A half-full glass person tries to take on our awful politics

violence008For me and millions of others, last Tuesday, election night, was a travesty. The country is being given over to private corporations, the line between truth and falsehood is disappearing, and cruelty in a whole raft of forms is becoming acceptable.

There have been other conservative takeovers, of course, all of them frightening to engaged liberals. But this one has to be worse than the others. We can always imagine rebuilding our country on another day. Civilizations have risen and fallen, progressive ideas have won and lost. But the prospect of planetary ruin, of our earth becoming uninhabitable because we can’t bring ourselves to do what is necessary to save it – that is intolerable.

We’re running out of time, scientists say. Omygod, say I. But it gets worse. Some political commentators predict that liberals and progressives won’t regain power in the Congress for years to come. The right will zone and rezone and revise voting rules and continue to throw billions of dollars at all of it, so that there can be no reassertion of power by anyone else.

In the throes of all this, and since I’m one of the those “glass half full people,” I’ve been looking for things that please me, that make the world an exciting possibility instead of what it seemed last week. Apolitical things, mostly. Maybe we make politics too important.

  1. Our relationship to the rest of the planet is finally beginning to change. It’s about time! Many more of us are beginning to get it. We share the planet with a wonderful array of plants and animals; we’re related to them all. Life is various and human beings are just one part of it.
  2. People of every ethnicity, race, gender and age are mixing it up. Our colors are changing. Our art, our music, our science, our ideas are rubbing up against each other as never before.
  3. We’ve always needed to eat, food is important, but in the last century food has become an art and a joy. The slow food movement, locally grown food, fresh food, new ways of planting and harvesting, old ways revived. We’re relearning how to feed ourselves. The hell with Monsanto. In the long run, and perhaps, not even that long, they don’t stand a chance.
  4. The internet – well, not just that, but the whole marvelous global community that it ties together – excites me. I know some of what it means is problematic and maybe even dangerous, but the good stuff is even better. We’re only just beginning to know what it means.
  5. And, finally, for a new understanding of our earth as a living being, and of the universe as more than we could ever make up – something that is at once so tiny, indivisible and ancient and at the same time billions of light years wide and utterly incomprehensible. Something that makes being human (and even political) much much less important, though, perhaps – in some odd way — a little more so.

young stars sculpt gas

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