August 26, 2013 Leave a comment
Tea for tumidity?: A meditation on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington D.C.
By Benjamin J. Gohs
Is there any drink strong enough to sober a species enamored of destruction and disdainful of creation?
What can be done with a creature who’d rather bomb cities than build bridges, who’d prefer Cold War over peace talks, whose fascist tongues flick platitudes of freedom and equality?
Let’s face it, if we were half as moral as we think ourselves to be, the world would be far less dismal than reality suggests.
Regardless of what name you give them, self-absorbed, apathetic, fearful majorities have always existed. And, most of us are guilty of such behavior at some point in our lives; hell, most of us are guilty of it right now—whether we realize it or not. (Due to the hijacking of the lexicon, you may need to consult with a very old dictionary to understand what the words “conservative” and “liberal” actually mean, for political parties they are not.)
Their hallmarks are discernible even at great distance: they are conservative with love, conservative with introspection, conservative with justice, conservative with forgiveness, conservative with truth, conservative with realism, conservative with empathy and tolerance. And, they have always existed and will continue to exist because it is the easy thing to engage one’s fear. It is the comfortable thing to stick with one’s own kind—be that one’s religion, skin color, ethnicity, geographical affiliation, ideological similitude, or socioeconomic standing.
The skeptical, effacing, inquisitive individual—though scarce and seldom seen—will always raise the ire and terror of the self-absorbed, apathetic, fearful majorities. Nothing causes as much consternation in the certain mind, the determined mind, the ignorant mind, as the introduction of equitable principles. For, equality is the unnatural thing, the difficult thing, the impossible thing … the necessary thing.
Search nature for true liberty and equality and it likely will not be found; only human society has even broached the subject. Only mankind has—a scant few women and men—truly attempted to raise the weak and the sick, the deaf and the dumb, the blind and the simple, destitute and the hungry to the level of the strong and the healthy and the fortunate.
The skeptical, effacing, inquisitive individual arrives; a minority of one, is he. Like clean healthful lemon juice meeting thick, dull, artery-clogging cream, coagulation occurs. And, in a violent silence this silent violence unfolds … for none is ever so irascible, steadfast and mean-spirited as he who coaxes monsters from slumbers.
A defense of hate? There is only defense of hate. How else does one despise skin, fear sex, loathe strangers, deny equality—while demanding deference? Why is it lauded to overindulge the self, to steal, to under-nourish the fellow, to subjugate the poor, to exploit the have-less, to mock the foreign? It has become shameful to be a gourmet among gourmands. After all, who wants to be a field mouse among sewer rats?
Still, one’s stance of pure hatred of anything unfamiliar is not shunned but instead given title, political cachet, admiration and adoration … and unwieldy power; bone-snapping, jaw-breaking, gut-slicing, suffocating, mind-raping power.
Confidently ensconced in dominance, the purposeful pathogen works single-minded in its task—oh-so-liberally in its task—to destabilize inquiry, sabotage skepticism, to eliminate critical thought.
With liberal doses of racism, liberal doses of homophobia, liberal doses of apocalyptic occultism, liberal doses of censorship, liberal doses of state-sponsored terrorism, liberal doses of austerity, the self-absorbed, apathetic, fearful majorities manufacture and spread debilitating, dehumanizing, disenfranchising, dysfunctional hatred.
So long as consensus replaces righteousness, might replaces justice, tribalism replaces love, bitterness replaces empathy, fear replaces inquiry, propaganda replaces truth … so long, so long, so long as those iniquities remain transposed, so too shall mankind remain a sallow group of fellows frustrated by sickness but befuddled by the cure.
To bear witness to injustice for wont of status quo is to polish a lustrous trinket, nothing more.
I leave you with a toast as I sip orange pekoe: To those scarce and seldom seen heroes of nonviolent struggles, may your kind words and willing ears thaw frozen hearts, polish dusty minds and inspire wary bodies.
In addition to working as the News Editor for the Boyne City Gazette of Northern Michigan, Benjamin J. Gohs is an award-winning journalist and the author of “I’m So Great & Other Delusions” (humorous nonfiction) and the upcoming ground-breaking work “The Moral Superiority of Atheism” … set for release on Jan. 1, 2014.