I wrote this on my website Columbus Day Riot, after the 2000 Presidential election. Still seems relevant :)
The Path Above
In the long scope of Western Civilization, there have always been those committed to lives of pain and angst:
"There is an ancient story that King Midas hunted in the forest a long time for the wise Silenus, the companion of Dionysus, without capturing him. When Silenus at last fell into his hands, the king asked what was the best and most desirable of all things for man. Fixed and immovable, the demigod said not a word, till at last, urged by the king, he gave a shrill laugh and broke out into these words: `Oh wretched and ephemeral race, children of chance and misery, why do you compel me to tell you what it would be most expedient for you not to hear? What is best of all is utterly beyond your reach: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best for you is - to die soon.'" (Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, page 42).
These folks are still around and kicking, even to this day. For them, life is a battle. A hunt. A quest to overcome the enemy and win at any cost ... the health of the Republic be damned:
"George W. Bush will be the next president of the United States, regardless of what any court, including the U.S. Supreme Court, rules ... The issue isn't whether the Florida supreme court's unconstitutional decision goes unaddressed, but whether the Republicans in the Florida legislature and Congress are committed to enforcing the federal Constitution and, thereby, ensuring that Bush is the next president."
The focus here is on victory, and on winning. It is based on fear of the enemy, on fear of the other ... and fear of what horrors they're capable of (taking away abortion rights, or one's right to own 15 shotguns). It is a philosophy based on fear, premised on fear and capable of nothing positive.
This life-path is shallow and, in the end, utterly meaningless. Life should be filled with joy, with happiness ... the pursuit of vital powers along lines of excellence in a life affording them scope.
There is very little of this happening in our nation today. Our society has degenerated -- we debate minutiae, we argue over meaningless pablum, we react with fear in our hearts, and we continue our descent to the lowest common denominator.
There is joy and passion to be found in life.
This joy doesn't require strife or conflict, or thinking less of others. All it requires is following the calling of your heart.
What joy lies in your heart? What do you truly and deeply care about? What brings meaning to your life?
Does the result of this Presidential election really matter that much? Is it worth sacrificing integrity, dignity and tradition over? (Playing it to the wall may work in the short term, but where does it really get us?) Does this election matter more than the basic needs of our society -- educating our children, housing and feeding our people, and providing all Americans a vision of America that they can feel actual pride and hope in?
These are the parts of life's journey that truly hold meaning. All else is a sideshow -- it's irrelevant. If we can't provide a better and more noble life for our people, then what the hell is the point!?
We must find our common heart in this nation before it atrophies away, and we must find our common spirit in this land before it is sold to the highest bidder. We must, once again, come together and work to create a more perfect union. We owe it to future generations to leave them a land that is better, kinder and wiser. We owe it to our progenitors not to waste their gifts, or squander the fruits of their struggles. We also owe it to ourselves.
Above all, we owe it to ourselves.
All the hatred, violence and partisan strife isn't making us any happier. It's not providing more meaning in our lives. It's not making a better world for our children.
Whatever the results of the election, we must come together and work to make our nation proud of its people again. In the big scheme of things, these guys are also irrelevant. What matters most of all is that we call upon the better angels of our nature, and create a better world -- one step, one child, and one community at a time.
Erik Schimek is looking forward the possibility of another Bush Presidency -- he owns a mess of stock in Comedy Central. Even Bush's most dumeth plans for education won't ruin his day, 'cause he's too wily and smart for the guy. Local control rocks!