The Need for Community

“History repeats itself. First as a tragedy, second as a farce” – attributed to Karl Marx

It seems like every day, the news is reporting on some new major systemic failure in our country. Housing, banks, jobs, food supply, roads, and bridges. Nothing has been left unscathed. In the last 5 years, there seems to be an extremely rapid decline of the nation, and I have to wonder if this is how the end times of Rome were like? (For those who don’t know, yes…There are a myriad of similarities to its downfall we are seeing in the US.)

It’s hard to be positive about the future when things feel like they are colapsing all around, whether slowly or rapidly. It makes me want to hole up even more in my home so I dont have to think about all the negative impacts this serious decline will not just affect me, but my kids. They have become adults in a nation that has no interest in supporting them, their ideals, needs, wants, or anything to do with them. If they aren’t happy to be shuffled off into an occupation where they become just another body absorbed into the corporate hellscape of exploited labor, they have no value.

Every day, more and more states are openly restricting the rights of women and LGBTQ+, in not just aggressive ways, but hostile ways. The progression of the removal of rights and options to the LGBTQ+ is truly horrific to watch. It went from refusing them with vital health and mental care, to some states making full out bans on their very existence. No one wants to seem to see how this was done in the 1930’s and 40’s with horrifying effects. No one wants to admit that the only next step we are headed to are concentration camps and then genocide. Extreme? It wasn’t looked that way in Germany back in the 30’s. And the US is already on that road in this aspect.

Republicans are literally filling courts and lawbooks with hateful laws against anyone they don’t like, don’t agree with, and don’t understand. In the US, when a majority of the states make something a law, it is often accepted as law Federally, because at that point, they view it as the majority of the population agrees with these laws. Even while understanding that state districts have been so gerrymangdered over the last 3 decades, it’s impossible to have actual fair, representative elections, no matter what party you vote for.

We have so much stacked against us in this nation, and it’s made worse by others who don’t want to educate themselves about topics they don’t know, don’t want to admit they don’t know, believe info presented to them without question, which is *really* awful beacuse it is so easy to mishear information, but so easy to spread it, or simply find the topic one they can express their bigoted opinions freely on without any repercussions. Much like Rome, we have started to increase, not just our uneducated masses, but we foster them and cater to them instead of educating them.

I deal with a coworker who considers himself “moderately conservative”. (Protip: If you are anywhere below the Mason Dixon line, and you think you are “moderately conservative”, you are not. You are definitely a mainline, staunch, “conservative”. You are just surrounded by enough extreme conservatives that you feel moderate.) He often tells me of news stories he “heard”. I will occasionally ask questions like, what the logic is behind the part that offends him so much, or that he finds so incredulous. Like, one day, he said that VA is passing laws that allow teachers and school admins to take children who are trans and put them into medical care for affirmation care, up to surgery, without parental consent or knowledge. He also said that DC was passing a law that requires kids from 10 ys up to carry Narcam at all times while in school. Neither of these sounded remotely correct. I questioned him on these, and he was adamant that he heard correctly. The first one was almost a year old, about trying to pass policies and laws that wouldn’t allow teachers to out trans students to family and school members without consent from the student. The second was a policy to teach children in schools how to administer a Narcam dose and provide schools with Narcam, under the idea that schools already teach students how to administer epipens.

Instead of questioning what he heard and looking into it through a simple Google search, he believed what he thought he heard, then became offended and upset by it. This all could have been easily fixed had he just taken some time to question the legitimacy of what he had heard. I do this with articles and things I hear that I actually agree with, as well as those I don’t. I want to make sure I understand as much of the topic as possible. I want to be able to make an informed opinion, understand the pros and cons, and the opposition. That is how we are meant to intake our news. Not at face value, but to always question what we hear. We, as a nation, have lost this element of critical thinking and understanding.

One person cannot fix what is happening. An indvidiaual can bring awareness, and hope that grows legs and travels well, while being researched and validated. But as a community, we can make more significant changes, and depending on the size of those communities, can change the spaces around us. We can work together, create laws, ideas, and institutions that better people as opposed to keeping them where they are or pushing them farther down. We can learn to support each other, regardless of race, gender, sex, or any other form of othering currently taking place in the US.

But it requires that we work towards each other, not away from. It requires that we, together, not as individuals. This is why it has been so important for policitcal parties to other and divide into an Us vs Them. If you establish a bias, hate or bigotry, you create a wall to work openly with others who can help you, and themselves, reach better places and spaces and that is the road to controlling others. Removing helpful, empathetic options and provide only fear, distrust and hate. If distrust and dislike, not to mention fear, can be instilled, nothing changes, and more often than not, things further deteriorate.

I hope that we can eventually see past these ideas of fear, hate, and distrust and start actually looking at one another as exactly what we are: Humans. I think I’m going to start making that change in my life to reach out to others and make meaningful and productive connections. We owe it to ourselves and others in improving our current state.

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