Remember back in October when I discussed this crappy part-time temp job I'd taken, the one with the job title "obsessing about the election"? Well, I've got another crappy part-time job, though I'm afraid this one won't be a temp job. And it's called "reading all the memos documenting our trip to hell in a handcart." We're going to hell in a handcart rather than a hand basket or handbag or clutch purse or because we're trying to take as much stuff with us as possible. But it's still where we're going.
Most of the memos can be summarized in two words: We're fucked.
We're well and truly fucked, and collectively, as a species, we asked for it. Individually we might not have, but collectively, we certainly did. That's the lesson in the biblical observation that "you reap what you sow." We sowed selfishness, greed, instability, carelessness, obliviousness. Oh--we also sowed violence, death, destruction, and because we lived by the sword, collectively, it's probably how we're going to die. War, after all, is not only what pulled us out of the last great depression, but what helped us all get into it in the first place.
I've spent three and a half hours this morning reading the news--how the mortgage crisis is affecting Cleveland, which I care about because I went there a lot while I lived in Erie--it's not a bad place, and it doesn't deserve what's happening to it. Or the genocide ongoing in Darfur, another place that doesn't deserve what's happening to it. Or riots over lost homes and jobs in Eastern Europe. Or the ongoing environmental devastation that is both the result and an exacerbating factor of all we're experiencing. Or the complete INSANITY that is setting clocks an hour ahead two weeks before the spring equinox and setting them back six weeks after the fall equinox--why the FUCK do we have daylight saving time, which sucks?
Grumble, mutter, sigh.
I keep thinking about this one moment in Lord of the Rings that I just love, that's one of the reasons I love Ian McKellen. Frodo says something about how he wishes the ring had never come to him, and Gandalf replies (paraphrasing here), "So do all who live through such times. But that is not for them to decide. All you can do is make the best of the time and situation you're given."
I feel like I'm watching the end of the world--or at least, the end of our world. I feel grief, and anxiety, and moments of desperation, and moments of despair. It's worse than watching the war begin, which was pretty bad. I went back and read my journal from March 2003 a few weeks ago. It was harrowing, frankly. At that point, I just knew we were preparing to fuck ourselves over. Now I'm watching the results. They suck. I knew they would. I didn't know they'd be this bad.
And I don't know how to witness this. I guess no one else in the history of the world who observed unbelievable trauma and destruction knew how to be an effective witness to what was unfolding around them.
I guess I'll just keep doing the best I can--paying attention, trying to make sense of the senseless, hoping that as a race, we survive and emerge wiser than we were before.
I don't know what else to do.