Archive for September 13th, 2012

September 13, 2012

Crazy World, Don’t You Know That I Love You

Protests at the US Embassy in Egypt escalate due to a video disgracing the Prophet Muhammed.

There’s a lot going on this week in the world. Media outlets are buzzing, cameras rolling, tweets twittering.

Violent protests at the US Embassies in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya that started on September 11th. Buzz Aldrin and Eugene Cernan speaking at Neil Armstrong’s memorial service. South African clamping down on miner’s strike. Nude photos of dear Kate Middleton published in a French magazine. A new species of monkey found in the Congo. Chicago Teacher Union protesting instead of teaching. What’s a girl to do?

And more specifically, how do we make a difference when it feels like the world is falling apart over our heads?

Should we focus on the US presence in the Middle East, and the rising concern of dangerous radicalism? Or perhaps the dismantling of NASA or the issue of funding in the American scientific community? Or should we concentrate on protecting our environmental assets in the biodiverse areas like the Congo? Or, in a subject closer to home, education’s place in breaking of the cycle-of-poverty?

I turn to WB Yeats in times like these. Poor Yeats was certain that the world could not get worse.

Let’s take a peek:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

[For the rest of the poem, you can find it here]

Sounds like something that Glenn Beck would say. To Yeats, it seemed that between the imperialism and advancing technology of weaponry in the 1920’s spelled disaster for the world. And in some ways, he was right. You know, that whole WWII bit did a number for all of us.

But the Second Coming didn’t come. Or maybe it’s just running a little behind on schedule. But this reminds me what a good friend said recently, “There have always been tragedies in this world, and there always will be.”

So what do we do? Sounds trite, but really, it comes down to how you treat the person next to you. Whether it’s the grumpy, pregnant cashier with bad hair, the homeless guy who is always begging for that bus ticket outta here, or the snobby stay-at-home mom who looks better than anyone who has three kids should: it’s the connections we make at home, one by one, that we can control. We can’t fix the Middle East (not that we haven’t tried…Thanks, Winston), we can’t save the national deficit, and no, we can’t build a home on Mars. Yet.
But we can love others around us, pick up that piece of litter on the ground, vote, create discussion rather than spout argument, fight for better education of our children, and then BAM. Your life has purpose, and suddenly you are changing things. Little things, but hey. It’s the little things that add up. It’s the tidbits that make life better, and it’s what you can control, right now and right here.

This new species of monkey was officially discovered in the Congo by visiting environmentalists. It is most often found in the villager’s cooking pots.

Of course, I could say that we should all fly over to Egypt and educate the protestors on free speech and the follies of radicalism, but that doesn’t seem feasible. But taking out the trash before your wife asks you to? Buying the lunch for the Vietnam veteran sitting alone in the corner? That’s what you can do. Some of us have higher callings (i.e., the President of the United States), but for the rest of us plebs?

Makes me feel a bit better knowing that maybe I can fix this falling roof, one crack at a time. And if we all put plaster in the cracks? Then, hey, maybe massive global change is possible. But for now, let’s channel our inner Oprah and Dr. Phil the heck out of our community.