Do people really think they are going to lessen injustice or bring about equality by insulting and alienating 65% of the American public? Being hurt does not give license to hurt others, talking that exclusionary language and divisive message will get plenty of likes from the ignorant crowd but what is it doing exactly other than adding on logs to the flames of injustice.
This country will FOREVER wallow in brokenness and inequity as long as people would rather litigate the past with a jaundice eye of cynicism instead of moving forward with the aspirations of universal justice.
But these voices that speak to our better angels and who try to build bridges are nullified by a million fools who think they are making a difference by incinerating others with hateful rhetoric and fiery oratory. What does this accomplish though really, anger begetting anger and hate begetting more hatred? We slowly devolve into a society of ornery trolls who feed on each other’s reactions. Each side blaming the other side for the fire as both sides hold a smoldering blow torch in their hands.
All along, demagogues being propagated to the forefront by the establishment in order to feed into this vindictive conniption of our baser instincts. Look how many people are up in arms over the crudeness and perniciousness of Donald Trump. Yet most of these people react with crudeness and malevolence befitting of Trump when they encounter people who voted for Trump and the other side repays the same deed with equal malice.
This is the zeitgeist that we live in I guess. Who knows, maybe this is just the evolution of humanity, each generation getting further wedded to dogma instead of solutions. The world keeps turning and burning and we just might be helpless to do anything to extinguish the flames, so instead we crowd around and watch the glows as if we are witnessing a bonfire of our vanity.
It would be so much easier if I could join in this absurdity, to use historical pains to enrich myself. If my aim was recognition and status, I know the playbook to get both easily. The media is full of them, a bunch of Toms who pretend to care for their people all the while using grievances and the pains of others to cash their paychecks. They earn money from the same sources they supposedly rage against, modern day overseers who steer their people into the gutter of rage instead of lifting them with love. False hope peddlers and agents of the status quo; the establishment lifts the firebrands and gives them microphones as long as they speak grievance only to “their side” and disavow any attempt to speak of unity or togetherness.
Hell, two of them got elected presidents. Obama peddling false hope to “his crowd” and sowing division in the process as he blamed the other side for the fire he was complicit in igniting. Now Trump comes around and plays the same playbook and peddles false hopes and grievance to “his crowd”. But both crowds are so caught up in their own anger that they don’t see how both sides are being played by demagogues who profit from their misfortunes.
I guess I have my own audacity, a hope that maybe just maybe words, if they are full of enough inspirations, can actually speak to our common hopes instead of fracturing us into islands of resentment. That maybe we can actually repel the hatred that is omnipresent before us with hope instead of swimming in antipathy and antagonism and saying “they did it first” like a village of toddlers. So I write, knowing that there are others who think and hope like me. I write in spite of the trajectory that has us headed towards perpetual conflict and stasis.
Someone inboxed me not too long ago and said “Teddy, you have an ability to distill the most complex issues into ideas that other people can understand, this is a gift you have, but what are your intentions, are you willing to not only be a bridge builder but lie down and be the bridge if you must”.
This question is still resonating with me to this day. What is it that we can do in this life to actually make a meaningful difference? I don’t believe in revolutions of the gun for they all devolve into the same tyranny that gave birth to these revolutions. What I pray and hope for is a revolution of the mind where we see each other as interdependent and where society is judged by the least among us instead of fawning at the attainments of the ones who attain at the cost of all of us.
I don’t have the answers, I just know that the solution is not too keep feeding into the hatred of the past. Being hateful to fight hate will not resolve injustice nor will hurting others heal our hurts. It’s in unity where the answer lies, I will keep my pen dedicated to this pursuit because following in God’s grace is the only way we can extricate ourselves from the hostility that is sinking humanity.
~ This is an excerpt from “Soul to Soil” , which can be found on Amazon and will soon expand to other distributors. Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey, monarchs emerge from caterpillars through cocoons—the struggle is what gives wing to our aspirations ~
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.