Last week I spoke at length here about my undying optimism and faith in humanity; humanity answered with a madman and a hail of bullets less than 24 hours later. In Orlando, 50 people lay dead in a pool of their own blood in a nightclub in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, leaving all of us to wonder why. Some are blaming terrorism, others are blaming guns; some think religion is at fault, some think it is lifestyle. Others blame society and the fragility of mental health and our inability to address that epidemic. Some blame God.
I don’t know.
We are living in troubled times, with a pall of uncertainty about us. The American empire falters under the weight of its own partisanship, its own inequality, its own imperial reach. Our leaders are ineffectual in bringing about true cultural or economic change, so we prop up clowns and criminals for our electoral choices. We want change so badly we’ll ignore the pitfalls of demagoguery and allow ourselves to believe in fools. As the evidence mounts that free access to unlimited caches of weapons degrades society ever further, we stock up on more weapons. As evidence mounts that our own lack of understanding and dearth of education slides us ever further off the precipice, we while away our hours on diet fads and junk TV.
As Rome burns we play fiddles.
When I wrote the words I did last week I was not blind to the current state of the union, the current status of the planet, and the loathsomeness inherent in human action. Quite the contrary I pointed out the evil I see in the world every day. I saw it and remained optimistic besides.
These are dark times, make no mistake about it. As we learn to use this rapidly advancing technology we have brought forth upon humanity in so short a time – this global connectivity, these ozone-shattering byproducts, these weapons of mass destruction – we are stumbling from the darkness into a light so blinding we are losing our senses. We are learning to see again, we are learning to hear again, we are learning to feel again. We are learning that blindness is not an option.
As humanity lifts ever further from its ignoble origins we are casting away the lower base of ignorance, and ignorance is fighting back with all its might. It is clasping at the feet of humanity as humanity rises and it will not rest until everyone is equal again in the dark. Our quest is to fend off their clutches below us and continue to climb. Our goal is to find equality in the light.
Our leaders are corrupt. Our enemies are insane. We are all dissatisfied with our lives. This is the rite of passage. This is the time to persevere, to continue to seek enlightenment, to evolve, and to never accept this as “the way it is.”
I remain optimistic. I believe we shall, still, flourish. We will break down borders and we will lift the downtrodden. We will understand that the human condition comes in every color, in every creed, in every sexual orientation, and in the strong and the weak alike. We will come through this fire forged with renewed purpose.
You and I may not see that time but it is coming. This is our time to learn, to let go of the traditions that have caused only division and to hand down to coming generations a spirit of enlightenment and cooperation. A spirit of peace. Of equality. We can be the last martyrs in the bloody evolution of humankind. But we have to keep fighting against the ignorance that kills us, daily, by the dozens and by the thousands.
A lone gunman does not change our heart. He does not steal our spirit. He only steels our resolve.
We must resolve to stay united. We must resolve to make it better. Not for us alone but for everyone, everywhere. The only reason that the few enjoy the gains while the many struggle is because we allow it. The only reason we are divided by the lines that have been drawn by generations past is because we allow it. Don’t allow it. Resolve to be a leader. Resolve to be an example. Resolve to change the world.
I dare you.