My Country Has Cancer

I feel very explosive right now.  There are a hundred things itching at me at once.  My mom wants everything in the kitchen to be dealt with immediately, she is on me constantly to use everything up right now, to decide what I’ll do with things the minute they come in the door, and if I don’t deal with things right away she starts making other plans for them.  So I have a bunch of things in the kitchen that are irritating her but I need time to make decisions about them.  I need time to PLAY.  I don’t move fast enough for her.  I never have.  I plod.  I take one thing at a time.  This is why I suck at parenting.  I have to work right now so I can’t be in the kitchen playing with the green tomatoes I picked yesterday and started to experiment with.  Max is home, though, so he needs food, then more food, then clothes, then water, then my attention, then something else.  My dog, at the very same time, has been staring at me for her food an hour before it’s time.  She follows me up and down the stairs every time I get food for Max and whines and looks at me like an animal that hasn’t eaten in days.  But all this is going on while the documents I’m working on for my paid job are going at a snail’s pace.  I have to pay attention to them so I don’t mess them up for everyone else who uses them.  They wouldn’t let me copy and paste what I needed to, Max is asking for food again and I totally snapped.  I’m ready to snap at everyone.

So I decided to take a little break from all of that to purge it into my blog.  I meant to write yesterday.  I have a lot on my mind I want to share.  But today it’s all politics.  I can’t stop thinking about how the rising emotional temperature of our country is becoming flammable.  Why do so few people get that?  And by people, I mean the politicians and the law makers and the rich people and the news organizations who keep patting “the little people” on the back condescendingly for getting riled up enough to march.  I ran into a friend yesterday who commented that it doesn’t seem ridiculous to him to imagine our country having a second civil war.  I think it’s certainly telling that I, who am not quick to predict extremes, can also imagine civil war in this country.  Everything is so divisive.  There’s so little middle ground.  Which is, I think, absolutely reflected by the ever shrinking middle class.  I think Obama was trying to moderate between extremes and he’s failed because our system is broken.  It’s like trying to drive a car with no wheels.  I hear people accusing him of fascism and all manner of evil things.  Really, the man stands in the middle of a country that cannot be pleased.  No president, at this point in time, will have the power to fix what is wrong with our country and bring us all back together.  Why?  Because we are already completely divided.  I imagine many people still see themselves as being moderate, of being in the middle, but I think those people are hanging their coats on ghost hooks.

Can you imagine a civil war where there is no easy boundary to stand behind?  It isn’t state against state.  It isn’t as easy to map as the north and the south.  Ideological enemies live next door to each other all across the country.  There are no state lines to draw.  How bloody, interminable, and devastating would a civil war be if it’s neighbor against neighbor all across the country?

Our country has cancer and the cancer is eating us from the inside out.

The cause of that cancer is greed.  Greed for money.  Greed for power.  Greed for fuel.  Greed for revenge.  Greed for whatever we haven’t got.  Greed for resources.  Greed for babies.  Greed for territory.  Greed for square feet.  Greed for youth.  Greed for trophies.  Greed for luxury.  Greed for convenience.

I used to want to leave this country because it doesn’t represent my ideals and never has.  Then I had an amazing U.S. history teacher who made me rethink my feelings, who gave me hope for my own country and I thought I’d go ahead and see things out.  A few short months after that class ended, George Bush was elected into office.  I have struggled so hard to maintain this sense of hope for my country that my teacher lit in me.  Finally, when Obama was elected, I had a glimpse of what could be.  I thought maybe a great moment had come upon us at last.  But all the corruption already in place, all the machinations of Bush’s terms made progress impossible.  I knew it in my gut that would be so.

I don’t want to take part in a civil war.  I don’t want to take part in corruption and greed.  I don’t want to take part in a “free market”.  I don’t want any part of a country that can’t keep religion out of politics.  I don’t want to be part of a country whose response to evil is to become the biggest evil.  I don’t want to be part of a country whose response to everything is blood and money.  Whose reactions to everything are based on blood and money.

As I’ve said many times, if I could emigrate out of this country, I would.  I can’t even afford to emigrate out of my own county.  So if I can’t leave, what can I do about anything?  How can I be part of change I want to see?  I know that this country will never change into one that I can love because we are so entrenched in capitalism that we’ll just keep trying to patch it up.  Capitalism is the cancer in this country.  Like all political systems, it is flawed.  No amount of change is going to make America less prone to greed and evil.  So in my heart I know that I can either try to leave or simply be the constant dissident.

That sounds so dire.  Maybe it is.  But as I think about this I continue to think about the concept of “as above, so below” , the only thing I really got out of reading the Kabbalah years ago.  If the whole country is cancerous, then so are all its individuals.  The human body is made up of millions of cells and when the cells are sick, the body becomes sick.  If the body is sick then so are many of its cells.  The parts reflect the whole and the whole reflects the parts.

I can’t control anyone but myself.  My sphere of influence is very small.  I have myself to look to.  So I think I must tend to the health of my spirit.  I must work constantly to spot the good in my neighbors and in my adversaries.  In fact, I must work hard not to see adversaries as much as I see people at different stages of personal evolution.  I may be ahead of some people, evolutionarily speaking, but I am always going to be behind others.  I must continue to grow things in my garden because the earth needs more green, more food, more food for the insects and birds and animals outside of humans.  Feeding my family food that isn’t full of poison must be a continuing goal.  Even my son who doesn’t like any produce.  Insisting on the natural choices of crackers instead of the ones with unhealthy additives.  What we feed our bodies also feeds our spirits and what we feed our spirits will feed our growth.  What feeds our growth will feed how we interact with others.  Everything is connected.

As for activism?  I believe in peaceful marches and protests and though there isn’t a lot here in my little town, there may be a march against GMOs here.  If I join I may be marching with people I am politically opposed to.  But isn’t this how we bridge chasms?  By being willing to join up on things we can agree on?  I can do that.

The friend I ran into has been going through a tough time.  As I always do with people I care about who are hurting either physically or emotionally or spiritually – I want to DO something.  I’m often at a loss for what I can do.  So I asked “Is there anything I can do to help?” and he said “Just having someone listen to what’s on my mind is helping.”

That struck a chord in me.  That’s why I write.  That’s why I talk even when what I have to say makes others uncomfortable – because I need people to hear me, to listen.  Sometimes I need people to listen without arguing or debating or getting annoyed or fearful.  I think everyone needs that.  So I came home thinking about being a good listener.  I’m not a bad listener, but I think I have a lot of room for improvement.

There are some other thoughts I have but they are percolating still.

I am desperately hungry as it’s now 1:30pm and I haven’t yet eaten anything today.  I started work and then took this break to get some of these thoughts out of my head.  I feel a little calmer.  I feel more focused.  Now it’s time to eat.


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