You brought your mom and I the most joy we’ve ever experienced when you looked at us for the first time. We had no idea how much love we had in us to give until you graced our lives with your tenacious smile. The metaphors of the stork only make sense when you’ve finally received the gift of life. And yet, as I look at you this morning, I’m mourning.
You see, in this country of old we have a tradition of electing our grandest leaders; most important of which is the president. And last night we elected a man who I have no doubt will cause you pain and suffering. Put simply, this man lacks empathy for anyone who’s not like him. Since he was never taught any by his father. Instead his family raised him to worship himself and his wealth. They raised him to worship money, sex, and a feeling of ecstasy and rapture. To worship divisiveness, disillusionment, and escapism.
In many regards, we too were raised to worship those things. We too were told that the answer to complacency lay within our ambition, and that the best way to gage a persons ambition was by their accumulation of wealth. That jubilation and joy of freedom was hidden in our sexualization — and yet again the best among us would have a lot of it, at will, and be symbols of such power. We too were brought up to think that the scantly clad women in swimsuit issues and the movies were “stars”. That the billionaire oil man extracting our milkshake got there because of hard work and ambition.
You should know that we were wrong. The only thing that matters is our relationships to the world around us, not our use of it. We toiled with this planet to the point in which we’re facing massive shifts in our climate. And we’ve toiled with each other.
Many years ago this world fought great wars. We called them great wars because they were each said to be “a war to end all wars”. I am afraid our country is in the midst of another great war. But this one isn’t making bombs and dropping them from airplanes; it’s making media and spinning it through televisions into our arm chairs. As the rest of the world watches, helplessly terrified.
Their army isn’t organized, instead they are as erratic as their erratic social tools like Twitter and Facebook. They’re trolls, not the kind you find under bridges, but in uniforms with badges uniformly killing innocent black men. We refer to them as trolls because you cannot disagree with them. If you do, they’ll spit vile at you relentlessly for simply imposing a constructive argument.
This, my boy, is why we will suffer.
Right now, all over the world we need leaders that will fight for equality amongst those that have the least. Not for riches from ambition. We need leaders that will teach us integrity and empathy. Not self-delusion and demagoguery. We need leaders that will stand up to corporate business-as-usual and overturn the ugly truths of industrialization that lead to globalization and massive inequality. The truth is that we are all working poor, living underneath the bypass with a exit sign labeled “service economy”. Above us, a highway of unimaginable wealth and equity only driven on by an unimaginably small group of elites. The truth is that we’ve spent half a century supporting incarceration instead of education. The truth is that we’ve lied to ourselves, and looked in the mirror horrified, but still narcissistically denied this a reality.
It’s as real as you and I now. And you my son, will most likely see its deepest roots in our darkest days. I love you and I’m sorry.