Sunday, December 16, 2012

Every year it gets a little harder...

It has been busy, very busy. In my little world, it has become a struggle to get anything much done. I may be retired now, and I must say I'm enjoying it so far, but the projects in which I invest myself have suddenly expanded to take up most of my available time. Everything takes extra time now. A simple trip to the grocery store has become complex. I don't want to complain; when you can't afford a car, it's a blessing to have a bus system.  Except the bus to the grocery store doesn't run an understandable schedule anymore. It works for the bus company, but not for the people who use it. That seems to be the way of the world these days, things stopped making sense some time ago.

My little experiment in ending email overload and in blocking the spam bots attempting to post to this blog has shown progress. I've allowed everyone to post comments again without all the annoying eye and typing exams. We'll see how it goes. As far as my email problems, I've unsubscribed from a lot of mailing lists. Some of them are still still sending me things. It's better, but still out of control.

Every year, it gets a little harder. I'm sure any number of generations before mine has made the same statement. That doesn't mean it isn't true. It gets worse at this time of the year, a time when we used to be able to find a bit of magic in the season. I realize I don't get around much anymore, but I've been noting that there don't seem to be as many lights this year decorating people's homes, bringing color and joy into the darkest stretch of the year. It seems like fewer people bother each time the season comes 'round. I imagine that was once said about the number of bonfires for Yule celebrations long ago.

For the past few days the horrible tragedy in nearby Connecticut has consumed the country, and it seems, a good part of the world. Reporters are reporting - often inaccurately while trying to one up the next reporter, responding to the pressure to have something new, the need to have more information as people try to make sense of something that doesn't make sense. Bloggers are blogging, tweeters tweeting, and the rest are posting to Facebook. Everyone uses the tragedy to push their own agenda. Stop the drones. Institute gun control. Oh, my God he was a loner with problems. He must have been on drugs. He must have been off his medication. He was sick. As though that excuses anything. As though gun control will stop this madness. In China, a madman stabbed 22 children. As though that is less heinous because he didn't have a gun.

A few brave souls will note that this has happened before. Just last week, in a shopping mall. And just recently in Minneapolis, and Tulsa, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Colorado, a coffee bar in Seattle, a college in California. They were all loners. They were all sick. They want publicity. We need gun control. No one asks how it is that people have broken, lost their minds, gone on rampages.

No one wants to look at our world the way it is. We live in a time when, unless one has money, you eat fake food full of chemicals and genetically modified poisons. If you have a problem, well here - you can pay into a scheme to help you purchase medication that alters your mental processes. The sky, the air, the water have been fouled. The rich have gotten richer. Everyone else tries to cope, to do with less, and everything has gotten a little harder. Even the bad for you food costs so much that it is said that 1 out of every 5 people in the country needs assistance, and those benefits are being cut. Donations to the food shelves which try to take up the slack have been falling off. In the sate of Vermont, where I live, 1 person in every 7 doesn't have enough to eat. For the last couple of years, the problem has been given a slightly nicer tone by replacing the stark word "hunger" with the term "food insecurity". Words and phrases have lost their meaning as they become twisted to hide the truth, to obfuscate, to spur sales, or get around laws in the growing corporate environment to produce a product for pennies less, to make more riches for the already rich, to twist circumstances to raise prices to make ever more profits, ever more profits, pay the people less, ever more profits.

Our school systems don't have enough money, and with laws like those requiring the teaching of creationism and labeling evolution as a 'theory', our children aren't receiving a proper education in the sciences. Or the Arts. Or History. Or...

Our entertainment industries push and promote violence in games, in movies, on television. Explicit gory violence, exploding ganglia in intimate detail. The aftermath, the effect on people in the story or the game, isn't dealt with. It's bloody, clean, dispassionate, removed from reality.

Reality is programmed on tv. What does it say about us that one of the most popular shows in the country follows the antics of a white trash family proud of their dumpster diving and their obnoxious child 'Honey Boo Boo'?

And, oh, my God, the fiscal cliff. Our federal budget is out of control. Time to cut welfare, medicare, medicaid  social security, food stamps, college loans, money to education, money to the arts, if it helps people get by, it needs to be cut. They are the enemy.

A guy I know is posting videos and articles to Facebook about the state of the world - today he had a video of the tv show "they" don't want you to see because it exposes what has gone wrong with the country. It's an episode of Judge Judy. A black male hasn't been paying - something, whatever, he gets government aid, his rent is paid, he gets food stamps. He is the problem. He and his ilk are bleeding the country. I used to work in a supermarket. I know this Facebook poster. He and his family live in subsidized housing. They work menial jobs in the kitchen of a nearby school. They get by with food stamps. Should I tell him that he is the enemy too?

We live in a world that no longer makes sense. Where women's bodies have magical ways of shutting down and preventing rape but maybe still getting a pregnancy for God. Where we used to be raised to believe that we could and should make it on our own, the great lone American Hero,  and where we now find ourselves in a world where we need help. If one can get by the shameful humiliation. The frustrations of everyday life are causing everyday people to break. It's the world the corporations, the bosses, and the rich have made. It works for the them, but it doesn't work for the people who ride the bus. Every year it gets a little harder.

What is strange isn't that there are so many mass killings, but that there are so few.


Geo. said...

You've managed to draw what's bothering the lot of us into a compact and nearly manageable form, which I appreciate. I remember such discontent in the '60s and the emotional drain was offset by a general endorsement of LOVE, which was of course socially transitory and only occasionally sincere. Lately though, as a pensioner in my personal 60s, I try to feel a sense of Life longing for itself --and that helps, as do long walks and wine.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It almost makes me wish I were one of those people who never reads a newspaper, never watches the news on TV. Ignorance is bliss? Not really. Maybe it's the rampant ignorance and apathy that's screwed things up so much. I agree with Geo about the long walks and the wine. Especially the wine.

Anonymous said...

Keep pounding the keys and making us aware of what is going on around us... Ignorance may be bliss but I think I'd rather see the headlights so I can get the heck off the tracks. One of your statistics really threw me off balance...."1 out of 7 in the state of Vermont have insufficient food"... that is huge.

Austan said...

Yes, Stevil, what everyone said. Don't ever discount the power of your words.
And pass the wine.