia of the day, it is all I can do to contain my fury.  Is this the best that we can come up with?
Thousands of years of progress have led us to what?  A pre-processed, self absorbed society obsessed with celebrity, the sexualizing of our children, sublimating creativity, perverting passion, and dismissing reason, because it is inconvenient to be educated and think.  It is much better to be a passive consumer, don’t make waves, don’t create, and don’t yearn to be free.
Free is hard, it is complicated, it requires knowledge and skill.  You can’t sit and watch hundreds of hours of television and be free.  You can’t have a world of pundits and policy wonks tell you about how things should be if you are free.  If you are free you can think for yourself, you can apply reason and skepticism, you can derive first principles through understanding and observation.  You can make things if you are free, and the things that you make will be useful and have a certain raw beauty because you made them. 
If you are free, than you can be heard, because your voice is your own.  It is drawn out of you, compelled not by “animal spirits” but by the very fact that you are free.  You choose to sing, laugh, shout and cry, because you are free.  You can go about your life, as you see fit.  Living in harmony, knowing that you are free, freedom is hopeful.  Because you are free, you can step aside from the petty prejudices and tribal hatreds that have bound us to outmoded superstitions.
I yearn for this type of freedom.  I am tired of being afraid; I am tired of looking down.  I am tired of being told, “This is for your own good.” I am tired of the mendacity and mediocrity; I am tired of being ignored.  I am tired of being taken for granted; I AM TIRED OF NOT BEING LISTENED TO!  They hear me well enough, but they don’t listen.  Listening requires intellectual effort, and thought.  I am just background noise, like an overloud radio or television, they just mute me.
I am screaming, in the wind.  I can feel the rawness in my throat; my eyes are tearing with the effort.  I am jumping, shouting, yelling, cursing but to no avail.  The wind steals my voice, and I am just another mad man, yelling silently in the gloaming.  There is nothing to see here folks, move along.

Monday, July 4, 2011

235 years anon

July 4, 1776, a group of men, sweltering in the heat of Philadelphia in the summer, complete a document.  It is unlike any other document ever written.  It separates what hitherto have been colonies from their colonizer; it creates a nation from nothing but a tax revolt and an idea.  The idea is one so profound that it’s still reverberating into our time.  Can humans govern themselves, justly and rationally?

These men wrote down, for the first time the founding ideals of what they would base their government on.  They made the astounding revelation that all men are created equal, and that they are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  A few years later, they crafted a Constitution, which enumerated the powers of the government, describing in detail exactly what the limits were for those who would run our country.  We are the first nation to do so, to set down in black and white what we believe and how we should conduct our governance.

In 1861 we fought a war to define just what a man was, and what the word “American” means.  Today we understand that men, is a noun that constitutes all members of the species Homo sapiens; that it does not discriminate by color, creed, or sex.  If you are a human, you should be free and allowed to pursue your life’s course as you will.  Since then we have lit the world with the light from the shining city on the hill, always trying to free the oppressed.
Are we a perfect nation? No.  Sadly, we are a nation of humans, with the frailty associated with that state.  Our sins have been spread across the world, for all to see.  Our reach has exceeded our grasp, but our heart is in the right place.  We don’t occupy, we liberate.  We build schools, not walls.  We bring water, power, and light to those places where there isn’t any.  We sacrifice our dearest blood and costliest treasure to ensure the freedom of humanity.

And so the sun rises on the 236th year of our republic, we have many accomplishments under our belt, but the road ahead leads through some dark times.  Our nation, leveraged to the hilt, must find a way toward the promise of tomorrow.  We need to make sure that the work of our Founders continues, that we live up to their aspirations, the dedication and sacrifices of generations past, and the responsibility of the us here in the present.  We must ensure that ours is not the generation that squanders the gifts of freedom, so that our children can enjoy them in the future, and to that end defend our republic and the ideals which it was founded upon.  So, the revolution continues, each generation entrusted to carry the flame, one step further down the path, lighting the way to tomorrow.