If we want change, if we really want sanity and peace to return to our world (was it ever really here for long?), if we want the absurdities and injustices that we can catch on C-Span every single day to stop, we're going to have to change our fundamental view of what creates change, and what just fuels the fires of chaos.
Everywhere there are arguments. I turn on talk radio and I hear very reasoned, very rational views, and, against that background, I hear the vicious animalistic brutality of the 'opposition'; the 'other side'. It's not always the 'right' or the 'wrong' side, the 'left' or the 'right' side, that makes shrill noises. Sometimes it's both sides.
With such a model for disagreement, it's a great miracle that we are here still, a great wonder that art and music and happiness and joy still exist at all. A great amazement that we have not self- destructed.
I watched a show on TV (on PBS for Kids) called 'Clifford: Puppy Days', Clifford being a little tiny brown puppy. The show is all animated, and the colors are vibrant and deep. The beauty of 'Clifford' was that it was completely free of negativity, abuse, rancor, or even sarcasm.
It wasn't without conflict, though. There were moments of unhappiness, confusion, disagreement, and fear. But everyone in the show (from Clifford's little girl caregiver to her friends, from the grownups to the other little puppies) were working together to resolve the disputes, the disagreements, and the conflicts.
Of course, everything worked out fine, and I was left crying. I watched a few more similar shows, and then decided it was time to stop watching CNN and start watching PBS for Kids.
It would seem that I'm 'in denial'. I'd rather watch mind- numbing fantasy than real human beings being blown into tiny bits by powerful plastic explosives.
I got to thinking which was more 'real'. The show about Clifford, or the CNN bloodbath.
I decided that neither was reality at all. Reality is certainly never as simple as Clifford's little life. And it's not anything like CNN either. We never get to see what happens, years later, to the people whose lives are decimated by one disaster or another. We never get to live that. We do get to live out our own desperate miseries from time to time, but we lack the compassion and empathy necessary to care quite as much for the misfortunes of others.
So I decided I would live in a 'Clifford' world, a world of Puppy Days, where everyone was fair and honest and well- intentioned. When the bad guys came around, I'd just do what little Clifford does; run and hide under the sofa.
This lasted two or three days. I don't fit under the sofa. But I did make a discovery of extreme import:
There were far less bad guys.
The majority of the people I met were fair, and decent, and well- intentioned. Just like in 'Clifford'.
I had a good week.
It's common sense. It means that we make TV shows for our children in the image of how we would LOVE our world to be. SO THAT VISION LIES WITHIN EACH OF US.
It also means that when we live with those expectations, we change our values, and we attract an enormous amount of 'good stuff'. WE BECOME OUR CHILDHOOD DREAMS.
Believe me, I KNOW that life isn't nearly this fair. And I KNOW that it isn't this simple: watch 'Clifford' = be happy.
But it does tell me that I learn and I grow and I am at peace with the idea that most people on our planet are good, decent, and wonderful people. I've known that puppies and kitties are good, decent, and wonderful people for years.
I am not at peace believing that there is 'war without end'; I am not at peace hearing that 'they're out to kill us and destroy our way of life'; I am not at peace living with the certainty that 'the end of days' is imminent, and that when the last tree has fallen, judgment is coming. I am not at peace thinking that we should use up every last tree, kill every last bird, destroy every last bit of nature, just so some or other prophecy is fulfilled.
That is a very dark way to live.
I am going forth, from this day, to live in a world very similar in many respects to 'Clifford: Puppy Days'.
I won't be alone.
There are just tons and tons, oodles and oodles of people that are waiting to welcome me and make my acquaintance.
There's Millie the mail lady, and Frank the pharmacist, Mark the vocalist, and Fred the jazz- loving minister (all real people, by the way).
There's Sarah the saxophonist and Lois the neighbor (with her dog, Socks). There's Andy the lawyer and Tim the writer and Donald the comedian and Alex the piano salesman.
Frankly, I can't wait to start seeing those deep, vibrant, primary colors. I think it's already happening...