Avert your eyes and cover your ears. A nose-clip, or essential oil diffuser, might be in order as well. Turn the channel away from the din of political dishonor. Swipe left. Refocus your efforts on yourself, your loved ones, on friends, on family, and on community. The charlatans who pledge their allegiance to our best interests no longer deserve our attention. They have failed us and embarrassed their grandchildren. In an effort to have things both ways, Mitch McConnell has turned himself inside out so many times what is left is a sack of mottled death-pallor skin inflated by putrid bloat. Shame is his pathetic legacy.
Meanwhile, Team Joe are working their butts off to reverse our national descent into the abyss while the SARS CoV-2 mutates to save itself from our many interventions. Spring, come soon. For our part, we must ignore the shiny distractions members of Congress jangle before the lenses of their media enablers to loosen our wallets in their favor. Our resources don’t need to go to Washington DC in hopes they may someday return to serve us; they need to be directly applied at home. I implore once again: building stronghold communities is our path to a better future. (See chapter 8 in Saving America in the Age of Deceit.)
There are glimpses of brilliance on the horizon. A certain byproduct of crisis is innovation. Forced to think differently and enabled by norm-crashing consequences, new powers based in new beauty are revealed. New technologies are an obvious place of innovation. As David Brooks pointed out in The New York Times recently, “life altering breakthroughs … are fewer than they once were,” which is to say: it is now time for many more. The half-full glass mindset suggests the current massive public health, economic, and political crises we face will, paradoxically, create the necessary space for an acceleration of opportunity to redesign our world.
Coronavirus vaccines have broken all the legacy rules of vaccine development and distribution. As clumsy as we appear today in our attempt to conquer Covid-19, tomorrow we may have a one-shot coronavirus vaccine that will knock out a spectrum of deadly viruses and maybe even the common cold. In energy, everything from harnessing deep-earth heat to brand new safe, small, and efficient nuclear reactors may assure that efforts in renewables—well underway already—have complementary sources of clean energy to assure our lifestyle, health and safety for generations to come while breathing new life into the planet. As Brooks surmised, “one could go on: artificial intelligence; space exploration seems to be heating up; a variety of anti-aging technologies are being pursued; … an anti-obesity drug. There is even lab-grown meat.”
Our souls must, however, be cleansed as well. The folks in lab coats can give us new tools, but we need to reboot our hearts and minds. For example, the hyper-individualism my generation bestowed upon America that was amplified to levels of selfie-based narcissism by our children, must be set aside for new regimes of collective action that utilize the efficiencies of capitalism as a means rather than an end. The world has become an interconnected and highly dependent field of energy that transcends borders, walls, language, and currencies while honoring the beauty of cultural heritage. Honesty and respect must replace fear and greed as differentiators to affect persuasion. The butterfly effect is real. What was once seen as chaos will be recognized as rational fluidity once enlightenment is realized. (It only appears chaotic when we don’t understand what is going on.)
Achieving this is the Holy Grail of a thousand years. It can only happen if we start with ourselves and our communities. This is a bottom-up process. One person, one soul at a time. A virtue-based life has been recognized by philosophers for thousands of years as the key to transcendence and tranquility; as the pathway to harmony with Nature, writ large. The opportunity today has been established by a lack of choice born from crisis. We may feel pinned down in the moment, but there is a better way coming into view.
Unclench your fists. Turn your screams into song. Avert your eyes but don’t close them. Beyond suffering lies the prospect of transformation. Perhaps even a second age of enlightenment. It won’t be easy; it will be damn hard. Many among us won’t get there, but those of us who do may just change the whole world. Tune out, take a huge breath, then tune in, again.