This has been the hardest year of my life. But I survived. Many did not. Should I feel grateful? I do, I guess, if only to not scorn those who have been lost. But what toll has it exacted? On us? On me? What has this year revealed about us as a civilization and about our future? What’s next?
Have you ever noticed how in stories set in ultra-conservative authoritarian post-revolutionary dystopias, there is always a moment when the gravel-voiced narrator says something to the effect of, “I guess we never noticed it was even happening – a little here, a little there – small pieces of our liberty stripped away and we didn’tContinue reading “We are paying attention”
On the night before he was nailed to a tree, Jesus joined his closest friends for one last supper. In his final miracle, he lifted bread and wine and transformed it into his body and blood for his disciples – those in the room with him that night and those for thousands of years to come – to join him in the most holy communion. The next day, he was beaten and dragged across town and crucified.
Perhaps in previous decades, accountability could comfortably mean less than it does today – demand less than it does today. Perhaps the world is ready and pining for a new standard of accountability. If our conception of accountability must evolve (which I believe it must!), then I want to evolve with it. Help me understand how.
There’s a reason career public servants are the ones we choose to serve the public. A defining feature of public administration is that it is not, in fact, private – it is quite mutually exclusive, and necessarily so. And while the gears of bureaucracy often turn painfully slowly, the remedy must come from within.
Oil extraction in the Yasuní-ITT section of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest has wrought social and environmental destruction since its rapid expansion in the 2010s. Since indigenous spokespersons have been outspoken about their strong stance against all extractive activities, by codifying indigenous land rights definitively in the Amazon and affirming indigenous autonomy, this policy will ensure that indigenous communities and their jungle environments are protected.
Institutional racism upheld by strong capitalist markets have embedded inequity into the fabric of American society for centuries, disenfranchising entire communities of color; economically disadvantaged communities are therefore largely excluded from mechanisms that would contribute to creating healthier local communities and a more sustainable world.
I believe we are a nation with integrity, but integrity does not sustain itself. I believe that the near future could be the brightest chapter in America’s storied history, unlocking the types of policies and actions that previous generations thought were just rainbows and unicorns – dreams, visions, fantasies, but never quite possible in our reality. But as we chase those rainbows and domesticate the unicorns, there will always be a hazardous path of fire and brimstone along the way that we must be wary of, lest we buckle under our own feigned magnanimity.
That you have the privilege, right, and obligation to vote in this country does not grant you the moral authority to do so in prideful ignorance. There is rightful scorn for those who do not exercise their civic duty to cast their ballot in elections, because it truly is such a precious responsibility that mustn’t be taken for granted. But the true villains, the true threats to our delicate little experiment in self-governance, are those who consciously choose and embrace ignorance when they exercise their democratic rights. And should there ever be a requiem for our American democracy, their ignorance will be the gravelly breath stoking the organ’s final notes.
Still undecided? Please vote for Joe Biden. It might seem like it, but I’m not trying to get political – I’m just trying to kindle a stranded, struggling ember of humanity in our democracy.