I’m mad, I’m angry, I’m passionate, I’m confused, I’m hurt, I’m disgusted; I want to scream but I feel as though I am surrounded by a vacuum. No matter how loud my voice, I feel as though the air between us has been completely removed.
"Breathe," I want to yell, "Breathe, damn you!"
I want to slam my fist into America’s representative body as though to shock its heart into beating again, into caring again, into loving again, into being that beacon of light to not only its allies abroad, but to its neighbors near home, as well as its constituents in every state, city, town and village.
I want you to care enough about yourselves again to grow beyond this hate, these prejudices, this greed and selfishness, this self righteous quest for more and more through abusive resource exploitation and this culture of unsolved gun violence and meaningless crime. You’ve left the children unsafe in many of their schools and left families feeling unsafe in a number of their chosen houses of worship.
"Fight or flight" should not be the ruling part of a community’s nervous system like America’s, especially in an age where so much technology, information, and access to free education through a great many public libraries and internet sites is available.
After tens of thousands of years on this planet, this species should not be walking into its classrooms, its houses of worship, or its businesses, let alone into its homes, wondering what saber tooth tiger is going to slip into the cave at night, drag away the children while others slumber. No one should have to live in fear of what part of the rocky ceiling is going to collapse and extinguish the fire so desperately fought over centuries to maintain: the fire that keeps the predators at bay, the water sterile, and the food edible.
I want to shout, "WAKE UP!"
Never has there been more opportunity than now, and what is being done with it? Will America’s remembered history be space exploration or social media mudslinging and repeating news-cycle-opinionated-commentary where two sides do nothing but argue? Will this country be known for higher, more developed forms of education and knowledge, or more inventive means by which to raise the mass murder numbers each year?
Stop waiting for someone to do it for you; that power is inside each and every one of you right now.
You have the power to bring about constructive change in yourselves, and in others. Don’t let some power-mad agenda tell you otherwise.
Solve the problem. But please, please, please do it with educated reason and responsibility, with compassion and empathy, and above all with benevolence.
Treat one another as though you are all varying versions of yourself. When you look into the eyes of your fellow human being imagine it’s another version of you trying to get by. Tell yourself about the mistakes you see and how you are here to help because you’ve been there; you are there after all. Congratulate yourself when you notice you’ve done something good that will benefit another version of you in the future. Comfort yourself when you know you’ve messed up and need to let that other version of you know you are still here for them.
Mistakes are inevitable. Survival in a world of limited resources that is built on change means errors will arise. The niche you fill today may not be here tomorrow. One massive asteroid flying uncontrollably through space could enter the atmosphere as a meteorite and render your time here done. What life remains and whatever environmental conditions exist afterward may be better suited for some other species far more fit to the new environment. Catastrophe has always been a part of this planet, but what worries me most is if you don’t wake up, catastrophe is something the human species just might do to itself. What are you going to tell that other version of you after that, should you survive, "Make the world great again?"
At my age, regarding myself, there isn’t much left I care about where I alone am concerned. The weight I carry is the weight I have always carried and it will be the weight I will carry forever until it can be carried no more.
Perhaps I am speaking into a vacuum. But maybe, just maybe a few very important and capable people will hear me, remember me; maybe you will wake from your slumber and see me again, and remember just what that torch I hold so high represents. Maybe you’ll agree or disagree, just as with any passing article you’ve scanned across during the day, and that will be it. These are only words after all, and words are meaningless without people who believe in them, and use them as a call to and reason for action. Just as musical instruments weren’t built to be admired alone but played, words do nothing by themselves without someone who is able to put them into use.
Writing is worthless without readers just as inspiration is worthless without action. So I am asking you as representatives of this American way of life, and beyond this, as members of the human species, however few or many you are, no matter where you are on this planet, no matter what language you speak, no matter what gender or ethnicity or shade of skin or type of belief system you do or don’t choose to follow: please wake up. Please, PLEASE wake up. The time is now.
Convert your energy sources to more sustainable less polluting practices. Clean up or pay very close attention to the quality of the air you breath and water you drink; such resources don’t just have to sustain you, they have to sustain everyone born hereafter. When you can’t do it alone, ask for assistance from those who can and for those who can, advertise your availability and ability to assist no matter where you are or where you are from. Respect what boundaries exist; find ways other than physical warfare to solve your disputes and make building a priority over destruction. Where environmental catastrophe threatens or decimates, use all that might that can potentially level nations to instead help those who need and/or want to rebuild, to improve, to grow, and to regrow.
It may be proven someday that humans aren’t as alone in this vast known universe as they think. Maybe life arrived here lost, marooned, and evolved into the many species we see today trying to hold out just long enough for help to arrive in the form of a savior none of us could have imagined, but have longed for all this time. Billions of years is a mighty long time to keep waiting, don’t you think?
The power to do something or do nothing is in you. Every single one of you. It’s been there all along. Stop waiting for others to change: change yourself. But again, please, please, please create change through education, through reason, and through responsibility. Construct your foundation with compassion and empathy, and above all with benevolence towards each other.
Consider these words as my contribution to this world. This isn’t just my letter to America; it is a letter from a concerned, American icon, to the entire human species in the year 2018. These words may be all I have left to contribute. If you are one or many who can do more with them, please take them and do what I’ve been unable to complete alone: create constructive change for us all.