In a very short period of time the majority of us Americans have become open, accepting, inclusive, affirming, caring — for each other and for the creation. This is near miraculous. In some sense it is inexplicable given human history.
There is the sprouting of life and hope through the barren crust of life as it has been lived. The vast majority of those who voted in the presidential election did so for the candidate who represented, however imperfectly, those great values. Unfortunately, the electoral college votes weren’t there for her in an, at least, questionable and tainted if not completely illegitimate election process. Progress has experienced a severe setback and the consequences may be dire. And therein is the rub for millions of the electorate.
Human history has been filled with tribalism, evidenced in blood and gore; it’s core value has been survival through dominance, persecution and the pursuit of power. Fear, unacknowledged and un-admitted, has instinctively led to fight. Flight has been seen as weakness.
In this, we are lower than the other animals. Theirs is an innocent instinct toward survival. Human instinct is not innocent. We know good from evil but ironically choose death over life in the quest for survival.
The result has been mayhem, carnage and slaughter. We have euphemistically termed such behavior as bravery and the bloody victories as glory (American exceptionalism is invariably framed in this way.), but it is what it is more often than not — bald-faced barbarism.
To be sure, we are living in “Amerika” as Dr. Thomas P. Eggebeen termed it in his powerful, post– election poem posted at this site. Tom is calling us out much as John the Baptist and Jesus did the religious and political authorities of their day and as Martin Luther King, Jr. did not so many years ago against contemporary principalities and powers. Tom’s prophetic words are an attention-director and serve as a wake-up call.
And at the same time, there does seem to be an awakening, however faint, in America to a different way, a better way, a just way, a compassionate way. This new way, upward way, the hi-way has been met with a sudden, but totally predictable, reaction of the old way, the downward way, the lo-way, the predictable way because it has been the dominant way for us humans to act.
As the story goes, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was once asked what he would have left to do if civil rights were completely embraced, he replied that sin will always and ever pop-up here and there and his job would be to point to those places and we all know he took a prophetic, costly stand in opposition to the war in Vietnam.
And so, while the forces of fear strike out as they have in this presidential election following eight years of moving along the hi-way, let us trust that those who have seen what can be and the goodness it creates in the hearts of individuals and in our collective heart as a nation will follow the path of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and stand up in non-violent resistance and protest to the old way, the lo-way.
And for the sake of the continuation of that new day forged by the prophets of old and those who have shown us the hi-way, may those affirming human rights continue to embrace as sisters and brothers and may those affirming creation’s rights live in gratitude for God’s gift of nature as brothers and sisters in harmony with Brother Sun and Sister Moon and Mother Earth.