What has happened to us in the United States?
When I was a kid I was told the key to success is hard work and a good education.
My mother took me to the library.
She took me on field trips to learn about the Moravians at Old Salem or we went to see the Woolworth store in Greensboro where the four A&T students kicked off the civil Rights Movement in North Carolina with a sit-in.
When I was a child we had commercials that talked about science.
When I was a child and an expert came on television people listened.
Now it's all about showboating and how you look and the tone that you use.
We have crossed over into some kind of anti-intellectual Twilight Zone where blubbering, bloviating buffoons with bloated egos shuffle around speaking in sentences that are barely above a 4th grade reading level.
We have elevated these people to the status of leaders of our political parties.
We no longer argue and debate on how to fix things like the economy or the climate or racism; we now argue over if they are real or not.
Everyday I see folderol pass for political discourse.
I see spin and hackery supplant data and analysis.
There was a time when we voted for politicians because of their intelligence and Bona Fides.
Because they displayed some acumen or knowledge of the complex interlocking mechanisms of economies and culture.
They knew how to be grand in their oratory and small in their humility.
They wanted to work together for the good of all people and not just be Leninist and destroy the system completely.
Now we vote for the candidate who we'd most like to share a beer with and yap about the winner of Dancing with Stars.
We want to be told pretty lies about how our lives would be better if that other group would not be around to screw things up for us.
We live in a world of Googled facts where anybody can upload a poorly edited website and have it cited alongside our nation's greatest and most venerated news organizations.
We are not boldly going where no one has gone before.
We are sliding into an inert future with brooding, slobbering hordes screaming over which team will get the dog skull on the pike first.
Our sense of exceptionalism has become inverted.
We now call a man and a woman who came from modest means and worked hard as they were told; went to top schools and prepared for the most important job of their lives -elitist while a brooding, preening, petulant billionaire born into money is seen as a man of the people simply because he is willing to be nastier and more of a blowhard than anybody else.
Idiocracy is not our future.
It is our present.
The Summer of 2002 proved hot, steamy and highly productive.
I was 34 and thought my life couldn't get any better. It is amazing the things we either let ourselves believe or create in an effort to hold onto joy and constant good feelings. I was very happily married. Had learned to cook and was running a household with a man I thought I was going to spend eternity with (see until the end of time).
If someone had told me, you will hate this man and rue the day you ever met online and found him, I woulda socked ‘em right in the eye.
I want to call attention to what happens as we age and realize things have changed. If you have ever looked around your life and said either silently or aloud, “my god how in the fuck did I end up here ?” This post is for you. If you have ever done everything you knew how and the shit still blew up in your mug, I feel you.
This piece is for you.
I chose to call it the "death of childhood" because there is something very sad when you have your hopes bashed against cold, unforgiving cement.
There is something very dark, painful and unforgiven about having to watch a child be disappointed or willingly skip into the lion’s den and you, the viewer, know he’s gonna be somebody’s lunch.
I want to shed light on the point at which things suddenly and inexplicably change and all you can do is cry, scream, beg for mercy and hope for a quick painless death. Things do get better. I will stop here before I trot out the platitudes that even I am not interested in hearing.
I never thought I’d have a long term relationship.
Having weathered so many disasters in my 20's, I thought, why bother ? Even with the knowledge shared with me by concerned friends, I continued to find myself deeply disillusioned and in constant pain. If I had heard or currently hear one more version of, "you’ve got to start by loving you," I will set myself on fire then puke and not in any particular order.
The point remains you can have all the self love in the world and do all of the right picking in the world but if the person you’re seeing doesn’t see you or you don’t see them what good will self love do ?
Self love is valuable. It is always valuable .
However, the feel good optimist fail to recognize that picking is half the equation and is not the finality for this solution. Things change and die. Where is all the cheery help then ? Who is the poster child for, I’ve built my life on something (a relationship) that failed.
If after having done the work and the person you care for very deeply says: I’m not interested in being with you. Then what do you do ?
In a world that gives so much credence and attention to Brangelina, Sandra Bullock, and every celebrity that takes in a baby of color, where is all the glory and paparazzi for black dads who are raising their children?
Whenever I have worked with young people, the issue of safety is obsessively focused on. You can't touch them (unless it is in front of other people and even then it's frowned upon). You can't be too involved or concerned and above all you can't share any personal information that would provide real world insight (see Seth Stambaugh's firing for proof).