A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
What a god-awful year. 2017 has been a year of anguished outrage and quiet condolences, of trying to find a way to cope with the travesty that brought us Donald Trump and the aftermath. To my Progressive friends out there, and friends who are re-examining their conservative political views: We like to say that America is great and in many ways, it certainly is. But the US is not immune to corruption driven by the power of raw greed. For many people, unrestrained greed, the lust for ever-more wealth becomes over-powering, an all-consuming and unreachable goal. Wealthy politicians are not immune to greed, and this becomes lethal for democracies when those writing the laws, write them exclusively for the benefit of themselves and those in their rarefied class. At the federal level, this is where we are at today. The stratospheric national debt, the threat of national insolvency, the ascendance of the power of corporations over citizens, the ongoing abandonment of the middle class and the poor, the rabid contempt for minorities and women, the elevation of war as an economic imperative, the loss of a habitable planet for millions of humans due to climate change, all of these urgent issues and many others mean nothing to this president and this congress, who pursue personal wealth and power above all else.
With this government in control, we are facing the most fundamental, most critical issues that we as a nation and even as a species, will ever face, with our eyes closed and in complete denial, blinded by greed. This government is not governing. This government is operating like an organized crime syndicate, robbing from the middle class and future generations and ensuring that those generations inherit a failed, bankrupt democracy and a planet despoiled. With this government, we are witnessing a great turning point, when the most influential nation on Earth disowns the future. This is a travesty with impact spanning many generations.
I don’t know what 2018 will bring. I want to be optimistic, but so much is at stake. But I do know that our dedicated and steady participation in our democracy is paramount to overcoming any of these challenges. Power loves a vacuum. From voting our conscience in every election to marching in the streets at every outrage, we must be involved. More than any other, this generation cannot afford apathy. Don’t let the bad news beat you down. Our strength is in our unity and our cause is just. Let us make 2018 a pivotal year.
Copyright 2017 Daniel R. Cobb