Over the past few days, I have been thinking of a diary around the theme of “undoing the damage” – damage on a world stage, damage to America’s reputation, damage to our collective psyche, damage to, well, pretty much everything I can think of. Some of this is a long term decline, while a lot of it was over the past 7-10 years.
And while, of course, I am not apologetic for bringing another life into my family or this world, I do want to make an apology and a promise up front. Who knows when I’ll be able to share this with him/her, or when it will even be understood. You see, I was lucky to avoid trauma and upheaval in my life until my late 20’s when I had a few very trying years as I watched my (former) marriage and job (and employer) crumble all around the time that 9/11 happened and turned this country on its head.
Yet, I was born in a similar period (1970) where an unpopular war was going on – killing way too many people for specious reasons about a war that would threaten democracy around the world. But it seems here that there are so many other things that have gone on that there isn’t even a semblance of a true national discussion on where we as a country are headed or what our place is on the world stage (as opposed to what some in this country think our place is or should be – which is pure fantasy and not grounded in any reality whatsoever).
My apology is for things that I, as one individual, really can’t take much of the blame for, but certainly they are circumstances where I am bringing a son or daughter into the world without the ability to confidently say that I can leave them a world that is better than the one that I saw or am living in now. As one person, I can only be as proactive as my schedule and habits allow, and there certainly have been decisions and actions that have not made things easier.
But again, this is less of something that I had a direct and material control over, yet – as an American, as a human, I will be asked “why” with respect to so many things. Initially, they will be somewhat innocuous questions but ultimately as he or she grows and realizes (little by little) what is happening – even on a small level – I will probably have to come up with some very uncomfortable answers. These questions may not come until he or she is 6, 8, 12, 15 or 20, but they will come. And to the extent that the answers are unfair or difficult or even something that I couldn’t have done more about, there will be an apology for, if nothing else, the way that certain things are.
Which leads me to my promise.
I do promise to do whatever (little) I can to make the world a bit of a better place – to raise the level of discourse, to fight for what I believe in and the truth, regardless of how difficult it may seem and how much I am up against. To not back down to bullying and to shine a light on and try to change things that are unfair, or not right, or not good for the environment and our health. And to set as good an example as I can to help navigate a complex and, frankly, what has become a more frustrating reality that we now live in.
At this point, there are many things on such a large level that need major addressing – many things that nobody (no, not even Al Gore) could do a damn thing about. Who knows what global warming will lead to. Who knows what the economy will look like. Whether our elections will ever be fairly run again. Whether there will be enough food, clean water or alternative energy sources that will not pollute our food and air. Whether we will be able to afford medical procedures or care if ever needed – certainly not only for them but for us as well.
Those are mainly on the more personal level – things that impact us that I can do as much as I can to help change (other than the election process). There is also the rampant privatization of our government, politicization of the Justice Department and many other governmental agencies that are more concerned with advancing an agenda than being fair and impartial. I’ll need to explain why certain people go to jail while others don’t when they do the same thing. How people keep killing each other and fight wars for reasons that should never be. Why some things can’t be said, or some expressions and views can’t be discussed.
Or, why things that are told to us on TV (or radio) are just not true. Why our President lied to the country and the world. Why people are so angry over things that are pretty trivial and don’t care about really important things. That we live in a time where insults and distractions are why so many people don’t have the ability to get help when they are sick, or when catastrophe hits. Why many things that should be taken care of are ignored due to the national debt, trade imbalances and policies of greed.
It’s a big scary messy world that we live in, and it has been compounded by many policies, actions and inactions over the past decade. Some of this I have had little control over and some I can take more direct action, even on a small scale.
So this is an apology for the things that are not fair, are not right, and are even beyond my reach in terms of being able to do something about – let alone explain why they are the way they are “because they are, even though it is not fair”. An apology for the events and situation in this dangerous world.
And a promise to do whatever I can to make it better, fairer or a little bit more livable than what it is now. Even if it is just a small bit.