“It’s the final countdown…”
The was the song playing when I got bagels this morning. Hard not to smirk. Harder to dismiss in this, the era of American divisiveness.
But we haven’t lost all hope, not yet.
At least that’s what I kept thinking last night as the goddess and I tried to see in the new year with as little mind-numbing entertainment as possible.
It wasn’t easy.
We explored television, which is treacherous going but we found a real gift – the first episode of the new season of Black Mirror called “USS Callister”. This dark and twisting story centered around a Star Trek-like television show and a virtual reality platform called Infinity.
I’ll make every attempt to avoid Spoilers, but Spoiler Warning just in case.)
The characters are almost all misdirecting their gifts, making everything about themselves. This metaphor is played out masterfully with hope only presenting itself after they find reasons to serve the greater good.
Lesson: we fail when we make it all about ourselves.
And like the inability to turn away from a car crash, we did turn on “Rocking New Year’s Eve” in time to see Mariah Carey “perform”.
Here is a woman gifted with an amazing singing voice but she seems so caught up in the “being Mariah” of it all, that she no longer recognizes that her art must be honed with vigilance and shared.
Lesson: We all have gifts and with them come the responsibility to use them to improve the world not just for our own enrichment.
All of this brought me to what awaits us in 2018: more Trump, more Congress, more divisiveness. More accusations. More slanted news. More social media trolls. More shutting out anyone who disagrees with our world view. More divisiveness.
It is possible that already we are no longer a country that can do what the Founding Fathers wanted us to do in service to this great nation.
The Founding Fathers, as imperfect as they were, knew for this republic to prosper, we needed people willing to exchange ideas until we reached consensus. That is how this imperfect nation was supposed to evolve into a more perfect union.
But over the last eight or 12 or 20 or 40 years, we have found ways to devolve instead. Now we only listen to our own parties, only acknowledge similar minds, only work to ensure our side “wins”.
And it is destroying us.
The widening gyre between liberals and democrats and republicans and conservatives, makes it progressively more difficult to honestly call ourselves a more perfect union anymore.
But not all hope is lost, not yet.
If only we learn the main lesson the Ancient One tried to impart to Dr. Strange, and through him to all of us: It is not about you.
There are two things we can do to save ourselves.
Number one, we have to get out of our own self-created bubbles and re-engage with the full spectrum of our grand mosaic, abandoning defensivness for attentiveness, abandoning the fear and hate of divisiveness for the strength of consensus.
The second thing is a result of the first: we need to start talking to each other. We need to get out of our isolated bubbles, acknowledge that there’s differences and exchange ideas,working for the true greater good. Neither side wins when we tear each other down.
Without these steps we are truly creating a nightmare America.
So, let’s talk.