It feels like I shoot up in bed, in the middle of the night, with things like “covfefe,” “Comey,” “terrorism,” “ISIS, “Make America Great Again” and “Paris Accord” swirling around my bedroom, keeping me wide awake as I try — in vain — to find just one single solitary moment of pure silence.
Even as a member of the media, one who strives to find common ground in our society, I’m finding that I’m beginning to tune out more from the endless, daunting streams of breaking news stories, controversies, back door politics and “he said, she said” chaos where the legs of progress get bogged down even further into the sticky molasses of big government versus John Q. Public and the greater good.
With almost every country of the world (195) onboard for The Paris Accord, it was heartbreaking to see the United States pull out of the agreement, which strives to mitigate carbon emissions and reduce climate change by the middle part of the 21st century. Skeptics say pulling out ensures the U.S. won’t be left holding the bag “once again” when it comes to our nation leading the charge for change.
By leaving the agreement, and other agreements in recent months, it makes the U.S. more insular and neutral in our stance in the world forum. We’re slowing losing our role in world politics and discussions, all to “bring back jobs” to regions and small towns across this country that may actually never see these jobs materialize. China and Russia are salivating with possibility and power shifts as we bow out from the world stage. What’s going to happen is we’re going to keep playing hard ball to the point that nobody will want to work with us, instead taking their business and partnerships elsewhere.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the world today, especially through the lens constantly magnified over the topic of terrorism in the time of ISIS. Between the recent bombing at an Ariana Grande performance and separate attacks in London, that are becoming more frequent in recent months in the United Kingdom, one wonders when suicide bombers and similar incidents will finally “cross the pond” and spill innocent blood on American soil?
Regardless of your feelings about The Paris Accord or if climate change isn’t real, what remains, and is fact, is that we humans are a very destructive species. We’ve always taken more — food, water, natural resources — than we’ve ever even tried to give back. You might not believe in climate change, but pollution is real, more so in countries you probably never knew existed. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is a truly American concept, especially in terms of how we approach world issues. I mean, terrorism, at least it being a first-hand experience, wasn’t given a second thought in this country until we saw those towers fall some 16 years ago.
So, it’s no wonder we have the same oblivious sentiments towards climate change, pollution, etc. We’re not seeing dirty water coming out of our sinks or having a coughing fit due to smog, so why should you care, right?
And there I was this past Sunday morning, hauling out my recyclables, all neatly and carefully bagged in those easily-ripped blue bags, only to place them next to a garbage can filled with plastic and paper from my neighbors, all in white bags, with no regard for separating materials. My heart sank, seeing as, if anything, we just cancelled each other’s intentions out, rather than actually gaining some traction in a cleaner, less polluted planet.
It’s enough to where I momentarily felt the urge to just rip open each of my blue bags and dump all the contents onto my lawn, without a care in the world. Screw it. It’s somebody else’s problem now. Not my problem anymore.
And yet, it’s that exact attitude that, to a large degree, has brought our world and all its people to where we stand today. We need to stop playing hot potato with our problems, our politics and our outlook on progress. Stop kicking the can down the road. Better yet, stop creating the “cans” in the first place. Be accountable, especially in your own backyard, for that is where the most vital and real change can be seen, felt, heard and perpetuated.
During these past few months, each week feels like one full year with all the noise, yelling, violence and seemingly never-ending whack-a-mole controversies. It’s jarring enough to make you not want to get out of bed in the morning. But, we do, all of us, for the only hope one can rely on is that by you walking out the door in the morning, you have the power and resolution to be a voice of reason, a source of positive change and growth, of preservation and inclusion, that will overtake the wild goose chase conversations that dominate our daily lives.
Life is beautiful, grasp for it, y’all.
1 The Classic Wineseller (Waynesville) will host The DuPont Brothers (Americana) at 7 p.m. Friday, June 16.
2 Southern Porch (Canton) will host Heidi Holton (folk/blues) at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8.
3 The Canton Public Library will host Richard Hurley (Americana/traditional) at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 11.
4 Tunes on the Tuck (Bryson City) will host Lonesome Sound (traditional/mountain) at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 10.
5 Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) will host Darren Nicholson & Caleb Burress (Americana/soul) at 7 p.m. Friday, June 9.