Sometimes I wonder if what I’m writing is contributing to the very divides I wish to narrow. I say this in light of the article that I wrote on Friday that has captured the attention of many people. I’ve been pondering these questions for the past 24 hours: am I tilting at windmills? Is it even feasible to think we can have a world that rewards virtue and kindness? I have no reservations in my condemnation of Barack Obama, Donald Trump and the endless stream of politicians who go to DC promising hope and change only to deliver us economic anxieties and disappointment. Rather, my angst is caused by the gnawing possibility that evil has an inherent advantage over good.
Even if we feel helpless to alleviate a seemingly omnipresent suffering, we don’t want to give in to the notion that injustice is immovable. This is why too many desperately believe in political heroes. Sadly, this fixation on politics is the very source of tribulation. We have become a society of Charlie Browns who line up to kick the football every election only to fall flat on our backs in regret after the last ballots have been counted. Idolizing the rich and famous puts logic at bay; we have become conditioned to believe that the only way to solve the gashing issues that are being created by our broken system of governance is to send a new wave of media created and corporate powered puppets to replace the current crop of media created and corporate powered puppets.
Politics has become our drug of choice; instead of doing the hard work necessary to fix our nation and build up our communities, we would rather bicker over red meat issues and gaze at the sensationalism that is intentionally being injected into the public square by yellow press journalists in mainstream media and two faced politicians in our nation’s capital. I firmly believe that most of us are outraged about the same things; though we might disagree about 99 things, if we sat down and talked rationally, we would realize that the a vast majority of the iniquities we get worked up about can be sourced to one root evil.
Concentrated power is the womb of corruption. Our nation is crumbling and the world is being squeezed into a pulp because a few who control capital and manipulate currencies are able to bend policies and people to do as they will. The world has been enslaved by wages; we live in a new world order where debt is the prison and money is our warden. In this paradigm, free will has been replaced by fees and bills. This most perverse pyramid scheme has turned America—the shinning city on a hill—into a transfer scheme where hardship is socialized to the people and fortunes are monopolized by the powerful.
In order to distract us from the truth of what we have become as nation, establishment voices do all they can bark at the symptoms as they give cover to the underlying disease that is setting fire to the globe. In this conduct of excesses, we too are complicit. We keep looking afar demanding justice as we step over broken people who reside in hopelessness at our feet. Maybe it’s a survival mechanism; the feeling of being overwhelmed by the unfairness of this world almost demands that we pay attention to the low hanging fruit of politics and disregard the higher branches of injustice. The highest branch of all is the battle between good and bad that resides in the hearts of every human being.
There is an overriding truth that we frequently forget in our quest to attain political victories and satiate our separable grievances. One act of kindness can do more to ameliorate injustice than a thousand protests and a hundred rallies. I know this from personal experience; during my darkest moments when I was alone and in despair, it was a random gesture of hospitality that lit a spark of hope in my heart where I was lost in distress. When I was living at a mission in Wellington, Colorado—without a penny in my pockets nor a possession to my name—I could barely muster up the spirit to get out of bed. Outside of working my shift at the community kitchen, an inflatable blue mattress became my safe place and my prison.
It was during this most tumultuous time in my life that I came to realize that pain is a universal condition that is not limited by identity or ideologies. I found myself marooned on an island of homelessness and indigence and I counted all stripes of humanity my neighbors irrespective of color, gender, or belief system—all of us made equal before adversity and brokenness. One random Wednesday, I gathered the will to do my laundry; people who have tasted from the well of depression know very well how the simplest task can seem like herculean efforts. That evening, after I put my clothes in the washer, I retreated to my bed hoping to find reprieve in sleep from the waking nightmare of my reality.
I woke way past midnight and realized that I left the little clothes that I had unattended. I rushed to the laundry room expecting my donated jeans and shirts to be strewn around the floor. To my greatest surprise, not only were my clothes not on the floor, someone had taken my laundry out of the washer, put them in the dryer, neatly folded my clothes and put them in the corner with a note that read “God bless you” on top of them. This one solitary act of love did more for me than all the religious lectures I’ve been treated to in my life. To this day I don’t know who folded my clothes; an act of goodwill performed for the sake of the receiver instead soothing the ego of the giver changed the trajectory of my life.
Change happens not in a big bang but in incremental acts that go unnoticed until a critical mass of people say enough to the status quo. The revolution we keep waiting for will never be televised; to the contrary, mainstream and social media have been weaponized to prevent a course correction away from this kleptocracy before us. Al Gore once famously said that there was no controlling legal authority in response to Bill Clinton’s depravities. Likewise, when it comes to the corporate oligarchy and their political underlings, there are no controlling legal authorities that can reign in their criminality. We are governed by the lawless and oppressed by the gluttonous; the only way we can break this system of capital rapacity and globalist theocracy is by starving the beast of corporatism instead of bowing before the bulls and bears that thrive through our misfortune. The key to our liberation is through unity and goodwill towards others who are facing the same struggles we endure. Justice that focuses on just us is injustice waiting to be birthed; if we don't make unity our North Star to redemption, we will be united by anguish. Click To Tweet
We live in a time of rampant narcissism and me first petitions. What we are losing in this paradigm is the understanding that we are part and parcel of a wider community. As Martin Luther King once noted, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The same disease of greed and gluttony that is bleeding children in Damascus is what is killing hope for children from Chicago to Chattanooga and beyond. We keep outsourcing the vexing problems of society to political saviors only to import more affliction for ourselves. There is only one solution; be kind to each other and build up the communities where we live. Failing that, we can keep fighting over petty differences and soon enough we will all be made equal before adversity and brokenness. #NoPoliticalSaviors
Poverty is slavery, debt is the shackle, the keys to freedom are unity and kindness::
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Check out this latest Ghion Cast where I discuss these very issues that confounds humanity and how we can rise above malice through love and compassion for one another.
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.