President Trump of the United States kicked off his 2020 campaign last week, pouring fuel on the flames of fear, mistrust and anger to reignite the hurting and fevered base that would assure his re-election. During the same week, more environmental regulations were rolled back in the face of the science that overwhelmingly points to a warming planet, with disastrous consequences for not just humans, but all life.
In another cynical gesture, Guatemala, among the poorest of countries in the hemisphere, with leadership grounded in corruption and abuse of its people, was forcibly named by the United States as the designated refuge of asylum for migrants fleeing gang or narco-violence and drought in Central America, particularly those from the neighboring countries of Honduras and El Salvador. This comes as the number of people fleeing Guatemala, for the very same reasons, is at its own peak level.
Wall Street waits on the sidelines, up a little today, down a little tomorrow, fluttering anxiously on the tails of the latest presidential Tweet. It is stunning to consider that the markets of the most sophisticated economy in human history rise and fall with so little rationality.
And someone somewhere thinks that yet another manufactured war in the Middle East will line enough pockets to make it worth the lives of countless unarmed citizens on another side of the globe and a few thousand dead or traumatized soldiers of our own.
We seem the epicenter of a newly unleashed global permission to hate.
But hatred is a thin veil for the underlying reality. As wealth becomes increasingly concentrated at the top, the masses turn to misguided anger. It is always easiest to hate someone who poses no threat beyond being somehow different. And the devil in power loves the opportunity to fan the flames in a sleight of hand to mask its ballooning greed.
We can delude ourselves with the religion of false morality. We can vent our frustration in political mudslinging. We can beam our positive energy out to the universe. If we don’t change our ways, “well it’s a hard, hard, hard, hard, it’s a hard rain gonna fall.” (Bob Dylan)
We don’t need a nasty god to judge us. We are doing a fine job of creating our horizon of hell.
Wealth is not the issue here, nor is power, though the mad grab for both is symptomatic. Human hearts that misunderstand their connection to creation, their responsibility to compassion and beauty; shrunken hearts deluded in belief that they are the majestic pinnacle in the unimaginable scope of all that is; hollow hearts certain that money can buy happiness, eternal life and the exit from all misfortune — these furiously pave the way to our collective demise. So many comfortable people, trailing just behind in the bell curve, would rather not know, turning a blind eye. The newly poor flare with misplaced anger. The truly downtrodden migrate in desperation for the next scrap of bread.
Dylan’s blue-eyed boy knows nothing of hard rain. Rather, it is the global masses in the path of rabid extortion and extraction, fleeing violence and hunger, the hidden but real costs of the low prices paid by the white north for food, clothing, energy, transportation and daily security. These, the most with the least, are the ones who know the storm. Their desperate lives are nothing but.
The headlong greed of the top and the complacency of the shrinking class we call middle (screaming rich compared to the displaced and suffering masses), have now traversed a height of slim escape, speeding blindly along a precipitous and razor thin ridge. The depletion of the earth’s resources, the warming of the atmosphere, the increasing likelihood of massive system failures, the insane stockpiling of sophisticated nuclear weaponry, these loom large and imminent on a rapidly approaching horizon. Yet money-madness and lazy comfort hold pedal to the metal, throwing up their flat screen charades, a vomitous spew of digitized misinformation, fooling themselves that all is well. America is now great again.
We have taken so much more than enough. Yet seeing only the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we sap and burn the Tree of Life, sucking up even the water that feeds its roots in our insatiable appetite for the things that were never real. America, America, it’s a hard, hard rain that’s going to fall.
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