During a brief phone call, an urban friend of mine, remarking on the recent Paris attacks, said, “Maybe moving off the grid wasn’t so crazy, after all.”
It was a throwaway line. Not to be taken seriously. Not really. On the other hand, it was not said as a joke, either. It was more like a self-reflection, a musing, a reconsideration of her previous take on our decision to move out of the city. She was clearly still processing what she deemed as relevant-to-her news and, with the other part of our discussion (the Syrian refugees), it was indicating a shifting of some sort of position on the politics of things.
That little comment indicated something personal and profound and I would venture that it was some kind of hardening of resolve, some sort of defensive preparation, some sort of weakening of her tendency to sympathy and a strengthening of her resistance to whatever it was she felt needed strengthening. It wasn’t fight or flight, it was much more subtle than that, but it was along those lines.
The terrorists are having an effect and they have even reached a woman in Vancouver as safe as anyone could be.
But…she is wrong – not only to think that way but to allow them to influence her in any way.
There is no question that we, in the west, have a problem on our hands. We are getting a lot of new brown people. Most brown people are just fine, like all people…only browner. Just as we have our white supremacists, bigots, bullies, Hell’s angels, Marc Lepines, mafia and religious zealots, so do they have their ISILs, terrorists and Islamic versions of Charlie Manson.
They are not all that different from us. Just brown. So, there will MORE of us.
And, sadly, Nature has seen fit to include a portion of anarchists, murderers and maniacs into the human stew and this group has their fair share. Maybe a bit more. But that is not the problem. That is just life.
The real problem is two-fold and even that is passing. One; we are going to get a large number of refugees, immigrants and illegal migrants and our way of life will be changed. Inevitably. Irrevocably. And two; those brown people have a DIFFERENT style of mad men, maniacs and murderers amongst them. Their ‘nutters’ act out for reasons not understandable to us. We just don’t ‘get it’. Different culture = different madness and crimes.
So, same but different. What is the problem?
Adjustment. Transition. Change.
And change is always difficult. The mafia, the Hell’s Angels, even bully-boy police and the seemingly universal embrace of greed in the west is now somewhat understandable to us (maybe not to our great grandparents). We ‘get that’ even if we disagree with it. We ‘get’ Harper and Donald Trump, we just don’t agree with them. But we have come to terms with living with them distasteful and unacceptable as they basically are.
The real trouble is wrapping our minds around young, bomb-clad martyrs, be-headings and other acts of general-but-foreign mayhem inflicted on innocent people. Seems wrong and evil at a whole new level.
It’s not. It’s just different. We have as much deviance and evil. We match them pretty well on that score. They have bad people. We have bad people. Bad is bad. That is not the issue.
The real issue is: is bad winning out over good? Hard to say. I don’t know. But I must admit that I much prefer to watch the show from here rather than the front row seats.
Make no mistake, however, our friend missed the point about us moving here. She thinks we moved away from bad. She thought it was because we didn’t like there and we liked here, and since she liked there and NOT here, we must have bene mad. So, to her way of thinking, if she started NOT to like there, then maybe she would like here. In effect, she is just thinking of changing seats.
And, while part of all that is true – especially NOW that we have lived out here for awhile and can compare – it was NOT the reason for choosing to sit in the nose-bleeds. We didn’t. We really chose a different theater.
The reason for moving out was – in the beginning – I just needed to grow, learn, live my life as fully as possible and I felt that I had given the cul-de-sac all the time I could afford. Yes, I could feel the claustrophobia of greed and Big Brother, I sensed the futility of racing with the rats, I saw the pointlessness of working like hell as I aged just to ‘stay in place’. But that wasn’t it. Not entirely. Just partially. I wasn’t leaving the bad so much as looking for something different.
The real incentive for me was the call to grow, to learn, to adventure. It was the desire to feel young and excited again. I really just wanted to breathe deeply, worry less and look forward to the day rather than not.
I was not running from the fear and loathing of greed, violence and futility and I am NOT afraid of brown people so I wouldn’t run now if I chose to stay in the city instead.
No one should be afraid anymore of the city today than they did last year. Ya wanna be afraid? Then look around you now – before the BIG CHANGE happens. There is enough out there to run away from already without the newer version that is currently presenting. That part of the ugly is constant in the human condition, it seems, regardless of the colour of the people doing it. Or the cultural diversity manifested in their brands of madness.
Don’t run away in fear but I do suggest that you consider walking away to a better show, different theater. The reason should be: looking for interest, health and well-being, looking for personal growth, trying something new. MAYBE the forest for some of you…? Maybe not.
But don’t run because of brown people.