*This is the first of the resurrected entries from my old blog, and Mrs C’s all-time favorite. Hope you enjoy!
Ben said, “I never found allegiance to any group appealing and I’m skeptical of folks who do.”
I clicked the like button, scooped up my lunch bag, and headed home from work. I was on my way to a night of organic beef homemade egg noodle spaghetti, garlic bread, and Black Mirror. It was Mrs C’s day off, so she was preparing a big batch of the stuff to get us through the week. We love leftovers. I love her spaghetti.
I thought about what Ben said at 3:17 in the morning. I never sleep for more than 5 hours on a Tuesday, so Wednesday morning is a great time to reflect on the day that passed, the day to come. Mrs C was sleeping to my right, Ludo at our feet. Moxie was on the floor on her side, like he always is. I think she was asleep, though my restlessness might have made her restless. Ludo got up and folded into my arms, as he sometimes does when he realizes I’m awake. He usually doesn’t stay for more than five or ten minutes. I suppose it’s his way of telling me that everything is alright. Or maybe his way of letting me tell him. He lay there for a good half hour, maybe 45 minutes.
I finally got out of bed at a quarter to five. I let my mind do a lot of thinking about Ben’s line in the 88 minutes in-between. I completely agree with it.
It reminds me a little of a piece I wrote recently, about how we are not but one thing. For some reason, we try to be. Maybe it’s safer that way, or easier. Easier to define ourselves if we can define our group allegiance. We don’t have to think so much about life, I suppose, we can just do what other Republicans would do. What other Christians would do. You can blank out those words and put in your own party or religion, or the ones you hate most, if you want. Just so you get the point. It’s all group-think.
This is why I can’t identify with jingoism. I believe that any flag that isn’t a symbol of freedom is just worthless cloth. Colin Kaepernick did more to adhere to the ideals of America by kneeling before the flag than his detractors did by scorning him for it. He’s the better patriot. If your democracy forces you into allegiance you don’t have a democracy anymore.
So, like Ben, I’m skeptical of anyone who swears allegiance to any group over all people. In our political discourse, the Democrats get it wrong just as often as the Republicans. In our little part of the world, which makes up less than 5% of the planet’s population, we divide ourselves into these two groups, anyway. Not entirely, actually. The most recent polling shows that only 31% of Americans identify as Democrats, and only 29% as Republicans. 38% of the nation identifies as Independent. That’s a relief. If you watch any TV at all you’d think it was all red and all blue and that we are in a civil war for the soul of a nation. If you’re on Twitter you might even think the split is 80/20 in your favor, weighted depending on who you follow.
I guess, then, that Ben and I only have to be politically skeptical of 60% of the country.
These are the very important thoughts that went through my brain, this morning, between 3:17 and 4:45, while cuddling with a golden retriever. My conclusion was the usual one: we are too polarized. The enemy is not us, but the corpocracy that governs us. They take our gains to fill their coffers and send our poor and young to die for old man greed. Then they tell us to worship their flag in the name of freedom. And we buy into it and we point our fingers at each other and tell each other that we are worshiping their greed wrong. In the meantime, our infrastructure fails. Our safety nets have holes. Tens of millions among us have inadequate health care. Millions in the United States do not have access to clean water. 46 million people live below the poverty line in what is arguably the richest country in the history of the world.
Our problem is not each other.
I don’t swear allegiance to any group. I am skeptical of folks that do. Every problem has a unique solution. Not a Republican one. Not a Democrat one. A human one. A humane one. Let’s step out of our political rivalries, then – our allegiances to leaders whose only interest is their own – and build a coalition for a better nation. A better people. A better world.
Anything else is just plain lazy.