Many people are lamenting about how divisive, and stringent, and confrontational, these times are, about how it has never been this bad—it has.
These are remarkable times, cataclysmic times, a time of hope, of change, of triumph. In America, these are times for achieving a more perfect union, a time of connection, a time to recognize our shared humanity, a time to repair the tears in our souls. And, most of all, it is a time for peace.
And all this is happening before our very eyes.
In America, the buried cesspool of hate, racism, misogamy, homophobia, structural racism, has finally been excavated; a virus that has infected America since 1619, when the first shackled slaves landed on our shores. But now, empowered by Donald Trump, trumpeted by Fox News, this slime has crawled out of the sewers, revealing their ugly, naked intent.
This naked slime, absent the dog whistles, enables us to confront and handle the cesspool. It’s hard to confront and battle forces you can’t see. Now, it’s out in the open, and that’s a good thing. People now bellow out their hate out loud, no more filters or dog whistles—“very fine people, on both sides” (Remember the day we learned Neo-Nazis were very fine people.)
So why do I call these the best of times? Let me count the ways.
- The battle to vote in states throughout the land was simply inspiring during the 2020 election. The right to vote forms the bedrock of our Democracy. We have this curious phenomenon in this country of politicians blocking people from voting…in a Democracy. How odd? I always found it hard to wrap my head around that. But in 2020, some waited in line for eight hours, insisting on their constitutional right to vote; some went to different polling stations because the one they always voted at was closed; some fought the new Voter ID rule tooth and nail to cast their vote. The yeoman work by Stacy Abrams to get people to vote rekindled our faith in civic engagement. Our nation, on the brink of fascism, fought for Democracy.
- The LGBT community is standing up and asserting their dignity and their rights.
- The marginalized, the 2nd class citizens, the underclass are insisting on their dignity and their rights, and there is no stopping them as they ‘fight the power’.
- With Roe vs. Wade on the chopping block, women are marching and lobbying to preserve their right to control their own bodies.
- A wannabe fascist was voted out of office. (How pathetic, a failure as a fascist, which aligns with his failure as a businessman—six bankruptcies, and his failure as a President.)
- Structural racism became part of the conversation. People started to confront the fabricated structures that spewed out racism, fascism, intolerance. It’s all related.
- The January 6th committee, in full throttle, is peeling off the layers of lies and obstruction, laying bare the plot to sabotage our Democracy, Trump at its helm, pulling the levers. This big reveal is all good.
- In a way, it’s good Hillary didn’t win. If she did, we would have drifted back into our complacency. The election of Trump forced us to realize Democracy is fragile, that it needs to be fought for every day. This was a realization that had profound effects, mobilizing massive groups to retake our Democracy.
- Our full history is now being excavated, and is now being taught throughout the land, all despite the book bans, and book burnings—yes, we now have book burnings. Books like the 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, by Nikole Hannah-Jones, are seeping into our classrooms, libraries, our consciousness, despite the attacks to suppress it. You can’t suppress truth. To achieve a more perfect union, the truth about our history must be told, as only the truth can start to heal the fissures of this nation.
- It’s becoming harder and harder for dictators to triumph. One of the weapons against fascism is social media, exposing crimes of dictators, as evidenced by Putin’s imbroglio in Ukraine. He doesn’t realize it yet, but Ukraine’s Democracy will ultimately prevail, no matter how many Ukrainians are murdered or jailed. It’s hard to bury, or arrest the ideas of freedom, of Democracy. You can’t put these ideas in jail; the force of these ideas is too strong. You can’t suppress the notion of freedom, as it is part of the fabric of our souls.
- Taiwan is presently in a battle with the repressive regime of China, asserting its right to be an independent Democracy. China operates under the delusion they can halt the idea of freedom, but unfortunately, that genie is out of the bottle. Taiwan will prevail.
Fascism requires scapegoats, enemies, and secrets; Democracy requires connections, dialogue, and transparency. Democracy always wins because its weapon is truth, and truth is the salve that will heal the world.
So, these are all good things, and it’s happening now, all over the world, in many shapes and forms. People are taking a stand and won’t be denied. Complacency is being shattered, and the seeds of Democracy and freedom are taking root. And there are thousands of other groups and movements, fighting for a more perfect union, breaking down the barriers that prevent us from embracing our common humanity. More and more, light is being shed on corruption, lies, structural inequities, and suppression.
These are the best of times. Humanity is swelling up as we realize that to conquer suppression we must trust each other, connect with each other, and by connecting, we empower both ourselves and others. It’s an eternal quest that can now come to fruition.
The dawn of peace is near.
It truly is the best of times, and now is the time…
Curt Strickland is one of the principal owners of Great American Art, an art and design company located outside Boston. Founded almost 40 years ago, Great American Art designs, manufactures and installs art throughout the country. Curt is also one of the principle photographers for Great American, specializing in landscape and cityscape images. His philosophy as an artist is embraced in GAPCO’s mission:
“Art should serve to heal, inspire, provoke, challenge and to offer hope – but most of all to connect… to remind us of our common humanity.”