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Calvin: When I grow up, I’m not going to read the newspaper and I’m not going to follow complex issues and I’m not going to vote. That way I can complain that the government doesn’t represent me. Then, when everything goes down the tubes, I can say the system doesn’t work and justify my further lack of participation.

Hobbes: An ingeniously self – fulfilling plan.

Calvin: It’s a lot more fun to blame things than fix them.

That was written more than 25 years ago. It fits the world I see around me now. It’s tempting to ignore it all. Income Inequality, Corruption, Racism, Cruelty, and Hatred seem to be everywhere. The sight of them is always sickening. People argue about the science that tells us that the climate of the earth is changing and represents a threat to our survival. They attack 16 year old girls who want to try to avert that catastrophe before it’s too late, and they invent covert motives for her. They’ve made Science into a partisan issue, as though Gravity were a left leaning lie. We search for dubious facts to support our preferred beliefs instead of accepting the reality that Science shows us. I want to turn away from it all and just read old comic strips. But even those alert me to the fact that, if I’m going to be here on Earth, I have a responsibility to try to make things better.

And, I am trying.

I write a blog that’s been viewed just short of 3,000 times. I was proud of that for a time. Sometimes, when my depression lets me up off the mat for a moment, I still am. I have started a podcast in which I discuss issues of the day and read the occasional short story. I comment on posts on Facebook. I talk with my roommates. I try to spread my Idealistic ideas everywhere I can. And… very little changes.

The little voice in my head whispers, “You’re wasting your time, Fred. Go smoke a bowl, read a book, watch a movie, take a nap, teach your classes, and hope that no one hurts you. It’s enough just trying to make rent every month. Remember that “…just surviving is a noble fight,” as Billy Joel taught you 43 years ago.”

That seems like the thing to do. I can’t seem to make a difference anymore. Few people read what I write, and an alarmingly few listen to my podcast. (I have only 2 plays on my last episode, and one of them is my best friend who hasn’t even finished it. Even my roommates don’t listen to it.)

How can I make a difference? If I can change just one mind, or even get just one person to consider things from a different point of view, maybe, just maybe, I have not lived in vain.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson

If you read something of mine that makes a difference to you, please share it with someone else. Discuss it. Why am I right? Where am I wrong? What is a better way to think about the issue? This way I don’t have to feel the futility of shouting into the darkness of an empty cave. You encourage me to keep trying.

These are the things I believe, and the things that I would like to see everyone believe.

  1. Everyone deserves the basics of a decent life. Which are the people who deserve to die for lack of money?
  2. We must eliminate human suffering in all the ways we can.
  3. Love and Kindness, born of Empathy, are the Highest Form of Humanity.

If you believe those things, too, perhaps you could help to spread those ideas among your friends, and we could become what a Republican President once suggested, “… a kinder, gentler America.”

Captain Kirk told me that the three most important words we can say to someone are not, “I love you,” but “Let me help.” I’ve done what I can for the moment. I hope to find the courage to keep trying. I hope you will do the same.