I posted this to FB, as I sit at a table on a porch at a state park cabin. All I hear are the sounds of birds and other wildlife going about their morning routine. Woodpeckers making holes, squirrels doing squirrel stuff, alligators rustling around in the marsh grass, all bird calls of the forest. In other words, I’m in a very peaceful places, yet the world outside the gates of the state park seems to have gone mad, or madder than usual, of late. Are we really this close to anarchy so many have been lobbying for, rallying for, for years? I don’t know. But try to find some love. Love for a friend, for family, for your neighbor, for the bookseller or the barista downtown, for the bagger at your grocery, for the man at the gas pump next to you. Ain’t none of us getting out of this life alive.
We’ve been road-trippin’ all week, mostly hopping in and out of state parks. Occasionally, I dip into social media to post something or reply to something, but I’ve stuck mostly to Instagram, the easiest place on the internet to avoid the viral hate, crazy, and virility that online anonymity seems to generate. It’s also the easiest place to avoid finding out every single day who’s been tragically gunned down and for what terrible “reason.”
We’ve spent a lot of time in nature this trip, haven’t turned on a TV. It’s been lovely. All the beauty of the parks seems to bring out the best in people. They’ve been for the most part decent and helpful and kind. Even the rural people in stores and shops have been friendly (almost to the point of creepy if you’re used to everyone scowling all the time) despite the increase in Trump signs everywhere.
And yet, there’s a lot of abandoned buildings in the towns around the parks, near the less-popular beaches, outside the places that have reinvented themselves for the tourist trade. Abandoned places because foreign investors haven’t bought the property, no one’s needed the land, because the town is dying.
Economic instability, environmental instability, can drive a lot of hate through fear. Trump takes that fear and gives it a brown face, an avatar for people to channel their fear through, to blame since punching down feels easier than punching up. The corporations and banks who tanked the economy, collapsed housing, ruined fishing ground with runoff and oil pollution…they’re too big and powerful and abstract (and yes, in many cases, white,) for people to feel as though their anger gets them anywhere. They feel powerless to stop those forces, so they focus on the smaller, the weaker, the “welfare queens” and the field workers who are “taking jobs.” It feels easier to stop a woman with six kids from getting WIC than stop Congress from buying another tank no one in the military wants.
But all that fear, channeled, gains power under pressure like water forced through a hose. And it’s coming out And it’s scary. And it’s attacking innocent people. And it’s placing blame all over, rubbing it on the guilty and the not like a kid with sticky fingers and a penchant for hugging.
If we don’t learn to love each other soon, don’t get our asses into nature and see the beauty of our world, don’t talk to one another without shouting or hate, don’t stop blaming one another and raise our collective voices against those who do real harm against us, I worry we’re destined to explode.