I do, truly, believe that everyone wants to be good. I think it’s universal to want to be smart and savvy enough to handle the world and provide for the people we love. And I believe that most people feel that they know what “good” and “right” are, that these things are obvious, just like I do. But unfortunately, our definitions vary, sometimes hugely, ultimately hindering us from being able to relate to each other. So, knowing all this, why do I and the rest of the world find it so hard to get our shit together?
I mean, granted, I find it hard to be good sometimes, and I don’t have a billion eyes on me and every sentence I utter at all times. I want to be good, really. But sometimes I also just want what’s mine. What I think I’m entitled to. Basic things, like a full 7 hours of sleep, a working toilet, or the ability to not have to worry about some boogeyman enslaving my world. I think we can all agree, on any side of the political spectrum, that we don’t want to live in fear of some pendulous shadow of an encroaching evil. We’ll do whatever we can to strike back against what makes us afraid. And I sometimes feel that way with my own anger and frustrations: consumed with avoiding them, I forget about trying to do what is good, switching to what is necessary. To win. To exist. To feel good, because being good doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
It’s been a while since I talked politics in this space. In truth, a lot of that was me pulling away from that feeling of helplessness. On a technical level, yes, I am far from helpless. I can get out there and be more involved in politics, get people on my side, call my senators and representatives, etc. But I don’t, and realistically, I won’t. Not because I’m too good for it or it’s not my responsibility, but the same way I don’t plan on dropping everything in my life to suddenly become a doctor, a pledge to suddenly and drastically increase my involvement would be disingenuous to who I am and how I answer that starting question about what is good. Or more to the point, how I use my concept of “good” to help others. Which is not to say that I’m throwing my hands up. Rather, I see it as everyone’s responsibility, including mine, to do good in the best way we can, and to the best of our ability. The alternative appears to be unproductively seething at the information about our new Congress and Cabinet, Russian hacks, and all the shit that seems so scary that I want someone to tell me it’s a prank already and not as bad as it sounds and I hate it hate hate all this…. ughhggjgg!!!
See, this is what I’ve been avoiding. The hate hyperbole vortex, spiraling down a never ending drain of negativity. Especially when there is nothing productive about swimming in those waters. And I want to be clear about something: I want President Trump to succeed. Really, super badly. I would rather Trump be remembered as the best President we ever had. I disagree with him in almost every conceivable way, and yes, I feel I have very reasonable concerns about his administration given how he and his team have behaved in the days leading up to and after the inauguration, but I would rather he achieve greatness and prove me wrong than have all of my worst fears come true. I mean, the guy seems like a shit that should be flushed down the toilet, but for God’s sake, I’d rather America not be in the splash zone.
I mentioned previously that I need to be productive, and there’s nothing less productive than complaining or even trying to prove Trump wrong. There is something so frustrating about the unending pipe dream that the next beyond-the-pale comment, the next offense to our sensibilities, the next sign that he doesn’t even seem to want to be President, will be the Jenga block that topples the tower. But it never is. This isn’t a movie or story where that one perfect sentence changes everyone’s mind and saves the day. Everyone wants to make America great, but each with their own vague definition, and the result has been an America that feels… not so great. It feels more like it’s coming apart.
And this is why I needed to be productive elsewhere because none of this feels like the work of good.
Recently I started devoting my days to helping real causes I believe in. And now that I’ve gotten involved with people who need my goodness, bringing out the best in me, building the America I believe is great… I feel different. Better. Because crying for change in a world that’s moved on is pointless, and I was sick of feeling that way. So I got involved. And while it hasn’t made this Presidency any more palatable, I at least can now say: I can do this. We can do this. This is the real test of who we are, and this is our chance to do something that counts. To do good. To be good.
So let’s go.