I write about change, which I do not find easy nor do most. We resist before we act, hoping not to have to change our lives. It always means some kind of loss but the longer we avert our eyes, the greater the effect.
Many other sentient beings are dying off (or being killed outright), unable to adapt to our immense presence. We are creating our own date stamp. That’s the global effect.
In America, it is our constitutional republic under siege. We are quite fond of that term, as if we understood its layers of complexity, its nature, by attaching to a label.
Currently, I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. One of the characters remarks that America is the only country that is in constant search of its identity. Who or what is America?
It is an ongoing question, and that’s a good thing. A constitutional republic is vibrant as long as its citizens are vigilant. We cannot look away, although we have.
If you have read any Hamilton, Madison, or The Federalist Papers you know whereof I speak. Lots of questions about this new republic and for what it might stand. And there are years of writing, beyond the 18thcentury, about what a remarkable experiment we are.
History reveals some really cool stuff about being American. It’s some of my favorite writing. We can be and have been something good, not exceptional but good. It’s just that we have averted our eyes, and without vigilance, freedom dies.
In less than 250 years this great experiment in democracy is in shreds. Without one country, indivisible, there is no republic. We need to take a knee in defiance to the one who would rule us all, if for no other reason than to defy decree in democracy.
There are no saviors on the horizon. That is fantasy. We can no longer merely man the lighthouses. We are the saviors we seek, such as we are. It gives us pause but we know it is ours to do.
There have been and still are remarkable human beings whose lights are brilliant and whose hearts are so compassionate that all of humanity benefits. These beings have always walked this earth and that they still do is a tribute to the human spirit.
We have many in America, right now, but they are not faces we readily recognize. Too often, we avert our eyes still. Old habits, ours, are dying very hard. We are at our tipping point.
There is “nothing more exhilarating than saving yourself by the simple act of waking” (Junot Díaz). Fine words but what to do? We do know. Awareness is basic to human nature.
It’s not difficult to discern the right thing to do. It means do no harm, and in response, our hearts open in ways that amaze us. And before our eyes the world is different because we are. It’s the little stuff, every day, that changes the world. It always has.
We want swift change, with a certain outcome, but that is the wand the illusionist waves, diverting our attention from what we are, a constitutional republic, a unique experiment with layers of checks and balances. The web we weave is catching he who practices to deceive.
No trick lasts for any illusionist, demagogue, or oligarch. That is the story of human history. Life bends back around, like a boomerang, in ways beyond hope. Every. Single. Time.
We cannot be caught wanting. The simple act of waking, being aware, means taking a stand, accepting that it comes at a cost. We take ourselves out of our wants and act for the need of all. Every. Single. Day.
That’s the compassionate response and its ripple effects form the future. Our way of life as a constitutional republic is revolutionary and always has been. That is America. Are we Americans?