There have been nights when the results of the 2016 presidential election have kept me up at night.
The reasons for my concern have been documented at length on my Twitter account, and I’m fortunate enough to not have to write a comprehensive post-mortem of the election thanks to David Roberts who painstakingly documented everything you could possibly want to analyze over at Vox.
But the election results are supplementary to the resurgence of public acts of racism and sexism in our society.
Our planet is in peril.
Narratives of dogmatic theocracy and rigid nationalism are dividing our neighborhoods and our global society.
The drums of authoritarianism and fascism can be heard in the echo chambers of the Internet.
We are experiencing several brazen assaults on civil liberties and one could easily make the argument that the United States is facing a state of constitutional crisis.
I can’t predict the full implications of the next four years of this administration.
It’s easy to default to despair. My fears are your fears.
But here’s why we shouldn’t wallow.
First, existential threats have always been with us. Thus far, despite unfathomable odds, we’ve managed to avoid nuclear catastrophes both intentional and accidental. Civilization has somehow miraculously managed to dodge asteroids hurtling through space, yet we still face the probability of a mountain sized rock entering the atmosphere tomorrow.
There would be little that we could do about it.
We’ve managed to avoid plague and deadly epidemics.
Eta Carinae might have exploded a few thousand years ago at the dawn of human civilization, but given the distance and the speed of light we can’t see how it already sealed the fate of our planet due to the searing gamma radiation of it’s bore radius.
The best we can do is shrug, drink tea, and listen to the laughter of friends in the interim.
Such is the nature of the universe.
Perhaps a more reasonable existential crisis is the one you never think about.
A peril that happens whenever you get behind the steering wheel of your car on any given day of the week.
All legitimate. All dangerous. All catastrophic.
All probable to differing extents. Some are more remote than others.
Trump is just a cherry on top of the apocalypse sundae. The only thing that this election has done is put a face on all of the hatred, misogyny, and corruption.
Now we’re forced to see the ugliness every day.
And the good news is that we no longer have to face this ugliness in the shadows. It has been with us all along, but is no longer hiding.
People of color have known this all along. It’s been rubbed in their face for a very long time.
The only thing that’s really changed in the light of this election is that now all of us white folks are being forced to deal with it.
We’re starting to live the reality of those we’ve neglected and isolated ourselves from for so long.
So accept the fear. Embrace it.
Your fear is trying to tell you something.
Listen closely, but don’t let your fear seduce you.
Don’t let it lull you into a state of nihilism, apathy, or paralysis.
Don’t let it convince you that there will be easy answers to the complex and interrelated problems of our society.
Don’t let it overwhelm you.
Action is all that matters. The fear that you feel unites us.
Right now. In this moment. We’re finding each-other.
Our mass consciousness is engaging us to mobilize and act on the right side of history.
For me, that means finding joy helping my fellow marginalized human beings.
It means trying to alleviate the suffering we are experiencing in the face of anthropocene mass extinction.
It means using crisis as an opportunity and using it’s urgency for invention.
Whatever good comes out of this era of history, it’s up to us to build it.
We have an opportunity to fight the rapacious greed of some members of our species who despite having everything, seek a never ending thirst for blood, power, and cruelty.
Our current industrial age models for economics and governance is breaking because it’s calcified and refuses to change.
Instead of innovating or changing anything, those in power are finding it easier to choose the Rot.
The Rot is the root of the problem.
The powerful play off our tribal biases so they can more easily divide an conquer us.
Much of our political debate is a distraction that prevents us from seeing just how vast the charade has infiltrated our lives.
They’ve created entire industries to manufacture our consent.
It allows them to rig the system with all manner of tricks including gerrymandering, voter suppression, denial of civil rights, and due process.
They’ve spent the last 40 years stacking all branches of government with people who kiss their rings.
It a system designed to grind those who dissent into a spiral of confusion and frustration, ensuring that their pillaging can continue unabated.
So remember that Trump is a symptom and not the disease.
He’s a servant of the thieves-in-law-industrial complex, a system that no longer distinguishes public servants from gangsters or businessmen.
The real problem is The Rot.
There are several themes I am going to write about in the coming months.
I’m going to write on how we can conduct modern dissent in an age of the surveillance state and write about how we can build a better model for global civilization.
We need a new post-capitalist economic model that avoids the perils of metastasizing in trends of neo-feudalism and kelptocratic oligarchy.
We need new systems of corporate and civil governance that uphold a higher standard of ethics, responsibility, and accountability. We need a civil firewall that works in the public interest.
We need new technology that will allow us to rehabilitate our planet and build a bridge for humanity to explore the rest of the solar system.
We need to ensure that new technology is not used by the powerful and inherently evil to subjugate, exploit, and deny human rights.
We need to overcome tribal prejudice in all its forms, be it religious, nationalist, or based on skin color.
We need to start organizing towards a constitutional convention that resolves these issues once and for all.
And sadly, we need to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
There are no guarantees that we will make these changes in time to avert catastrophe. Only time will tell if our species is a macroscale cancer inflicted upon Earth, or find it within ourselves to build a more just future for our fellow man and for all the other species on Earth who don’t have a voice.
To these ends, let us commit ourselves to a better future.
Let us build e a new garden of eden where our architecture is indistinguishable from the landscape.
Gone are the mountains of garbage left from the 20th century.
Our synthetically engineered microbes have metabolized and bioremediated all of the waste and toxicity previous generations left behind.
They’ve helped us harvest and recycle hundreds of years of waste at a scale that previous generations never could have dreamed of.
We will build an energy economy that makes fossil fuels obsolete. We will master the efficiency and architecture of the atom to harvest most of our energy through a diverse mix of solar, wind, and fusion power.
Our batteries will have enough charge to lasts for months. We will find new pathways to integrate superconductivity into our energy economy, and marvel at all of the other amazing enigmas of nature.
We will build advanced AI to work in distributed teams of humanoid robot nodes, seeding diverse ecosystems and shepherding wildlife as it helps us nurture our planet back to health.
We will use our knowledge of systems biology to help us resurrect species that were once forced into extinction by our carelessness and negligence.
We will use the power of nanotechnology and materials science to purify our water, clean the air, provide shelter, and give all of humanity such overwhelming abundance that nobody goes hungry or thirsty or suffers from disease.
A 3D printer in every home. Personal AI assistants and mixed reality working groups will give us the power to collaborate, create, and solve anything we can possibly dream of.
Every day we will connect and communicate with people from all walks of life around the globe.
Relationships and concern for the well being of one another will be the foundation of a better future.
Make no mistake, there will still be suffering, crime, and anomalous evil. But focusing on an age of abundance will help us reduce a tremendous amount of conflict between nations and between people.
Our society is will never be perfect, but it is possible to build an unheralded era of peace.
This world will arrive if we will it. It will arrive if we demand adaptation and if we demand more of ourselves.
It will happen if we seek meaningful relationships with those who are different than us and if we avoid the segregation of rigid tribalism.
This is what I sit with in my morning meditation. I remember these things.
I will remember these things when the inevitable news of some horrendous Supreme Court decision is passed once the fundamentalists stack the court with ideologues.
I will remember these things when congress continues to pass vile bills further shifting the burdens of corporate welfare on those struggling to make ends meet.
I will remember this with every time I witness an outstretched Nazi arm.
I will remember this every time I read or hear about someone who is beaten, imprisoned, or tortured.
I remember to offer these hopes to the candle that sits in the core of my soul.
Each morning, with every breath, I promise to find my fissures and fill them with the radiance of this singular dream.
Come the day of days, it won’t be extinguished.
For I am lantern, and there is much work to do.