Holy hell the world appeals to me. For the last few nights, I have been up at night until ungodly hours just trying to lift my mind out of my head. In the fleeting moments between consciousness and dreams, I can fly through the photos in the newspapers and relive my old adventures. I was lucky enough to live in Mexico for a couple of months- with a family in Cholula (no connection to the hot sauce). Day after day, my Spanish developed as I chatted with bartenders and street vendors, waiters and students. It was in Mexico that I determined my own dream: Escape the American dream. I will not evaluate my success with cars and big screen tv’s. But, if my bank accounts won’t show my worth, then what will?
The New York Times has a video hosted on their site that attempts to espouse the horror of the drug trade/gun trade interaction between the United States and Mexico without showing anything truly disgusting. It’s a rather beautiful piece that attempts to make every person in the U.S. who has ever smoked a joint feel the impact of their actions. Moral of the story, the U.S. is paying to try and halt the drug trade at numerous points (e.g. destroying crops and implementing stronger border support) but, at the same time, we are purchasing the drugs that keep the trade afloat. Oh our conflicted values. It reminds me of the Woody Allen movie Bananas- The United States sends troops into San Marcos, a country in turmoil. Half of the U.S. troops are fighting for the current government while the other half of the troops represent the revolution. When pressed, the soldier responds that “the government isn’t taking any chances this time”. In the drug trade, the U.S. population is foolishly fighting for both sides. And for our own safety, the average Joe should probably just avoid the whole situation anyway. These murders are real.
On the other side of the world, North Korea continues to do what North Korea does. With their new missle capabilities (potentially to Alaska and Hawaii), anxiety levels rise. Soon, the fear is that our lives are in the hands of some crazed leader with his finger on the trigger… although I guess this is truly always the case in politics. Are we really so violent a human race that only the threat of annihilation prevents catastrophic destruction? That sentence reads so ugly in my mind.. but I fear it is valid.
It feels like even minor human successes are construed to be disappointments. In Africa, marine bioligists managed to save more than 20 beached whales. Granted, there were 55 beached whales, so many animals died. The headline: “South Africans Dozens of Beached Whales”. And this was a story that I deemed rather positive as I read through the pages of the paper.
To return to my original idea, how will I measure my success if I don’t use riches? Can a single person even make a dent in the issues that I mentioned? To address the first question, I will assume that the second is necessary. And I answer- yes. Absolutely a single person can make change. Large, grandiose change. But the first step in this change, this answers the first question, is that a person must see, truly see, the problems. Not read about them or listen to some expert. Once I become a part of the problem, I live it, then the next step is making a positive difference. Sometimes, my influence will be null. But the situation is not worthless if I was alive and attempting the betterment of what we call life. The experiences will be my ruler- and I only hope that I can measure enough not to let myself down.