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What made us great then and now

I donít typically write about the goings-on in our world as there is so much other beauty to see and dwell on. If you know me though, really know me, you know where my heart lies. Thereís a song by Aerosmith that keeps running through my head: ďThereís something wrong with the world today. I donít know what it is. Somethingís wrong with our eyes. Weíre seeing things in a different way, and God knows it ainít his. It sure ainít no surprise.Ē

I grew up in an idyllic setting, a tiny burg, oblivious to the larger world until I took off my childish rose-colored glasses and the adult lens adjusted my vision. This unfortunately took longer than I anticipated, but now that I can see thereís no way back to the thinking of my youth. We look back at years past, the lens blurry with age, and believe that those golden minutes in time were great, the absolute best. Every generation remembers fondly how simple or what a seemingly easier time we had in those days, but we didnít.

My heart groans, heavy-laden with tears that are being shed in our country as well as so many others around the world. We see in live feeds spread in vast arrays across our screens breathtaking moments of pain that we did not ever see in years past. We are there in the moment, where forty, fifty, sixty years ago and more we waited on newspapers or the grainy nightly news to deliver these tiny slices of a moment. They were fractions of what really happened, the story being unfurled in small forkfuls that didnít always tell the entire story, only what was deemed newsworthy. We waited, sitting at our dinette sets, melamine glasses holding ice cold lemonade to our lips as we heard the news of the day and were told what was important to hear, never in real time, always skewed with an angle. Just because we didnít see it though doesnít mean it didnít happen.

We hear and see every second today, splayed out in high definition and can no longer be content with the bits and pieces that used to be fed to us like baby food. What weíre seeing is undeniable, and it makes many uncomfortable as it challenges long-held beliefs and ways of thinking. Social media and its blazing speed often times gives us information before the news outlets are reporting it. Itís gritty and itís real. Donít blink, or youíll miss it.

As in the past there are many voices that ring in our land. Unlike the past we hear them all in startling clarity. We neednít wait for print pages to see what they stand for. Our freedom is beating a bloody pulse like a drum as our networks and feeds fill our minds and veins with information to sift through. Thereís a message being spread that says we need to make our land great again. I thoughtfully tilt my head and ponder: What made us great then and not now? When did we lose our greatness?

Being alert to the pain in this world should make us more empathetic, not long for the past when we werenít aware of it. We want everyone in their place where theyíve always been. We donít want new faces filling up our peaceful streets and tidily-lined houses, faces that donít reflect our own. We want to stay comfortable when we look out our windows, rose-colored glasses firmly in place.

My glasses are off for good. I am awake, alive and filled with wonder at our beautiful land. My life will go on no matter what tomorrow brings, but the pain of our brothers and sisters and every soul scattered across our land and the vast expanse of our world cry out to me. I hear them. Iím listening. I will never close my ears and eyes and regress to a time that I didnít know the whole story. Only in listening, affirming others experiences and embracing difference will our land become greater than it already is.

Published: July 25, 2016
New Article ID: 2016707259977