We were told to follow our dreams, we were told that courage is king, we were told to do the right thing; oh, the things we were told. Yet, if these were meant beyond platitudes, then tell me, who cared to show us how? We now live our ideals in fragments around what consumes most of our time. In the face of all that was said, a retreat into safety replaces our highest aspirations – what we believed as teenagers and what we heard at our graduation speeches. Did the adults in the room know? Or do graduations only exist as a cyclical flair of hope that this one, maybe this one, will have the courage to live their life as they imagined? Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
So, this must be where resentment is born and raised, is it? Remembering those years where anything is possible, and then refusing to recount each decision we fell into, taking us further and further away? Maybe we’ve retreated so far that we lash out at anyone with the courage to live and ask for anything different than what’s on the menu. This is the land of Dairy Queen, SUVs, and Little League games, not a bad life by any standard, but one void of the vision most of of once had; no one is 16 and dreaming of living without dreaming, having two weeks of vacation a year, with evenings spent falling asleep in front the TV (any channel will do).
Here, there is basketball, football, hockey, but there is no art. With subdivision after subdivision lined with house after house of the same cookie cutter mold, how could there be any art? Art is something not to be taken seriously because art is only meant for artists, not the physical therapists, not the bank tellers, and not the plant managers. Art is only meant for those who can feed it through capitalism, and we all know that only a few artists can actually make it.
Our neighborhoods have man-made ponds with flocks of geese, but we left ourselves no tools, no precedent for the expression and understanding of our souls; so when we are confused we are automatically angry. We are then so disconnected from anything human and so willingly tied to a line that pumps into our veins so much boundless interactions and information that nothing means anything at all. Do you now wonder why so many people in the land of the free voted for the angriest, most disjointed reflection of themselves they could find? Do you now understand why anything that seems like human decency doesn’t actually seem to matter? You have to feel human to act human, and here we are at the breakneck convergence of the mighty rivers all depriving us of it: mass market capitalism, mass erasure of the practice of art and culture, and the mass mind warp into our back-lit screens as a retreat from anything that might ask us to fully grow into ourselves as human.