The Last Call to Arms

Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash
Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

It is a sign of the speed at which events are moving that our communities continue to struggle even after such a decisive victory in the never ending war on fascism. Our victory was costly and well-earned. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere marched with us. The horrors of battle hardened our faces, numbed us to the suffering of others, and fully-taxed our resolve for democracy. Our pains and injuries are in full view. The tide has turned, yet our beaches remain polluted. As the enemies of democracy retreat, conflict wains and we must note the calls for self-destruction as we take great strides to secure the promise of democracy for millennia to come.

This challenge will not be easy. It will require us to resolve our external enemies and confront the threats to democracy within ourselves. It is not a challenge for the weak. It is not a challenge for the unlearned. It is not a challenge for the unkind. It is a challenge to the best of ourselves. It is a challenge that will require a continued vigilance against the scourge of demonization.

Even now, as we mark yet another peaceful transfer of political might, our communities host groups of individuals attempting to hold our democratic processes hostage to the fear of violence and vandalism. Their celebrations of fear stain our hearts. They celebrate the violence in our streets, in the hallowed halls of our democratic institutions, and even amongst our own children. They desperately cling to the big lie that ‘only might makes right’ and repeatedly fail to recognize the bitter corruption of their own hearts.

Unsatisfied with the resolutions of our democracy, they place full measure in subverting the will of the people. Where their tools of violence and vandalism fail, they turn to the violence of greed, short-selling our collective futures to satisfy their own vanity. They cast us into apocalyptic visions where only they can save us; for a price. They have become addicted to the suffering of others.

They have corrupted our attention. They have leveraged our interest in conflict to overwhelm our senses. Yet as we push back against this malign influence, we must take even greater measures to pull them closer to our own hearts. We must pull them closer to the fact that together, we are not alone. We must pull them closer to Love. Love dares us to change.

The many eyes of the world are upon us, listening to our churning.

It is painful and difficult, but we must resolve to welcome our former foes with open arms, and we must teach them how Love defeats corruption. They’ll have to learn just like us, and that’s the hardest way.

Sometimes it can be hard to put a name to a face, but it’s always easy to recognize friends.

Without our challengers, our world is flawed and incomplete, like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone.

Together, we must reject prior generations’ tournaments of lies.

Then we must enlist their help to destroy this world.

Maybe it’s karma, maybe it’s practice, but these apocalyptic visions are nothing new.

Capitalists, Criminals, and Agents of Chaos have been divining the end of the world as we know it for ages. Parroting themselves into frenzies. More often than not, or at least more than we’d care to admit, they have fulfilled their predictions.

If there is one truth we have firmly established, it’s that humanity is the destroyer of the worlds. This is the fear our elders grew by. The message keeps getting clearer.

This is what we do, and we’re not stopping.

Whether it’s providence, coincidence, competence, or impotence, even with the aid of history, it’s still hard to count how many cataclysms we’ve survived together.

Each generation passes stories, warnings, and reminders on to their children and their children’s children, with the hope that with their help, we can save ourselves once again.

Coyote taught us that while fire destroys, it warms us through the winters. Noah taught us that when oceans rise, we build boats. Odysseus taught us that the ending of war is not the end of our stories. The Mayans taught us that as empires fall the world keeps spinning. Eve taught us that we already have the things we need to survive, each other. And while it’s inevitable that some stories remain lost to the ages, the stories we keep keep us together.

Were these teachers with us today, there is little doubt that each of them may look upon this newer world as something alien. Yet were they with us, we could still look up together and trace our journeys together through the same constellations.

The vain queen, the hunter, the drinking gourd these seemingly cold and distant groupings of stars light our way forward as we share the warmth of our sun with our world’s better half.

Were these stars looking down on us, they would see us waving, flaunting our knowledge of their ancient brightness, and making promises to share our light in return.

It’s in these promises of darkness that we can more fully see ourselves; we can ready ourselves with rest to sit in the morning sun and watch the next tide.

Everything still remains the same; we know few things, but we know them well. We are all bound to the same earth, bonded by the same gravity to fall, and blessed by our own hands to rise.

These reminders never hurt.

And as we continue to rise, we graffiti our stories of survival upon the walls of history like endless rain. Over and Over and Over again, we give ourselves the gift of a refrain that “starting today, tomorrow is anew.”

This new dawn comes with quickness and hardship, teaching us again that as we greet each day, there comes a time for our sun to escape the horizon and continue its rise; shining more fully upon ourselves, our friends, our families, and our pieces of earth.

And as our favorite sun burns through the sky, we toil at our pieces of earth, readying this world for our children’s renovations.

We remark to our progeny the rivers we forded, the valleys we sowed, the mountains we moved.

We impress upon them the burdens of the ages. We lend them our hands, and we clasp theirs as tightly as we can for as long as we can. We strum their pain. We push them to fly.

Then as our days fade, it’s our turn to entrust them the light.

These next steps will be difficult. I guess we’ll just have to adjust. It’s easy if you try.

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