The Broad Sweep of Lost Choices: 5 Ways We Fail Ourselves
Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 11:23:30 AM EDT
|Humans look for easy answers, something outside of themselves to blame. A goat on which to cast into the wilderness carrying the burdens of our sins, pulling vague references to old daemons that once haunted our collective psyches. In this, which could have been an age of reason, we see a resurgence of such superstition. We look to the skies and imagine evil chemtrails attacking us, rather than see the epic amounts of carbon dumped into the atmosphere by the passing jets. Planet X will steal our atmosphere, rather than tar sand extractions, oil spills, melting sea ice and methane. We blame individual politicians offered up to us to loathe, rather than the structure of a system that actively works against our common interests.Not everyone on the planet has the wherewithal nor the nature to be researchers. Yet, it seems that we have began to cling to easy answers rather than even rudimentary facts.In 1976, along with my 6th grade classmates, I helped to bury a time capsule telling future 6th grade students what life was like in that year, and our hopes for them when they opened it. Each grade had a contest for that entry, my poem won. We were so very certain, then, that Vietnam would be our last war. That cancer would be cured, blindness and deafness too. That hunger would be eliminated by good practices of crop rotation and building wells, and not using things like DDT that killed our birds. That solar power would save the Earth. That we would have batteries that lasted forever and hover-cars that ran on water and emitted harmless steam. We thought that science would save us, and that cable TV would mean that education would be endlessly at our fingertips, a chance for the entire world to get to know, learn from, and love one another.
We were not naive. All that potential was there. We just took the polar opposite course.
What happened was not “inevitable” it was our failing.
|Diane Gee :: The Broad Sweep of Lost Choices: 5 Ways We Fail Ourselves|
|Of course, it is a rare person that will look in the mirror and say, “I let this happen. How did I let this happen?”By 1976, our young selves had already seen the Kennedy’s, Martin and Malcolm killed. Watergate had already tainted the credibility of trust in our leaders. We never fully believed the American dream like our disillusioned elders who made the 60′s a generation of change. But? We saw that working together, Civil Rights could be won, racism overcome… rights for women, rights for the poor, union strong and living wages demanded.We trusted Power not, and ourselves vastly.
How did we come to a world, where that lack of trust was manipulated so brilliantly – worse – unquestioningly, into what we have now? Class warfare, a police state and a planet in what amounts to the death throes of human existence.
Class Warfare: ”Unions killed business, they got corrupt.” Jimmy Hoffa. Fear! Bad! Gangster movies and threats of closing shop and we stopped standing as one. No business ever closed by paying a fair wage. It closed because if they wanted record profits, they moved it to where they could pay slave wages, and still expect you to pay Union prices for their products. We fell for it, rather than stand together and insist that all workers be paid well everywhere in the world, making their threat of leaving moot. We fell for it, rather than insist on legislation making offshoring illegal. Non-union people became resentful of unions, calling them spoiled and overpaid, rather than organizing their own labour and raising themselves up, took joy in dragging others down. Of all the things we should have done, we picked the worst possible. We did nothing. This was not inevitable.
Rather than fight that fight again? People look for the Illuminati in everything, rather than their own failure in seizing their power. It “must” be some omnipotent group we cannot possibly fight, right? Superstition, rather than action.
Environment: Silent Spring never came, and the eagles started returning after PCB’s and DDT were eliminated. Somewhere along the line? We quit asking. Rather than see our ecosystem as the life support system of ourselves, and all our children to follow, we made jokes about tree-huggers and spotted owls. The EPA was weakened, and petro-chemical lobbyists wrote legislation on that which was permissible to subject us. We stopped looking when big business think tanks hired scientists to create studies that said their toxins were fine. Now we have Monsanto running the FDA.
Rather burn GMO crops and seize the Gulf en-mass when a foreign company barred us from even seeing the damage by the Deepwater Horizon, we stood back, and let them spray the exponentially more toxic Corexit to hide it. ”We can’t fight Blackwater, and they have the money for lawyers, we do not”, we said to ourselves. They are fracking in our backyards and we can light our faucet water.
Rather than fight the fight to demand clean power, we changed channels and thought, we cannot live without the luxuries petro provides. And went out and sprayed our sidewalk cracks with Roundup. Too big to fight, like some monster we must allow to wreak havoc, that we were powerless to harness. Our failure.
Medicine: Most of the civilized world has universal health care, or single payer of a sort. Somehow, we let our 73% approval to turn to that system into a forced purchase of private, for-profit healthcare. We were baited with “lower prices” for the poor who could not afford coverage prior, like this is some sort of blessing over totally free health care. Treating illnesses is far more profitable than curing them, hence the ever-present onslaught of pharma ads on TV, convincing us of the need to medicate ourselves for everything real or imagined.
This, inevitably has cause us mistrust of the Medical community. Rather than demand free heath care, taking the profit margin as motivation angle out of the loop? People either bought into the idea of paying as being inevitable – or worse – started to reject medical science all together. We now have legions of people following the psuedo-science quacks advising not to allow Polio vaccines to children and telling people they can cure their severe peanut allergy by holding a vial of peanuts in their hand and having someone roll kinetic energies up and down their back. We have websites pretending to be Doctors telling people that walnut oil will cure diabetes, if only you buy their special blend, or that their herbal essences will make you able to skinwalk in animals.
Rather than use our amazing technology to study and integrate natural medicine uses from the world over into true scientific study? We have reverted to revering carnival snake oil salesmen or over-medicating ourselves with western medicine.
Again, scape goat, or finding ourselves in an “inevitable” position that removes our power to demand that our money be spent collectively to cure disease and dispense those cures for free. We failed ourselves, and rather than face it, prefer charlatans to the reality that we could be much healthier if we demanded sanity in medicine.
Religion: The most controversial of all, in the years between burying that capsule (at a Catholic School, no less) is that humans have turned away from personal responsibility and are now looking to the skies wanting a deity to fix it all for them. In 1976 we were taught about evolution. We did not buy into young Earth fallacy, and understood that even in the faith I once held dear, that parable, prose, metaphor and other writing styles made the message true, but not words to be taken literally. Read more…