What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a symptom of the ills facing our country today as we look at the consequences of our behavior as a people. Extremism exists on both ends of the political/cultural spectrum and is exacerbated by the fact that we cannot find common ground. We are far removed from the one thing that could save us from more unrest and that is a belief in a power greater than ourselves. Couple that with a medium equipped to influence the ignorant and sway the uniformed and you have a recipe for Charlottesville.
We have the means to spread information to thousands of people in seconds, but only want to hear what we already believe to be true. We want to be heard and recognized, but we spend our time in disguise on social media spreading new “ideas” we’ve “developed” listening to others who believe the same things we believe, whether true or not.
We’re rudderless as a people and leaderless as a country with no common direction in which to travel and no one to show us the way. We took God, an entity we could all look to and have in common, out of the schools and put ourselves in his place. Now we have nothing to hold us together as a people except love of country, and even that is a matter of debate as we have divided ourselves in every direction from race to religion. And, since we all have our godly opinions, there are over 300 million gods running the show.
We worship ourselves and see a plastic surgeon or tattoo artist when things don’t meet our expectations of what a god should look like. We expect whatever image we conjure up to be worshipped by other worshippers who may be too busy worshipping themselves to bend a knee in our direction. Our opinion is the only one that matters because, after all, gods are perfect and flawless. And we are gods.
We want what we see in the world, but have not the means to obtain, but as a god, we are angry knowing that we deserve the very best in spite of the fact that we’ve worked for very little, if at all. We see others as a means of obtaining what we want instead of vessels in need of what we may have to offer.
We’re first even when we’re last. We’re fooled into thinking we’re best even when we’re worst and wonder why we’re not happy. We only have ourselves to blame for our condition and yet are convinced some other god must have seen to it that our existence is one of misery and abuse.
We tear down and run over instead of building up and making a way. I could go on, but from where I sit, a toy train sits in the next room waiting for its 3-year-old engineer. A stuffed lamb waits for someone to give it a voice and, building blocks, of all things, sit in a box in anticipation of the little engineer who will bring them to life.
He runs the train but doesn’t worry about the potential mishap waiting down the track. He uses the blocks to build everything from tunnels to tall skyscrapers with nary a thought of destruction, and the lamb, who has withstood everything a little boy can dish out, speaks only love and forgiveness.
There was another lamb years ago who would do the same thing. But we are far removed from that now and are no longer little boys and girls or even engineers but gods, with our eyes wide open and our hearts tightly shut. We don’t have time to play anymore for all is serious as we must be about the business of creating the world in our image.
Like zombies (a very popular word today) we follow the world of the internet and media that seems to spread unrest and discourse similar to one years ago who said, “ye shall not surely die.” There it sits, a new tree in our garden, and although not the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it invites us to spread rumor, doubt and hate. We need to learn how to think for ourselves again, believe in ourselves and in a power greater than each of us. It’s the only way back from the “mishap” waiting down the track.
Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.