We Have Met The Enemy, and They Are in Our Bathroom Mirror
Post date: Sep 12, 2019 2:14:44 AM
I have been living in Missouri for about 4 years now, and it's very different from San Diego-even more so than Petaluma. Most people when they find out where I am from ask me about why I moved, and what I'm still doing here. Then comes the weather conversation, how nice it is in SD and how shitty it is here in MO. Most of the time, we end up laughing about how I was conn-I mean convinced to move here by my wife. Although the weather is vastly different, it's not the largest separation between the two locations. Despite the fact San Diego is more conservative-leaning than a lot of California, it's not even close to just about anywhere in Missouri (outside of urban areas). Looking at the TV commercials, the signs along the road, the bumper stickers, the hats, the just about anything, you can feel the difference. Things have a different context here in Missouri, one I am not so sure is the best thing for everyone here.
When I speak to people who lean 'conservative' about why they have the beliefs they have about free-will, government, regulation, and whatnot I get a lot of different answers. Though they have one overall tone; freedom and self-reliance. Some people I speak with will talk about how their ancestors did it the right way, or the hard way, and had no help from anyone...much less the government. They want it to go back that way, to the way the founding fathers wanted it to be! As much as it makes me want to scream, I usually hold myself back. Everyone here today is here because of and uses all of the advancements, improvements, and hard work of everyone who came before them. If you look at the world, there is nobody here in our American Society today who doesn't benefit from ALL of the inventions of people who came before them. And every person who is their ancestor profited from people who were alive before them, not to mention ones that were alive right alongside them. There is not one person here in America today who didn't benefit from having other people around them when they came here. The whole romantic narrative about one man or woman making their way with nothing, and no one else is mostly just willful self-deception. It's funny to see how most of the people who decry freedom are ones who don't have to work very hard anymore to achieve it. I find mostly they are the ones trying to protect and defend past successes. Unfortunately, that's not the way society works; and we are all part of a society. The narrative of hard work, suffering, and sacrifice is one that in most cases is true. Typically, immigrants who arrive here have it way worse than people who are already here. That's where the romanticism needs to end. Once people are here, they find family, or make friends, or even just acquaintances who they help and help them. One of my favorite line is "I'm the government, and I'm here to help you". This is used over and over again by people who are conservative as a pejorative comment about how it's a lie. The government IS here to help you, the thing missing is they are here to help everyone else too. It's only through looking at the needs of a society as a whole can we see the real need for a government to oversee everything. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people is the way that works. When we forget we are part of a greater something and we can't keep it to ourselves is when we can ALL BE GREAT. Trying to horde our piece of America is not going to work, it was never ours to begin with. America is an idea, it's not a place or a thing. It can't be given to some and not to others, America is by its very essence WE THE PEOPLE-and WE means everyone if we want to keep it alive.
Right now in this country people are trying to hold on so tight to their America they strangle it like the cartoon character with a fluffy cat. Our country was founded on ideals, ones that kept us safe from the tyranny of an absentee elite. It's difficult to now look in the mirror and see ourselves as that elite, hoarding away every piece of America for ourselves. The desire for smaller government and more personal freedoms needs to be balanced against what freedoms everyone in our society are due. I say you are an 'elite' when you are able to ignore a 12 year difference in life expectancy between zip codes only a few miles apart here in St. Louis. That's right, a few miles can mean the difference between how long you are able to exist as a human on this planet. And, the condition enabling this horrific fact is completely avoidable. This discrepancy is not between countries, continents, or oceans; it's LESS than 10 miles. If you think you did something more right, or deserve more than someone because you happened to be born 10 miles away from them, there is something wrong with you. Personal freedoms run rampant cause the tyranny of small actions to come in to effect. When something chosen for few or even one person looks great, on a larger scale it is destroying the collective. Your right to carry whatever gun you wish infringes on my right to not get shot by a fucking lunatic. There is a balance and the scale needs to to be closer to neutral-now it is not. When the drive for what is good to the individual is pursued without regard to the rest of us, we end up costing all the people too much. The conservative coalition cannot be unwilling to accept a degree of accountability for other humans on the planet we all share. I am sick to death of hearing about how the 'American Ideals' are being forgotten. I completely disagree with you when you say you want to go back when America was great. I do agree with you America is not very great right now, though for very different reasons. Please stop saying who can and can't participate in the idea of the United States, it doesn't belong to you any more than it belongs to me. Attempting to constrict who gets freedoms will make you a slave to that effort. There is no finite amount of the United States available to only a privileged selection of people. Fear mongers will convince you the opposite is true so they hold on to power.
There is no need to scrap all of the self-reliance and grit talk, it can serve us all very well. Understand, even in the old west there is no Lone Ranger without his Tonto (and they both had horses, who didn't sew their clothes for them). We must once again take the perspective we are better together than separate; giving up blame. If we adopt the view of us as a collective and are consciously inclusive regarding our benefit as a society, we can begin to design how to work together. Only when we care more about belonging instead of amassing, can we make it out of this hole. Moving here to Missouri from California, I discovered how overwhelming the need is to define who's responsible for society forgetting about the middle of the country. I am beginning to comprehend how wronged and misunderstood people feel here. It causes a giant divide between us, all of us are responsible for. No one has made the needed effort to see things from another perspective, and it's costing more and more every day.
Right now, there are few who control much, and use it against many. We, all of the people, must work together for the benefit of each of us. It won't be easy for most, downright intolerable for some, and it still needs to happen. The good of the whole is our North Star. What we call success must be more evenly distributed. Success must be more generally attainable, success must be thought of as a universal concept instead of a singular one. Success is by its definition a geometrically increasing idea, not a finite resource. Success is like America itself, more is generated when you spread it around than if you limit its disbursement. Only by looking past the easy answer provided to us from those currently in power can we arrive where we all prosper.
It's at real. Hard. Truth.
We have met the enemy, and they are in our bathroom mirror.