Shame on Us
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
I am almost speechless this morning, sitting on my porch listening to the singing of birds. So much is roiling inside me that it will not form into words that can be written. Two sides of my brain are in rebellion. One side keeps believing that stronger, smarter heads will prevail in America today. People will rise up and say enough—enough of this autocratic, dictatorship-in-the-making. Enough of the isolationist, self-aggrandizing, arrogant, bellicose chaos coming from our White House. And yet, day after day, no one with the power to do something about it intervenes. I feel the same way I felt watching the soldiers of ISIS knocking down the ancient temples in Palmyra. Something beautiful, something soulful and cherished is being daily destroyed in America. It breaks my heart.
Perhaps we were never the shining city on the hill. The United States has committed atrocities of its own—with our native people, and on battlefields around the world. Perhaps our moral compass has never pointed to true North. But this feels somehow different to me. It feels as though we are willing to put our planet, and every living thing on it in jeopardy in order to make money. That we are willing to offend the entire world by thumbing our noses at its leaders and calling that a “good deal for America.” I find it sickening.
I would appeal to the President, but I don't believe he has a viable moral compass. Instead, like Muir, I will go for a walk, and enjoy the wonderful scents of summer, and listen to the birds sing. Muir said, “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out until sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” If Americans have ever “gone in” and asked the big questions about love of country, love of humanity and the natural world, now is the time to do it.
In the Spirit,