We Are at War

We are always at war, a war of ideas, at least.

This conflict in Ukraine isn’t isolated. It is a recurring symptom of the world we live in. We are paying more attention to it, for a variety of reasons that can be debated. We can complain about why we haven’t cared as much about other peoples in the past, or other conflicts going on right now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about Ukraine. You have to start somewhere. It’s not the first time Putin has done just this, and if we don’t stop him this time, it won’t be the last.

The ideologies behind the conflict in Ukraine, we fight here in the US too. Our previous president became our leader with the help of Putin’s meddling, and cozied up to him, and almost became president again, using the same kinds of tactics Putin uses, subterfuge, misinformation and force. And now he and some of his followers act like they are on Putin’s side, and maybe they are.

So the fight is here too, and it always has been. We, as a nation, are not innocent and have our own sins to answer for. But that doesn’t mean that we are hypocrites. A country is never truly united, nor should it be. We are also citizens of the ideas we support, allied globally with the like-minded, good and bad wherever they are. Russians protest this war. Germans opposed Hitler and were among his first victims.

We should not blame all white Americans for slavery, or the genocide of Native Americans, or Donald Trump. We shouldn’t blame all Israelis for Israel’s wrongs, or all Jews, certainly, without regard for where they live. 

But each of us must decide what side we’re on, and advocate, in some way, for peace, and freedom, and justice everywhere.

If we, as a race (the human race), are to rise to a greatness that often seems contrary to our nature, then we must at least acknowledge that the war (this war, that war) is never over.

The struggle continues

I’d like to believe, as MLK said, that the arc of the universe, though long, bends towards justice.

I’m currently reading An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States’ and it makes me feel like the bad guys win more than the good guys. I am white. I benefit from it. I live on land that was stolen. Blood land. But I don’t see that struggle or any others before or since as white vs people of color. We each choose our side. We decide whether we will fight for, quite simply, good or evil. Those are the teams.

I hope it bends towards justice, all I know is that history repeats itself. But as Vince Lombardi would have said, as long as time hasn’t run out, then our side hasn’t lost.

An old friend of the family, a political activist her whole life, but in NYC asked me about Stacey Abrams chances, here where I live, in Georgia.

I told her that if there weren’t voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would have won the last time. More recently, we elected two democratic senators, but since then the new voter suppression law has passed and this sort of thing has been going on not just in the south but in every swing state, north or south, for decades, and not enough people have taken notice until now. I hope its not too late. So, Stacey’s chances would be good, if the election isn’t stolen which it might be. But she leads that fight, and at the very least she will shine a light on it.

I’ve thought for years that eventually we would overwhelm the suppression with enough votes and by the time we were in charge, Democrats would have a super majority. But it’s now clear that Republicans see the writing on the wall and are willing to do almost anything to maintain power, including a coup. And if they have enough support among the merciless types that have darkened much of this country’s history, it could be violent and it won’t be easy to stop.

So, it is war, I told her. A war of ideas, and hopefully not a real war, but not so different from the challenges every generation faces. If the arc is to bend towards justice, this is one of those times that we have to fight to push it there.

And (I hope), we will.

Nobody Knows Us

I have wanted, my entire life, to be understood. It fueled a desire to express myself, artistically through acting, music, photography, and writing. 

But I was misguided. Because no one can know us. We don’t even know ourselves.

I wanted it so that people would encourage me in the right ways. I thought that if they understood me, they wouldn’t judge me, they would just love me, and help me to be the person that I wanted to be. Why did I think they would do that? And I was so afraid of their judgment I rarely dared to be honest. 

Better to just accept that no one can understand. If someone wants to try, then let them in. But they won’t.

I don’t think that we can begin to understand ourselves until we stop caring what other people think. And we should relieve them of the responsibility for saving us. They have themselves to worry about.