Walking my dog on the Asheville streets with my new hearing aid, I experienced the beauty of new sounds, including a chorus of birds. Of course, there’s the other side: I can’t avoid the jarring noises like the city bus and trucks as they roar past my house.
I wonder. Life simply goes on, things happen, the good and the bad, whether we are conscious of it or not. We may not be aware that the goodness and beauty of life is present as we struggle to survive and thrive in our world of uncertainty. Or are unconsciously not aware of the terrible pain and suffering of the world.
As a nation, we need some form of hearing, seeing and thinking aids that help us recognize there are powerful forces bringing forth progress. The dreams of a more just and peaceful future are great motivators. Without hope, it’s easy to become cynical, bitter and tired by the second half of life — the point where hopefully our experiences develop and mature with more freedom and responsibility.
I applaud Mountain Xpress’ dedication to local issues. But recognize that local issues are influenced by the national and global world, especially when talking about education, homelessness and justice or peace. This necessitates that we inform ourselves of the deeper meanings of our political, economic and war-making American way of life.
For example, did you notice that during the threatened “shutdown,” there was no mention of cutting military spending? In fact, military spending continues to increase, despite efforts from our local Reject Raytheon group’s attempts to inform us of some hard-to-face truths. Supporting the military-industrial complex’s arms race is a reckless way to create jobs.
Another informative letter pointed out the crisis of the mentally ill in the Burton Street neighborhood [“Asheville Needs Organized Solutions for Homeless Situation,” March 29, Xpress], and an Asheville Watchdog article [“The Justice System’s Revolving Door”] quoted Michael Casterline suggesting, “Trying to fix the mental health problems of the world … with the criminal justice system is like fixing a car with a sewing machine.” And Ken Jones writing about “Cop City” suggested that “policing has been used to criminalize the homeless” [“We Don’t Need ‘Cop City,” April 26, Xpress].
I don’t have to tell you something is wrong in America. Deep down, you know. Many blame the government or Republicans, Democrats, always pointing fingers, scapegoating others. Those participating in the January violence knew something was wrong but chose to follow an authoritarian who denies the 30-plus court decisions against his claim. The way to security and happiness is through violence? What public school taught them that?
We grow up in a country run by politicians and the wealthy who manufacture weapons of destruction that will kill babies and the innocent with the lie it makes the world safe for children to grow up in.
My hope is in the younger generations. Yes, many are not able to actively participate or study history, science or the great thinkers of the past, but each of us can do are small part: Be kind and respect differences, while informing ourselves of the meaning of life.
Let’s pay more attention to what I’ve called “Life-Long-Learning.” Read, study and act in some way, through your church or one of the many active local groups to change our society. It’s a lifelong job that benefits yourself as you expand your spiritual awareness of what it is to be human. What you do today will determine the future you and our children will live in. It’s like having a “hearing aid”: You’ll get to recognize an ever-increasing appreciation of the good, the beautiful and the true. This letter is my clumsy way of participating. It’s taken me a lifetime, and I’m still learning.
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— Ed Sacco