Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a few very short thoughts for Ferguson

When you look at me, you see a little, elderly lady, lots of laugh lines, thinning hair changing from blonde to dishwater, a neck full of wrinkles, bony knuckles, and a waist that’s thicker than I’d like. I’m even shorter than I was back in college and old enough to be someone’s grandmother. Oh, and I’m white, but even that is speckled with scars and age spots I’ve collected along the way. Basically, I’m not that much to look at. Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t.

Because that is not me. It's the home I've lived in and it hasn't always looked like this. At one point I couldn't walk or talk or take care of myself at all. I've come a long way since then. This body of mine is only slightly more permanent than the pyjamas I wear every night. I do, however, identify with it and appreciate it since I don't change it daily. I've taken care of it and I've abused it--just ask it about the knee and wrist surgeries.

That's me with my friend Geny. We are sporting our aging tents. She is one friend who lived and believed the reality that we are not the tents we inhabit. We are so very much more.

Somewhere things went wrong and people got off track. What started as maintenance and looking after a temporary shelter for the duration of our lives has turned into an obsession with keeping it attractive and impressive to the point that it must not ever be something we move out of and beyond. The value of caring for our tents is obvious. Shabby tents with holes are not as functional as water-tight, sturdy tents. How did we end up so worried about our tents that we completely forgot that we have mansions under construction?

Forgive me, here. I have been accused of being a conspiracy theorist and I do suspect a conspiracy here. Back at the beginning, tents were perfect and did not deteriorate. But the souls who lived in those tents made a critical decision that started the gradual weakening and break-down of the basic structure of tents. A future plan for tent alternatives was briefly explained, but unheeded.

Tents were doomed from that time. But the instigator of tent demolition decided to use the very fact that tents were doomed to reinforce how important they were. He used a truth: that we need to look after our tents or face serious consequences, and turned it into a lie: that these tents are all we’ve got so they are our top priority.

The perpetrator then went a step further and realised that with people making tents their top priority, it would be a clever way to cause separation, divided interests, and potentially, war. One obvious characteristics of all tents is their colour. Visible, identifiable, and superficial. But tents are superficial, we live inside them. We are not them.

The rest is history. His plan was brilliant. Skew a simple truth. Add an obvious lie on top of that. Reinforce it with plenty of repetition. Voilá.

Now people the world over are killing others, judging others, hating others, maligning others, all on the basis of the colour of their tents. 

He is not just smiling, folks. He is laughing out loud.

No comments: