“We could’ve saved the Earth, but we were too damned cheap.” – K. Vonnegut
I’ve been thinking about this quote often in the past few weeks.
I always wanted to be a hero when I was a child, I just didn’t understand what the cost of heroism was. As I got older, I had to temper that desire as my understanding of heroism deepened. But I never stopped wanting to be a hero-to be someone who genuinely saved others. I was just hoping it would not come at the cost of everything.
I know this year has been devilish for so many people; difficulties personal, fiscal, social, political. Just shy of terrifying, I would say although they might just go all in on being terrified and I would understand that, too.
And it has broken my heart more than once, just this year. Because we wielded so much power and we could’ve saved the Earth….but we decided to do something else. Worse, I think we decided to do because we bought into the idea that our ability didn’t involve responsibility.
Hope is a funny thing, though. And I hope that my fellow citizens will rise to this occasion. I think we can save the world-save ourselves, even-if we just participate.
I’m an adult now: I know that everything costs. Participation and engagement cost, doing the right thing costs, caring about people and their well being, since we have so much, that costs. But there’s more than ourselves at stake. Our honor and ideals-intangibles that we cannot ever reclaim, should we sell them-and the lives of people, something else we cannot get back, should they be sacrificed, are on the line. It feels like we could lose everything, heroism or no.
People-particularly vulnerable people- are scared. Smart people are scared. We have real problems to solve and the will to solve them has not been exerted. Has been shunned, which is even worse, when I think about it.
But I still want to be a hero. I hope that other people do, too. And I hope that they all become voters – active participants in the work of citizenship in America. However much they can help, they help-but at the very least, as voters: People who don’t just check a party line but actually try to understand what they are doing and the consequences for it are. Who rise to the call every time. Because that’s what heroes do.
Tomorrow is Election Day. Let’s be heroes but if we can’t be heroes, then let’s at least be engaged. Get out there, vote. Then let’s get a beer at the West Coast Grocery.
Because the Age Of Wonder fresh hop ESB is absolutely delicious. The nose is green and grassy, but it gives way to a lush maltiness that makes this beer incredibly easy to drink. Just enough C30 malt to give it some copper color and a really low key finishing bitterness, both malt and hop influenced. I would have another, but I really need to turn my ballot in. It may not be heroic, but it is my responsibility, so I’m taking it on.
Today’s second pint goes to the HIAS.