September 2, 2014, Prescott- I will do my level best, in an hour or two, to write about Heidelberg. It’s a storybook town, which has also given the world a great deal.
Right now, though, my heart is heavy. I have read a lot of thoughts expressed by someone about whom I have come to care deeply. I have thought a lot about that person, and about others, for whom I also have come to care deeply, over the past few days. Our lives follow different paths, and are unlikely to naturally converge anywhere other than through our online exchanges of ideas. It’s similar with my real time friends. Each of us has either a full schedule, or is top heavy with self-initiated projects and activities. Being semi-retired, in terms of employment, I am in the latter category.
My heart is heavy, not because of any of the people for whom I care. The weight comes from knowing that the world, right now, is divided, in terms of leadership, between those who hate and would ravage their fellow people and those who are indifferent, dithering and self-absorbed. It seems that only the Pope in Rome, and a smattering of Heads of State, have not subscribed to one or the other of the above categories.
My heart is heavy because of the lack of concern for the common man. It has always been so, however. The Bystander Effect is well-documented, throughout history. Now, however, we see the Bystander Effect emanating from the highest levels of power. Abraham Lincoln, tired as he was and conventional as his thinking often was, nevertheless recognized his power to do what was best for the common man, and for posterity- and he pulled himself together, left what passed for his comfort zone, and did it.
Franklin D. Roosevelt overcame his antipathy towards Jews, his relative apathy towards Blacks and poor Whites and the self-loathing that stemmed from his crippling disease- and did what was best for humanity, both at home and abroad.
Winston Churchill snapped out of his fear-driven depression, scrapped his written letter of surrender to Hitler, and sent the British Lion roaring, alongside the American Eagle, into the maw of German power, rendering it useless.
We are in the year of the miasma- a river of blood in the Levant and Mesopotamia, a swelling of viruses in West Africa, a puffed-up would-be Czar for our times testing the resolve of his neighbours, whilst projecting his self-image of invincibility upon the world. The response of our leaders is to dither, to equivocate, and to project an image of indifference.
Perhaps my heart is heaviest, though, when I read, see or hear hateful comments by adults directed towards children. There seem to be a spate of these lately. I’m not talking about overwhelmed, put-upon mothers, who need, and richly deserve, relief. I am not talking about people trying to impart character to impressionable souls, occasionally slipping and using coarse language. I am talking about those who have forgotten what it was like to be a child, who are so wrapped up in their own experiences, casual relationships, accumulation of wealth, that any intrusion upon these is grounds for retribution. Those who would ban public breastfeeding, no matter how discrete; who would physically beat a child- or better yet, kill the “little beast”; those who yell at parents for bringing their children onto a public conveyance; those who gaze at images of little people being coerced into sexual activities- and worst of all, those who buy and sell children, for whatever nefarious purpose they have in mind. I could sloganeer, and shout that there is a “War on Children”. Hyperbole, though, does next to nothing to improve a situation, in the Age of the News Cycle.
No, we just need to recognize the overall miasma- The tide of indifference that runs through the arteries and veins of too many. We need to shout but one word: ENOUGH!; then we each begin to turn back the tide.