Naive Idealism

If you read the news, it's been a particularly horrifying couple weeks. Between Ferguson and the Gaza situation and ISIS, it's a wonder any of us can even get out of bed. It's not difficult to find depressing stories day-to-day, but we seem to be in a perfect storm of anger and pain and loss at the moment. Today they're having the funeral for Michael Brown and it's hard to know what to say. I have never really considered myself a voice in these matters, so pontificating seems tasteless. The only solace I can muster is that it takes heartbreaking moments like these to see even small increments of progress. These are the moments that shift the culture and shape our collective perspective. Even when justice seems to be absent, the world's psyche starts slowly evolving. I know a lot of people will/should say "But did Rodney King and Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant really change anything?" Here we are again and it seems that very little is different" and they're right. I can only say that we live in a country where people are afraid. To me, that's what prejudice is: fear. Fear of losing grip of the status quo, fear of having a lifestyle we're not comfortable with imposed upon us, and that ever-present primal distrust of a cultural tribe that we don't belong to. These moments in history are what we use to remind us that we are all in this together. Regardless of race, sexual orientation, creed, we are all in this big ocean liner together and changing directions is slow and frustrating but as we shift our perspective, I'd like to think that we would start seeing ourselves as one wonderfully diverse group, as opposed to a collection of different groups, all inhabiting the same planet. It sounds so naively idealistic when you say it out loud but what other options do we have? I suppose I'd rather chase naive ideals than embittered resignation. Alfred North Whitehead once said "No period of history has ever been great or or ever can be that does not act on some sort of high, idealistic motives, and idealism in our time has been shoved aside, and we are paying the penalty for it." He said that in 1944. I guess we're still paying the price.