Though I think it is easily, obviously the most important problem facing the country and world today, I am not yet ready to write my feelings about climate change. But the shuffling of a very obstructive, unpredictable deck of cards does exemplify the powerful question in the months and days before an ensuing panic attack of an administration. How do you separate your individual anxieties from those of the world at large? My mom is coming into town for Christmas this year, and I plan to ask her, having lived through the Cold War and Nixon, how you deal with the looming threat of avalanche, especially when you've just buried your father and are trying to remember how to love and take care of yourself, if not in earnest for the first time.
And for minorities and women in America, this is nothing new. Feeling threatened and without hope for the government to even attempt to even-handedly represent the people. But there was a hope that things would get better. And that among those things, little by little, we might include the goverment. Over time, anti-corruption bills would pass in an administration that wouldn't so clearly oppose them. Because of our first female president, women and girls accross the nation could be emboldened by the person they saw dilligently selecting her cabinet instead of our current demagogue-elect who has stoked the hate that people feel deep down in their animal brains (while filling his administration with one percenters who will continue to fleece us). The resistence (turned disdain) that comes with our instincts to fight for resources and safety. The instincts that push us to find shelter and make clothes from animal pelts, and reproduce so that we will have better numbers to protect our tribe from saber tooth tigers (R.I.P.) and bears (soon to be R.I.P?) other tribes who are not interested in co-habitation of land, trade, cooperation. Only we are no longer living in world where we run into firsthand threats to our safety in our daily life. We are in danger mostly of ideologies. Of existential roughage. Of unhappiness. Of apathy and disconnect.
Our immediate threats are cyber bullies, drunk drivers, diabetes, and the mentally ill (or simply those with a hot hand) in possession of a firearm. Credit card companies, utilities, banks, identity theives and stock market crashes. In a thought, the things we are deficient of in this country are not money, and strong leadership, but empathy, and a way to measure success past money and health as a number.
The only way we are going to get through any of our myriad problems is by working together, and it's particularly disheartening that so many voices in our country, your Rush Limbaughs, Bill O'Reily's, Breitbarts, Infowars, Fox Newses etc. have had such success stoking a fight-or-die mentality that pits people against some master narrative of control. That readies people to fight against dragon-faced concepts like 'terrorism' or 'drugs' (unaware that they are a distraction). And by putting blame on these concepts, frustrated people feel empowered to know their enemy. Only the addiction to embattlement (and the profits from a loyal fanbase) causes these branded "enemies" to grow to outlandish proportions. And the fight against the concepts that are keeping you from happiness lose their boundaries. They become the fight against respectful dialogue on TV or in the Senate (only losers listen to their opponents). The fight against healthy discussions in your community. The fight for survival from threats that just aren't pressing.
Coal jobs aren't going away because America or the government doesn't care about mining towns. Coal jobs are going away because coal is killing the earth. Because other greener energy sources have moved past a quick government tax break initiative into the future of the industry. Imagine instead of shuttering mines for environmental (read: human health and safety) concerns, we shuttered them because coal miners are consistently suffering horrendous health problems, or more realisitically, because we had quite simply mined all the coal there was. Wouldn't we be at the same empass? What these communities really need is updated education (read: digital). They need to be brought up to speed about how to make money in the modern economy. They need their youth to go out to college and come back and revitalize their hometowns. Rural communities in New York dont seem to suffer in the same way as these coal towns I've been reading about recently in PA, WV, MT, WY. Couldn't the difference be as easy as a big Metropolitan hub that gives access to experience, education, and insight?
Most of the pollution in America comes from cities. So too, does the innovation and legislation to control carbon emissions. And even though they're painted as liberal havens, I can tell you first hand, something NYC is in no short supply of, is discussion, conversation, argument, strife, communication. And where there's open, honest communication, I'll always feel hopeful for our chances. No matter how messy it will be. Let's hope there's more on the way.
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