When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.
–Pearl S. Buck
I am Tired this morning. Really tired.
It’s a feeling of exhaustion that feels physical at the moment, most likely from having a few nights in a row of not enough sleep along with days with not enough physical activity due to circumstances beyond my control. But I know that part of this fatigue is emotional and anxiety based.
It’s an exhaustion I am sure many of us here in the US are suffering from at this point in time. We see an unraveling of what we believe is our national identity. We once saw our nation as being a welcoming and generous land that was strengthened by the diversity and energy of those who aspired to become citizens of this country. Our history is filled with the great accomplishments of those who were forced to flee their homelands and come to this land.
This was a country that stood against tyranny and oppression. We fought and died in wars against these evils. We united with other like minded nations to stand as a monolith against the dark actions of the evils perpetrated by despots.
The inalienable rights of all humans were part of who we were.
Right was our might. The beacon that Lady Liberty holds high in NY Harbor Held real meaning to the rest of the world. Our Ideal was the world’s ideal and this country was a light of hope in an often dark world.
It is easy to argue that we didn’t always live up to the ideal image that we held. We often fell short. But so long as we maintained that ideal as a beacon to guide us, to move us somehow forward, we felt assured that goodness would somehow prevail.
But it seems to me, as I believe it does to many others, that this ideal is crumbling before our eyes.
Our might is no longer right.
We have replaced our generosity with a meanness of spirit that turns a blind eye to the suffering of the most vulnerable among us. Instead of fighting tyrants and despots, we now attack our most loyal allies while embracing our longtime adversaries, praising them, defending them and ever more employing their tactics to control our own people.
The use of misinformation, outright lies, fear and intimidation is on the rise. There is evidence of corruption that is on an epic scale. Regulations and rules meant to protect the majority of us have been stripped away to benefit the wealthiest, who have seemingly purchased outright control of our government.
The ideal that we once held seems like a distant memory. And that is exactly what is will be if we do not exercise the only power remaining with us, the power to vote. And even that is under assault.
Like I said, all of this makes me tired, makes me want to tune out and not pay attention. I hear this all the time from a lot of different people. And if you’re okay with a world without us maintaining that ideal image we once held, I guess that’s okay. But be warned that this a slippery slope and we are already losing our balance. What seems like a small thing today quickly becomes something consequential when you knock down the barriers that once hold them in check.
And when these now small things become bigger and more terrible in their scope, what will you say you did to stop it when there was still a chance? Will you say you were so tired of it all and opted to look the other way? That’s been done before. Take a look at the films of people who lived in Nazi-ruled countries, folks who lived near Death Camps and claimed they had no idea what was going on. It’s an ugly thing to behold.
Inaction and willful ignorance are enablers of all things evil.
So, I’m tired. You’re tired. We’re all tired.
Well, that’s too bad because unless we stay awake, stay involved and do all that we can do, that ideal we once held is doomed. Lady Liberty might as well be replaced by a statue of the current president holding both arms high above his head. Instead of holding a beacon of freedom, he will be giving us all the finger- one hand outward towards the rest of the world and the other inward towards us, the American people.
Believe me when I say I don’t want to write this. I’m an artist. I would rather write about art or movies or music or literature. Anything else. But I feel compelled to do what little I can to keep folks awake and involved.
Myself, included. So, please, wake up. Don’t tune out now. Don’t give in to fatigue.
There is still hope.