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The Red Line

We have sociologically, economically and environmentally crossed a red line: Will we fight each other like rabid dogs for the last scraps of remaining decency or quickly find a way to live together decently with what remains of the earth and each other?

Empty Car, Red Line. Washington, DC. (Photo: takomabibelot / Flickr)

“The Cold War is still with us. Because the ideological conflict that was the basis for it has not gone away. Because it can’t go away. As long as capitalism exists, as long as it puts profits before people, as it must, as long as it puts profits before the environment, as it must, those on the receiving end of its sharp pointed stick must look for another way.” -William Blum

I ride DC Metro’s Red Line most every day. It is the aorta, if you will, that pumps fresh blood into the nation’s capital. But the blood doesn’t seem so fresh these days, and the aorta itself seems to be crumbling, and the self-described leaders who dwell in the bowels of the halls of power seem mostly possessed of a zombie mindset that equates killing with problem solving, and destruction and rabid devouring with growth. It is a mindset from which they are clearly having trouble liberating themselves.

From daily observation of the faces that do not smile, the escalators and elevators that do not work, the trains that break down with a frequency that rivals the regular schedule, it is hard to not conclude that this nation’s pursuit of happiness has gone awry; that the infrastructure required for even modest advancement to a modest level of success – the infrastructure of education, health, transportation, housing – are all deteriorating quickly, and that what has commenced instead is a scramble for survival among the majority, while the elites – blithely unaware in their gated and perfumed worlds of alternate realities – ever more quickly rush to suck what life force is left out of the planet.

One might in fact go so far as to say that the vampires appear to have won. For we have sociologically, economically and – most importantly, in terms of climate change – crossed a red line, and whether we fight each other like rabid dogs for the last scraps of remaining decency, or quickly find a way to live together decently with what remains of the earth and each other, very much depends on what we do now. Our leaders have shown their moral bankruptcy: they have gone to the bank on money, power and careerism. They are not in fact our leaders anymore, because although they may deign to speak to us from time to time – dangling yet more commercially crafted bullshit-wrapped empty illusions in front of us – in fact, they are no longer of us. They are media creations living in media land. In actuality they have forgotten us. We should in turn forget them. We on the other hand have a chance, a real chance, as human beings with human hearts, as co-sojourners on a damaged planet, to directly seize the life they are so vampirishly sucking from us and from Earth.

Let each man, woman and child among us, wage a revolution. We must now disengage from the beasts – and tell them why. We must do it, not because we are revolutionaries, but because we want to survive, and we want the earth to survive as a garden, a park, a blessed wilderness for our children, and their children and their children’s children. The priesthood of science has failed us; the priesthood of money has failed us; the priesthood of priests has failed us; the priesthood of soldiers and their manipulating arms-merchants has failed us, and we, most of all, have failed ourselves. We stopped thinking. We stopped feeling. We gave our blood and bodies and almost our spirits to parasites and the parasites of parasites. And it is our fault – difficult though it be to wean ourselves from its anesthetizing, spirit-dulling comfort – it is our fault if we remain a part of what is killing us all.

So divest, yes, institutionally divest from the purveyors of lies and ecocide; but divest also personally – take personal responsibility – and divest as a family and as a community so that as the earth sustains you, you in turn sustain the earth. Divest from death and invest in life: Invest in community solar and community wind; Invest in community gardens and community greenhouses; put your life on the line to protect and take back the commons of the air, of the water and of the wild. If we do not, out life will be taken from us, for these are the things that truly sustain us: not banks, not predator drones, not the pomp and bizarrely blind circumstances of the faltering empire of bigger, faster and more. What will sustain us is each other and our decision to no longer be part of the killing machine. We can take back our lives, can take back Life. We can say no to the zombies, the vampires, and the monsters no matter what they call themselves and no matter how slick their manners. We can say yes to life, yes to beauty, and yes to the simplicity and endless bounty of caring and sharing.

The Red Line has been crossed. It is a dangerous time. As it is, prospects are grim; the world is shifting to a climate from hell, and the powers that be are mostly just accelerating that demise; but if all of us, most of us, even many of us reach out, and grasp each other’s hands, we just might make it across.

“An alternative, sustainable world is, of course, where resource regeneration is at least as great as resource depletion. It’s a world where emissions are no greater than the ability of the planet to absorb and process those emissions. Of course it’s a world where the population is stable or maybe even decreasing; where prices internalize all costs; a place where no one is hungry or desperately poor; a place where there is true enduring democracy.”

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Department of State or the U.S. Government.

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