“Don’t worry, ‘bout a thing, cuz every little thing gonna be alright…”
The club band on the ship was in the middle of that number when I walked around the pool deck yesterday at the sail-away happy hour. It was a beautiful late afternoon in Greece—a little cooler and breezier than the brutally hot weather of previous days—and the perfect recipe for Bob Marley’s sentiment. Everything, down to the last detail, was not just going to be all right, it already was.
Except I had just come from a fresh dose of headlines. Canada’s leader is insulted as weak and dishonest, while North Korea’s is treated as a friend. Children are torn from their parents at the border and kept in atrocious conditions. The support network for Americans ( social security.affordable health care, etc.) is being undermined. Equity, fairness, and diversity are scorned, and ugliness towards fellow human beings is upheld, and sometimes even encouraged. Regulations protecting the environment and consumers are gutted to make sure nothing gets in the way of the rich getting richer.
I plan to stay away from politics in this blog, but I want it to be an honest record of my Year of Living Travelly, and that requires at least occasional acknowledgment of the emotions I feel at a remove of many time zones, as I watch what seems to be the deliberate unraveling of the values and institutions that have been the strength of my country and its relationships with the world.
Bedrock becomes shifting sand when our world is assailed daily by the malice, pettiness, and childish tantrums of the most powerful person in the world. And though he may, despite his insistence to the contrary, not be the best and the brightest, he has unleashed some of the worst and the brightest (and a few utter dunces) to do their mischief on the domestic and world stage.
And the most frightening part is that it’s not just him. Republican politicians gloat at a changed landscape that permits them to act with astonishing meanness of spirit and dishonesty of intent towards the people they are supposed to represent. World leaders antagonistic to democracy see openings they could hardly have dreamed possible to destabilize alliances among western nations and undercut democratic institutions. Unparalled opportunities exist now to shape the world to benefit the one percent, and in their wake, leave an unlivable world for the poor and an unstable and more seemingly hopeless world for the rest of us in the middle class.
No need to pile on here. I just wanted to say that at most being so far from home makes the present reality more of a drone in the background than the buzz saw it must feel like back in the states. But the drone is still always there. Tell me, Bob Marley, is every big thing going to be all right too?