Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's As Billy Joel Sang During My Junior Year of High School, "We Didn't Build the Fire. It Was Always Burning."

I found myself singing a song I remembered from my high school days as I totally chose to avoid the world yesterday. Actually, I didn't avoid the world - I simply used the day to stay away from social media, television, and human interaction, so that I could catch up on grading, prepare for this weekend's and next week's conferences, and get my strength to maintain a calm when I reenter the world. In Joel's song, he sings,
We didn't start the fire / It was always burning / since the world's been turning / We didn't start the fire / But when we are gone / Will it still burn on, and on, and on
A graduate student did a neat exercise with our class on Thursday evening where she highlighted three historical events that happened on the same day (November 8th - the night of the election). On this day, she stated, Abraham Lincoln was elected for a 2nd term in his presidency, an attempt on Hitler's life failed, and the X-Ray was invented. She asked us to choose one and to write about how the world might have changed if these events did not occur. It was quite a prompt to kick-off a class, and I wrote about Lincoln and how I couldn't imagine my world without his promotion and success of emancipation proclamation. In fact, I admitted that the work I've done throughout my adult life directly results from Lincoln's leadership, albeit still central to the divisions in our country today.

I talked with a few friends from my past who have extreme opinions on both sides of the political spectrum, still trying to figure out which way the flame is burning. One of my friends said, "This has never been about hate, no matter what political party tries to get you to believe that it is. These reactions are based in fear."

And I think that is correct. Fear, although not one of the evil's flying out of Pandora's Box, is established by the others: sickness, death, turmoil, strife, jealous, hatred, famine, and passion. Today's fire, like those burning yesterday, have fear acting as a wind.

I finally turned on my t.v. late last night to catch up. I just shook my head, not because I am jumping into this side or that, but because the human condition continues. If we've ever felt it died for a second, we haven't been paying attention to our world.

As always, there's a tremendous amount of work to be done. For every 60 seconds we spend with hate and fear in our hearts, we lose 1 minute of making the world a better place.

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