“Hello/Is there anybody in there/Just nod if you can hear me/Is there anyone at home?/ Come on out/I hear you’re feeling down/I can ease your pain/Get you on your feet again..”- Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd
Caitlin Johnstone wrote a wonderful piece on a growing global awakening. She and I seem to think on similar planes but with different perspectives of said planes.
I agree with her that we are in the midst of a global awakening. I wrote something about it a couple of years ago, which I will post separately. However, I see things about this in ways different from Caity. I see awakening as being an extremely painful process for many, one which they resist ferociously. They are unable to loose their grip on what they believe they have “known” their whole lives to be able to open their eyes to reality. It’s like they have been living in the dark most of their lives and now trying to come out into the light. Many fight to go back into the shadows, to force their eyes closed, to hide from the light. Their minds have difficulty comprehending the expanse of the world, the very thoughts which are laid before them.
I will not ease your pain. I used to have compassion for these people. Not so much any more. Too much information has been made available to them. If they reject it, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Yet that is the problem. They cannot think beyond themselves. They refuse to think beyond themselves. Ultimately, I refuse to have compassion for those who have no compassion for others.
This is the worst problem in this country right now. Too many people have become comfortably numb, blind and uncaring about the problems faced by their neighbors, other country people or people in other countries. They care about their own lack of insurance, the cost of their own medical care, their stock performance, the cost of their lattes or the cost of filling their gas tanks. They don’t care about the people with no insurance, who cannot afford medications, the ones struggling or even failing to keep a roof over their heads, the children going hungry, the children being blown to pieces in other countries where US oil companies want to seize the resources.
Yes, things are changing. More people are waking up. Slowly. Far too slowly.
Unfortunately what it is taking for them to awaken is for them to feel the pain others have felt much longer, much more deeply. It is taking the crash of the stock market, the elimination of millions of jobs, increases in cost of living concurrent with stagnant or dropping wages.
It’s easy to say that the poor are poor as a result of their life choices. Until your own choices lead to disaster. Until your mortgage is under water and your employer hands you a pink slip because their stock value dropped, taking your life savings for the ride. Your house is foreclosed, your car is repossessed. You just defaulted on a federal student loan, your tax refund is seized, what little pay you have coming in has a 20% lien placed on it by the IRS. You get a diagnosis of cancer and your insurance company refuses to pay for your treatment. You didn’t buy the additional premium coverage. You wind up in the hospital with pneumonia, insurance still won’t pay, you haven’t reached your deductible.
Now you’re living in your second vehicle, unable to find a job at a living wage when someone says, “Loser, get a job.”
Life happens to all of us. Including you. Many reports from two years ago said that more than half of Americans cannot afford a $1000 emergency. That places most of us in the position of being as little as 2 paychecks away from being homeless. Two years later, tens of thousands of jobs have disappeared, hundreds of thousands have had their work hours reduced or are forced to work multiple jobs to survive. Those working multiple part time jobs get no benefits like employer subsidized insurance. Your 401k plan is only as good as the stocks it invests in and, like 2008, when the stocks decline, you can lose most or all of it. Also like 2008, when this happens, not if, tens of thousands of those who had retired will be forced back into the workforce. Meanwhile more employers will be laying people off. Most economists now agree that another recession is coming soon, they only disagree on when. Recessions tend to happen every 7–10 years. It’s been 11 years since the last one, so we are overdue. The longer it is pushed back, the worse it will be.
Maybe you own your own business and think you are safe. Problem is, what happens when your customers have no money? You are dependent on them. No part of the economy runs independently.
Still comfortably numb? Or have you reached a distinct level of discomfort yet? It is truly time to drop the apathy, the judgment of those less fortunate, less privileged than yourself. Karma has a way of coming back around in ways we do not expect. We have to care about each other, not just ourselves. That includes caring about people in other countries subjected to US foreign policy.
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