Two weeks ago - an awful week which terminated with the shooting of five law enforcement officers in Dallas - my friend Jason wrote a long, heartfelt post on facebook which concluded with the call for a love rebellion. A revised version of that post is HERE, printed on this blog with his permission.
Jason makes a point that I happen to agree with - change begins at the roots. There is a reason why the term grassroots came into popular use. Those of you who garden know that no matter how healthy a plant is, if its needs are not met at the root level it will not flourish, it will eventually wither and die.
We are faced with a lot of top end problem solving these days, as bursted-blooms on the national level declare that they can solve the problems that fuel our fears - they can lead us to prosperity. And all the leaves surrounding them rustle the echo of top-down solutions. We want to believe them, because living in our increasingly violent, hate-shame-blame filled world is getting unbearable. Somehow our society has turned into Strange Days and we want to shout "No, no, this is not what we wanted! That was supposed to be fiction. Can we get a retake, please!"
This descent is aided by the medias, which reflects the culture of our times as much as they shape it. The news media is generally ready to provide you with the dirt on whomever you don't agree with, so you can not agree with them even more. Social media creates the illusion of public forums for civil discourse that are false, that amplify discord and divisiveness, and propagate the spewing forth of opinions and ideas with a frightening anonymity which holds the individual minimally accountable for their role in the clamor. It is a culture of entitlement where my right to be right, overrides any obligation to be kind and good. The whole rambling mess becomes a committee-of-the-whole in which everyone talks, no one listens, and nothing is resolved except that everyone becomes more entrenched in their established positions.
We have to start by treating the roots. People are angry because they are afraid, they feel threatened. In many cases there are legitimate causes for that. Fingers are pointed, labels are placed and replaced. The hopelessness and frustration can be overwhelming. I know that is how I feel very often.