Monday, December 28, 2015

2015: the year I abandoned all hope

2015 will go down as a landmark year for me.  2015 was, I believe, the year in which I abandoned all hope of seeing a better world someday.  What an empty dream; what a false hope.  That ended sometime this year.  And I'm all the happier for it.

It is quite absurd for any reasoning mature adult to believe that there will be an end to the series of wars that the United States has led the world into.  These wars were, from the very start, intended to last forever; and they will.  There will always be new (and, often, imaginary) "imminent threats" to counter; new enemies among us and massed along the US border, waiting to invade.  That is the frightening world that is intended to become normal; accepted by everyone as inevitable and immutable.

I was an utter fool to ever believe that time and truth would change anything.

Focused on an impossible goal, it was hard for me to see anything but failure in the attempts to achieve that goal.  Yet, there are successes all around me; triumphs of courage and spirit; all based on the values that guided the most difficult decisions I've made in my own life.  I believe these are the successes of people who have refused to yield to the temptations of the propagandists, those authoritarians who promise security from our enemies (and who identify those enemies for us).

Nowhere else in this world do I see people rising above the hatred born of fear, and of self-doubt and insecurity, like right here in Canada.

Last night, in an interview aired by CTV News, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to the politics of fear and of division that he believes Canadians elected him to abolish (at least as official government policies).  He said:

You cannot pretend to be a free and open country and say that you're going to discriminate against people based on their religion. I think the Americans are starting to ask themselves questions about what kind of country they are and who they want to be.
The question he was asked, and Prime Minister Trudeau's full response:

That's hope; that's optimism for the future, but it's not a declaration that Canada will attempt to stop America's foreign wars of intervention; it is a call, rather, not to change the world, but to change Canada.  To change who we are.  To change what we can.  To resist becoming what we deplore.  And in that comes triumph; victory. Avoid being changed by the haters, those who thrive on violence and chaos.  Don't bring it here; we don't want it.

There have been extremely encouraging changes in the world; many in the United States; many among Americans.

First and most importantly of all, there are serious cracks appearing in Americans' wall of ultra-nationalism.  The cult of soldier worship remains strong, of course, but at home, the worship of police, the agents of state power and control, is seriously eroding.

Americans are realizing that daily police shootings of unarmed citizens is a reality that has only recently been brought to public attention; largely through the ubiquity of cell phones, which permit anyone with the presence of mind to capture these incidents on video and make them public.  These things happen, every day, but in most cases they are buried, concealed, covered-up.  People know this, now.

I tried to explain America's gun culture to Canadians, who are absolutely baffled by it ... and the fear and insecurity it evidences.  Canadians simply don't understand the mindset of those who live in a continuous state of fear in their own homes, communities, and streets.  That's just not Canadian.

Americans remain an ultra-nationalistic people who continue to view America's over-militarized police forces as "protectors," but that is changing.   And, in my opinion, that change is one of the most important of the last year.  The power of the state, to control lives because they control the media and every aspect of the economy, is eroding.

I'm not saying there's hope for an end to the wars abroad, or the state of fear at home that causes people to relinquish every freedom; every principle, for the empty promises of safety ... I'm just saying that despite that, there are people, in growing numbers, who simply refuse to become part of it.  And I plan to keep my eyes focused on those people; after all, I am surrounded by them.