January 27, 2021

What the Heck Happened, America?

Here we are, weeks into Joe Biden’s presidency, and I would just like to ask a rocky question: What the heck happened to America? 

This is a country full of schools and universities and smart people, we have extremely efficient communications networks, and yet, somehow, millions of people still believe that the election was rigged.

We’re not out of the woods yet just because we elected Joe Biden. Yes, he’s a good man, yes, he knows how to politic, but why are these issues even an issue? I mean, we’re arguing about whether to sequester carbon and limit our emissions? We know by all the scientific evidence in the world that we’re harming our planet by continuing to emit emissions. This information is not controversial—it’s supported by data gathered by international scientists trained in the rigorous discipline of establishing facts without bias (also known as science). And yet this is fake news to some people; only their news is real news, apparently.

What the heck happened to America?

Joe Manchin, a senator from West Virginia, wants to limit our response to climate change so nobody in his state gets hurt economically. That was the story in The New York Times today. Manchin is a Democrat from a deep red state, so the only way for him to hold on to his job is to reflect the needs and wants of his people. And because he’s a “moderate” Democrat, his vote could be the deciding vote on much of Biden’s agenda, especially as it relates to climate change.

So why do the voters in West Virginia (a coal state) prioritize short-term economic issues over having a healthy planet and a sustainable economy?

It’s not just the voters of West Virginia—it’s all of us. We all participate in this economy, we all drink the Kool-Aid. We have all abandoned our common sense, to one degree or another, and traded it for opinions. Now, we’re unable to detach from our opinions enough to connect with each other and have a conversation. What is to be done?

We need to return to nature, feel the connection with life itself. We are just one organism on this planet. There’s a whole biosphere around us, composed of millions and millions of species.

We need to feel the healing energy of our Mother Earth. She has suckled us all these many years, going back to the genesis of the Homo genus two million years ago, and before that, she suckled our ancestors. She blessed our tribe.

This beautiful Mother Nature that we choose to malign, dominate, provoke, and decimate can bless us? Yes, and that’s what we need to feel.

I’m sitting right now under a maze of trees, in the dappled leaves, at the headwaters of the San Antonio River. Saplings go out into the distance, there is a tiny stream, vines growing, green plants, a trail. I can feel the kindness of Mother Nature as the light filters down through the leaves of the big tree nearby, illuminating and casting shadows on the ground.

Maybe we need to get out of our own brains and commune with Mother Nature, go for a walk in the park, go for a bicycle ride through the country, go spend a weekend in a national park, open the back door and smell the air.

We need a return to common sense, and maybe we need a return to the common senses—the sense of smell, the sense of vision, the sense of sitting on a forest floor amongst the leaves and the broken branches and watching the light falling down through the trees and the blue sky high above and feeling the love.


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