Involve, Not Devolve

We just escaped October, National Depression Month, or did we? Daily we see more and more people complaining about their dissatisfaction with what’s swirling about them politically, socially, corporately and religiously. There are plaintive cries to advice columnists and letters to the editor reflecting a clear and present disgruntlement with the society in which we live. For some, it appears as anger borne out of frustration and fear. People are disgusted and dismayed with their own species’ inhumanity to each other and to animals.

November and December can be the saddest months, as some recall happier holiday times with those friends and family no longer with them. It is often a time for suicide, using the easiest and quickest means, nowadays a gun. I was watching cartoons with a seven year old recently and realized that all the characters looked angry. The mouth could be smiling, but the eyes flashed warily. What’s up with that?

For the last few years Angry Birds has been a phenomenon; belligerent fowl adorning hats, blankets, drinking glasses. Of course, there’s always a justification for anger; just ask those feathered furies, they’re entitled! An entire generation of kids has enjoyed their revenge, pounding away on Pigs. Even little Lego people’s eyes are slanted in meanness with downturned mouths beneath. Believe me; I had a hard time finding a happy one for my three-year-old grandson. Dolls have become monstrous, wearing spooky fangs and angry expressions, sporting horns and other animal appendages. Are they showing us we have more in common with primitive creatures than we believe, or are they providing a chance for kids to empower themselves and briefly dominate over a world spinning out of control? Social bullying has become the activity of the day, and although back in the '80s we thought TV shows, movies and video games had become too violent, today’s offerings make the previous ones look like kindergarten fare.

The power brokers, politicians and People in Charge are crass, dictatorial and uncouth. The loudest and brashest wins, and winning is said to be the Most Important Thing. What of the Wisdom of Solomon: Will they tear the child limb from limb, killing it in destruction out of selfishness, or can anger take a back seat to humility and care for the greater good? The reasonable, thoughtful and diplomatic are considered weak and are disparaged. Many of the religious right are angry and violent in their sometimes misguided passions of worshiping the flag and country over their own professed god, who did, after all, espouse turning the other cheek. Consider WWJD, guys.

What have we done to ourselves in this topsyturvy world? The Amish, who as humans have their problems, still seem to experience more life satisfaction as a whole, as do people many in other countries who live a less violent, socially respectful life, elevating and honoring all members.

So, what can we do as we approach yet another holiday season? Bloom where we’re planted. Stop lusting for domination, money and power, aim for caring and respect in our own communities, families and schools. Let’s vote to put caps on liability suits like the Brits, let’s work to limit guns in our society. Let’s reward and elevate civility and manners again. Let’s raise the bar. That’s what draining the swamp should be about. Hunters could change family tradition and experience the world of nature, stalking a deer without actually killing it. Take a picture, it’ll last longer, or shoot clay pigeons or play video games instead. The world has changed; as a species we are, hopefully, evolving in a good way. We can all choose to be part of the problem or the solution. We can take money off the table in politics and lobbying; vote to have outside groups make decisions on congressional benefits and salary. We can turn off our devices and converse face to face. Let’s solve and involve, not devolve. If we don’t listen and think rationally, how can we teach our children?

This Thanksgiving we can be grateful for the good, selfless folks we know all around us, working to keep calm in our crazy world. We can smile at and not fear those who may seem a little different than ourselves and strive to seek commonality with them. Confidence in the truth is all the empowerment we need; a life justified by fear is a life of anger. Maybe if we do this, we can watch a bit of television without a cordial voice broadcasting (actual real life quote), “The weather this morning is brought to you by American Assassin.”