2020, General

Discombobulated

Yes, exactly! Totally discombobulated is how I have found myself to be these past two weeks, more so than in the past several months. I am more listless, depressed, anxious and unmotivated. I wondered whether it was my old age, or perhaps dementia knocking at the door? However, I quickly realized that my age only accentuated that sense of foreboding specifically because of past experiences. I know that I am not alone. I know from talking to friends that so many of us are feeling this apprehension. I also know that having been there before frazzles me all the more. Those painful memories of my past have always stayed with me: muted, muffled, muzzled, but they never really left. I am aware that they won’t leave this time either. Such momentous events as we are going through have a way of digging deep into our psyches, boring their way irretrievably, burrowing into the deepest recesses of our souls and lurking until such moments whence they emerge again energized by another new infusion of angst and powerlessness as I am feeling lately. Totally disconcerting!

The propensity for the evil that lies within human beings and that my memories now conjure up makes me recoil with fear and aversion for, yes, I have seen enough in my lifetime to be able to sense that we might be on the precipice of witnessing wicked deeds and callous perpetrators driven by their warped ideologies; by anger; by ignorance; by hate; by religious zealotry; by total selfishness; by misplaced allegiances and malicious aspirations.

From the age of five and on I have lived through a cacophony of uprooting, marches, protests, civil unrest, civil war and wars. I am not alone. There are numerous civilians like myself across the world who have been through such similar circumstances. That awareness does not make it easier, more tolerable, less spiritually invasive. It does not make the events that accompanied all these manifestations more justifiable, explainable, acceptable. It has never done so for me as I have realized what a steep cost all of us end up paying, and the remittance often continues for generations.

All this is accompanied by a very deep sense of sadness, especially that after we emigrated to the United States I believed that I would not have to deal with any civil unrest anymore; that I had moved to a democratic republic where no matter how polarizing the issues they get resolved through dialogue, law and not through violence! I believed that I was sparing my children from having to go through the agonies that I had to. I fantasized about how my grandchildren would one day when they arrived grow up free, secure, with stability and enduring hope for their futures. I wonder today how I have failed them; how my generation and those that ensued became too complacent, too spoilt, too engrossed with ourselves to pay attention to the real issues around us, not only those in our country, but across the world. Yes, we discussed them; yes, we opined on our social media platforms; yes, we may have expressed our worry by attending a rally, going to a demonstration, signing a petition, donating to an organization, waving a flag, writing a blog. All that has proven not to be enough, mainly because we continued to clap for the same rotten political class by electing them over and over again despite their glaring arrogance, greed and ignorance. We have miserably failed ourselves, our families, our country and the world.

Was all this set into motion after Two World Wars prompted the US into becoming an Empire? Or, was it after that fateful 9/11 when we began dismantling our democratic institutions in order to justify knocking down doors, bombing weddings and funerals, interrogating, torturing, imprisoning, occupying, invading? Questions for which I do not have the answer. I simply know that should reasonable, sensible and brave citizens stand up, speak out and act decisively we might possibly avert a catastrophe that is, and has been, in the makings for quite a “while.” Of course, and despite having had homegrown terrorists lurking in the underbelly of this nation for that “while” it has been brazenly and dangerously brought out of the shadows during these Trumpian days. It is morally reprehensible, degenerate and insane with a lethal Virus to top it all!

The How, Why and Wherefore does not really count at this juncture, because we are here now, and this “here” threatens all of us. However, our hubris – just the same go-it-alone arrogance of how we addressed the Virus – opts not to look into historical context in order to learn, enlighten, edify and elevate the nation. After all, Trump has his many ego-maniacal predecessors going back to Nero, to Hitler and to his contemporaries of today, but sometimes in our American ignorance we choose to think that our Trumpian experience is unique. Far, far from it!

Our children and grandchildren are living a nightmare rather than being Foot Loose and Fancy Free, a term that once upon a time was used in the context of someone being Unattached to Anyone, or Anything as yet. Free as a bird!

Then, along came Trump and a Lethal Virus and this phrase has taken on a whole new meaning! In other Words our younger generations might now sadly be saying: Foot Loose and finding out that We’re Screwed? Here, to put it in perspective are numbers that I came across depicting that 233 million human beings in the United States – out of 330 million total population – were born from 1965 and on, that is: they are 55 years old and younger. (Numbers are approximations rounded up)

Generation Z: 86 Million   (Born 1996 – 2015)
Millennial Generation: 82 Million   (Born 1981 – 1996)
Generation X: 65 Million   (Born 1965 – 1980)
Generation by Population

These are the generations, many of whom – by no means not all – during these Trump and Virus days, believe that they are Screwed! After all, the majority of those under 55 were rudely awakened from their secure and happy slumber by 9/11 – the oldest of them were 35 years young then – and our national as well as international adventures; to the horrors of school and mass shootings and no reasonable gun laws; to awareness of the disasters of the climate changes and what these are doing to the planet and to our health; to swirling talk all around them of terrorism and extremism; to corporations becoming more callous and avaricious; to an abundance of drugs and opioids tempting them; to the many challenges facing their own families; to their personal insecurities, as well as their financial; to their feeling angry at the injustice and discrimination that their friends whether they are of different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations or other were being subjected to; to a political landscape whose dynamics they are totally estranged from and on and on. Therefore, when we read the headlines and find out that it is mostly those generations who have been spreading the Virus by going to parties, on vacations, to the beaches, pubs and bars we should realize that these manifestations go much deeper than mere in-your-face rebellion, because, obviously, they have developed, though quite subliminally amongst most of them, a Carpe Diem attitude that seems to say: we are doomed any way you slice it and dice it, so we might as well party on! An outlook brimming with Fatalism! My heart goes out to them!

There are also amongst those in the above mentioned age groups who are diligently studying, or already working, or parenting, or heroically coping etc. etc. That group is hunkering down and preparing for “The Day After,” when we would be Virus-free knowing that there is a New Normal that they would have to be dealing with whether it is the same Administration, or another one in charge of our lives. How that will be evolving remains to be seen. Nevertheless, they, too, are apprehensive and worried about that unknown future.

Conclusion: To one degree, or another, most of us seem to be Discombobulated!

Mantra of the Day: This too shall pass! This too shall pass!

2020

Escape Again!

I wish I had better news to share, but there is no sense in burying our heads in the sand: It’s broken! Actually, it is so sadly and dangerously broken that I don’t know what it will take in order to fix it. However, humanity had arrived to such dismal precipices a few times before in our history, and, after we plummeted into the nadir we have managed to climb up again, though often quite slowly and painfully. Might this happen for our children and grandchildren’s sake? It’s possible.

There is an unsettling angst that is permeating our Planet. It is as if we are constantly sitting on the edge of our seats; as if we’re sloshing through quicksand never knowing when it will swallow us. Even those who do not listen to the News and Views anymore are affected by this feeling. It is all because this Virus that has engulfed the whole Planet has inadvertently caused not just disease and death, but has also bared so much inadequacy, hypocrisy, deceit and malfeasance that had been ongoing for decades and centuries while many of us were willfully blind, or woefully ignorant.

I feel that the most striking revelation coming out of the past several months is the fact that we humans are generally uninformed, malleable, tribal and selfish. Also, we have corrupt political leadership in so many places across this world! No one, though, expected that the United States of America would be classified amongst those places. No one! Least of all the American people who believe that they are exceptional! Really? Thinking of all this, I recalled a terrific book that a good friend once sent me as a gift. It was called: Sorrows of Empire by Johnson Chalmers and it was published in 2004 after our wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Chalmers once stated that: “A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship.” I cannot think of any truer words, especially nowadays! In that same book, Chalmers said (my words) that if you can afford to buy a condo in Canada then you should go ahead and do that Pronto! In other words: Escape! Because, in his opinion, the United States was going downhill and pretty fast! There have been other writers and analysts who have written books and articles in this regard citing our undemocratic practices, bigotry, injustice, cruelty and our unwarranted hubris. Sadly, our arrogant, self-serving political officials disregarded those writings and, to the contrary, proceeded to encourage our Imperialism, our Meddling all over the world (and our vociferous denials of same), as well as our Military expenditures and amassing of lethal weapons that we are exporting to anyone who pays for them, thus ensuring that the world becomes even more dangerous, and, more ominously, that some of that weaponry would be utilized in order to subdue and quell protesting activist citizens. Look around you and tell me that this is not happening in quite a few places all over this world! Moreover, with the Trump Presidency we have seen how every law on the books can be manipulated, re-explained, re-defined and upturned on its head to suit the issue at hand, and that the Powerful have always, always and much before Trump, resorted to this tactic while both – yes, both! – political party hierarchies went along willingly in order to maintain their power despite some cosmetic slogans and acts with which they whipped us up and lulled us into thinking that they are looking out for us. Not so! Not at all! Therefore they should all GO! We need fresh, clean blood in our corridors of power if we are ever to have Equality and Justice.

This year the world is celebrating the 75th. Anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, an event that happened after the devastation of WWII and that was meant to bring nations together in a forum that would promote peace, negotiation, cooperation and coexistence. Unfortunately, it has not succeeded in its mission as proven by the many horrible wars that have happened in the meantime and all that those engendered by way of the horrendous number of refugees and uprooted multitudes across the world, the human rights abuses that continue unfettered and unobstructed etc. etc. All these terrible events and the pain they caused have also led to the mushrooming of human trafficking whether for sex, or slave workers; the flowering and proliferation of drugs, drug overlords and gangs; money laundering; the increase in the numbers of oligarchs, strongmen and cyber-criminals amongst other wicked side-effects.

So, yes, it’s broken! It is very, very broken. And we have not reached the nadir yet! However, nothing has changed for the Ruling Classes and their Posses; the Media Characters and their Adjuncts, the Corporate Executives and their Minions. Nothing! They are still enjoying their same life-styles and    all else. But life has changed drastically for all of us as we fight each other over the wearing of a pathetic mask rather than focus on how to support each other in our quest to induce all of the afore mentioned to provide us with Equality, Justice and Peace! Quite pathetic!

All this made me think back: Lebanon and Ireland, where in both places there was a clear reason for the conflict. In Lebanon the Maronite Christians refused to share equality and power with Muslims whose numbers were about to surpass those of Christians. In Ireland it was the Protestant North that refused to share equality and power with the majority Catholics. EQUALITY and POWER that happened along a religious divide, though Not due to the religion itself! Hence, clinging onto Power by whatever means necessary. This same scenario has also played out in other places – such as South Africa – where one faction thought they deserved to reign supreme over others whom they thought were undeserving of Equality, or Justice. Unfortunately, there are many other examples.

So: Welcome to the United States in the 21st. Century where history is being repeated and where the dangers and calamities ahead of us are sounding more dire, ominous and dangerous by the minute, and where, it seems, that there are not enough proud Americans who love their country more than themselves or their ideology in order to stop us from tumbling into the precipitous abyss ahead. It is so embarrassing! Who would have ever believed this even remotely possible?

Recently, the Lebanese President was asked as to where shattered Lebanon was headed, and his succinct reply was: To Hell! (His words. Literally!) If there are not enough Americans to stop President Trump and his White, Republican Lieutenants we will be going there along with Lebanon!

How on earth do we Escape this frightening future? That condo in Canada is sounding pretty inviting at this juncture!!