In spite of what sometimes seems to be insurmountable odds, I still believe in love. I think most of us who choose to teach and care for children, do so because we love them, because we want to see them grow up happy, fulfilled, creative, caring, and giving. The question is, is that possible in today’s world?
There is no doubt in my mind that the U.S. is an “empire of illusion,” as Chris Hedges calls it. When did it change? We began in America with hard work, commitment, integrity, pride as well as humility, and helping our neighbors. Over the years we have sunk into an illusory world fueled by unchecked capitalism, self-aggrandizement, and greed amongst a small but powerful elite who have forgotten who we are and why we are here on earth. “The free market and globalization, promised as routes to world-wide prosperity, have been exposed as two parts of a con game.” We have shifted from production to consumption. Lost jobs, lost homes, and a seemingly lost future – for us, for our children.
And the road appears to be heading toward even more illusion and greater controls. The corporation is a facade used by many people to hide their worst intentions. “The corporation is designed to make money without regard to human life, the social good, or the impact of the corporation’s activities on the environment,” says Hedges. This new elite uses its spurious power without regard for human sanctity. Knowing this, it fears losing its influence and wealth (what they call power), and will foment what it can to impose more control. Not the democracy we once envisioned.
Hedges points out, “Democracy and capitalism are antagonistic entities. Democracy, like individualism, is based not on personal gain but on self-sacrifice.” The established system does not allow for self-sacrifice unless it is carried out by anyone but those in power. Greed does not take a holiday. Corporate education, corporate health care, corporate money, corporate business, corporate food, corporate government, corporate media. In spite of the promises of a better America, we live with the growing deterioration of our society while these corporate leaders are not paying for its breakdown or its repair. We are.
We are in the midst of a massive meltdown – environmental, economic, political, educational, spiritual, and moral. But the answer will not come from the corporations. What we need is the plain-jane acceptance of reality, simplicity, humility, the ability to practice self-restraint, and the willingness to change. How do we foster that – in ourselves, in our children?
The solution is love. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to reclaim our future and I believe it will come through love.
Hedges continues, “The mediocrities who mask their feelings of worthlessness and emptiness behind the façade of power and illusion . . . fear most those who speak in the language of love.” “. . . no tyranny in history has crushed the human capacity for love.” “The power of love is greater than the power of death. It cannot be controlled. It is about sacrifice for the other – something nearly every parent understands – rather than exploitation. It is about honoring the sacred. And power elites have for millennia tried and failed to crush the force of love . . . love constantly rises up to remind a wayward society of what is real and what is illusion. Love will endure, even it if appears darkness has swallowed us all, to triumph over the wreckage that remains.”
Love heals, love is freely given or not at all, and then it is no sacrifice at all. So let us do what we do for the sanctity of the human spirit, for love. Let us educate and nurture children for love. Work and help others for love. Let us teach love in the classroom, love in the boardroom, love in the hospital room, love in the Senate and the House, love in our farms and gardens, love in our parks, forests, oceans, love in our streets, towns, and cities. We can do it all with a loving human heart. It is the only change that heals and supports the human spirit. Love is an unassailable truth. Love is our power. It is who we are at the very root of our being.
Choose love. It is real.
With sincere thanks to Chris Hedges for his words and his hope.