Facing a New Dawn

 

The morning struggles

through the darkness of the night.

It pushes itself through the clouds

by the force of sheer will;

it brings its light to the dark;

it exposes the shadows from the past.

 

Where to from here?

Is there no place else to go?

Nothing else to see?

No new paths to walk?

No new skills to learn?

No new truths to embrace?

 

Then what use is this brain, this mind,

that was born to think and learn and do?

Is it just to lie tired and exhausted

under an avalanche of rocks and rubble?

Is it just to be pulled

from the garden of production

to will itself to die and rot,

buried in the graveyard

of dead and decaying thought?

 

I cannot go that quietly.

I will fight for the right to do.

I will fight for the right to be.

I will be more than I was yesterday,

more than I am today,

but less than I will be tomorrow.

 

 

                Like most of you who watch the day to day horrors of what is happening in our poor suffering world, I was shocked but not surprised by what happened in Washington on January 6th. Why this paradox? I knew it was definitely a situation created and ready to happen, so I was not surprised when it did. I guess I was shocked that the forces of truth and decency allowed it to happen. It should have been just a big show of cursing angry obscenities, waving confederate flags, followed by a peaceful dispersion, and people going home feeling they had fulfilled their patriotic duty to protest. Instead it turned out to be a big victory for the big lie.

                And what is the big lie. Well, it is not the obvious one – that Trump won the election – no, it goes deeper than that. It is not just the lie that black lives and indigenous lives do not really matter; it goes even deeper than that. It is not the lie that this pandemic is all just fake news even though millions are dead because of it. It is not the lie that we do not have to wear masks even though our breath may kill grandma and grandpa. It is not the lie that the vaccine that can save lives is just a money grab by the pharmaceuticals or another plot by THEM to plant microchips under our skin to control us.  Above all it is not the lie that people who believe in conspiracy theories are somehow the enemy who must be defeated and humiliated.

                The big lie is that we are individuals with individual rights and individual freedoms, and as long as we do not break any laws, we can do what we want. It is the belief that some laws can be ignored like smashing windows and terrorizing the House of Congress or the right to go as fast as we want on the highways even though we are endangering the lives of others. It is the belief that when someone beats and abuses women and children it really does not concern me. It is the belief that the thousands of people who die each year from suicides and drug overdoses perish because of their own poor choices, and it has nothing to do with me unless it happens to someone I love. It is the belief that my own economic choices and desires are more important than this dear Earth. The big lie is that we can believe what we want – even if it is a big lie – and do what we want – even if it hurts someone else. 

                So if that is the big lie, than what is the truth? The truth is that we are part of a society and what we believe, say, or do has to be based on a common set of beliefs or truths that we can all agree to and abide by. The truth is that all lives do matter, all lives, the lives of some of our indigenous brothers and sisters in Canada and our African American neighbors to the south who are suffering because they live on the fringes of our economy and our society. The lives of the mentally ill, who make up the majority of the homeless, matter. The lives of people in China, Africa, and Asia, matter. The lives of those who choose to break the law matter. The truth is that we can disagree without anger and hate and still work together to make this world a better place. The truth is that those who believe in a false set of information are not the enemy; they are just people who want something more out of life and need to be listened to with respect and compassion. The truth is that there has to be a set of rules that we must agree to and live by as a society if we are to survive as a society. The truth is that we can make conscious decisions based on a set of scientifically supported facts that we can discover if we try. The truth is that rules can be established based on ideals like justice, equality under the law, equal opportunity to partake in the economy, and the need to protect and assist the weakest in our society. The truth is that when one suffers, we all suffer, and when one prospers, we all prosper.

                When we see the big lie flourish and the truth suffer, it is a wakeup call to all of us, regardless of where it is happening in our brotherhood of societies. It is time to see the truth, not just our own truth, but the truth that binds us all together. It is time for all people of the world to act with compassion and purpose based on that set of truths. Life is indeed precious and the opportunities for advancement and higher levels of consciousness are out there waiting to be grasped. It is time to wake up, create, and enjoy a new dawn of civilization.

Lawrence J.W. Cooper

Poet Laureate, Comox Valley