Troubling times. It is getting ugly out there. Things are being said that we never would have imagined would be said. Ideas are being floated that are outside the main, beyond the pale, whatever you want to call it, and they aren’t being rejected outright. Reason is on the retreat, fleeing blindly from fear and irrationality, from bigotry and hatred, from xenophobia, like some lost hiker crashing through the overgrowth and trying to get away from a terrifying pursuer.
Is this how it happens? A bizarrely twisted confluence of events, words, personalities, that suddenly and shockingly come together at the right (wrong) time in the right (wrong) way, and suddenly we are all going over the cliff. Like the proverbial lemming. Follow the leader. Forget about what is real, thoughtful, sensible, logical, caring, and kind. Release the better angels of your nature. Banish them even. But when you do you must be prepared to live with whatever is leftover.
What to do? Stay the tide. Hold the line. Speak out against the lies and misconceptions that are so easily spoken and all too easily believed. Go back. Remember who we are, what we are, what we stand for, how much that means. Grasp the values that help to make us great. Name those that will make us small. Pay attention, keep informed, do not – do not! – put your head in the sand. This is real, it is serious, and it is seriously dangerous. For all of us.
Maybe it will pass like a troubled dream, soon fading from memory and leaving only the faintest traces of psychic discomfort. But it feels different this time, and that should be acknowledged, not ignored.
These lyrics from the great Bob Dylan’s classic song ‘the Times They are a Changin’ ring true in a new way:
Come gather round people wherever you roam; and admit that the waters around you have grown; and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone; If your time to you is worth saving, then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone; for the times they are a changin’