It’s hard to come home after being in Africa for two months in ways it never was before. All my life I’ve gone and come, often for long periods of time. Coming home was always the screenplay of happiness, refreshing yourself in everything familiar and wonderful.
Now when I return the airports, the grocery stores, the gas stations, the monthly board meetings for organizations, the weekend events – they are all frighteningly different. The people who make them have grown inwards and weary. Resignation is everywhere.
Americans don’t realize how much they’ve changed and that is the most terrifying thing of all. Their spirit has diminished. I can’t help thinking about the haunting movie, Melancholia, as exactly the state America finds itself in today.
Today is supposed to be a day of youth mass protest, led by the courageous high school students of Stoneman Douglas in Florida. The demonstration was announced before I left two months ago. People were excited and enthused that “hundreds of thousands” would participate.
Today’s NPR mentioned “thousands.”
Who is holding the storm cloud over America? What nefarious interests, lobbyists, spies are suffocating our spirit?
The answer is ourselves. There is no Putin or alt-Right or mendacious billionaire keeping us down. It’s our own volition, coopted by just enough of the “good life.”
Wake up, America. It’s not pretty.