Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"A Change is Gonna Come," one way or another

How in the world did we Americans become a gun-toting nation? Because of fear about our safety, or because some have decided to take control of what little we can control? After all, for most Americans, the American Dream is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Are all police really as belligerent and aggressive as some we have sometimes witness? No, some are highly compassionate and honest, but some individual police and police departments have severe issues. Prejudice and bias reign, and some police react too quickly in response to their fears - or quotas.

We have more depressed, anxious people in our nation than ever before, whether we have better systems of diagnosing and reporting, or whether it is true. The past 50 years of our American economy, the myths about freedom, democracy, and equality along with guns and mental health problems, have all created our current crisis.

We need more nurturing, beloved communities where people care about their neighbors and watch out for each other and their kids. The extended family has gone by the wayside with our continued high mobility, and many people are often lonely and stressed by financial, physical, emotional and spiritual issues. Excellent, new technologies may separate more than connect us.

The disappointment, disillusionment and rage that grows out of poverty, racial divides, economic insecurities, and fear about the future of the planet, all churn within us. We feel helpless so often that we sometimes develop compulsive behaviors and act out against each other and ourselves while trying to manage these enormous stresses. Many experience shame and harsh judgement.

This is a recipe for disaster. Some votes rarely make a difference given our antiquated, American electoral system. The rich run this oligarchy and elections go to those who follow the rules outlined by their benefactors, until they, too, realize they are no longer public servants but puppets, controlled by money. And,  we and our ancestors are all complicit in the way things are. 

Some cry out for a revolution.  What can we do to change the tide, to improve our health and create new, more effective ways of dealing with each other and our world?

Take the money out of politics. Develop gun/weapon regulations and enforce them for all people. Take care of the homeless, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and children, providing mental health services to all who need them. Deinstitutionalize our prisons full of people who have been violated by law enforcement and judicial sentencing. Rehabilitate people. Decrease the huge gap between the incomes of everyone. Bring hope that “ a change is gonna come (song by Sam Cooke)".  Easy to say and very hard to do.

I certainly don’t have all the answers about how to change each of these systems to create a better life for all people. But, I do know that if we band together and work toward some common goals, we have the power to make healthy changes, one person/system at a time. 

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