How to Find Balance During the Decline of Western Civilization


Lately I haven't been able to stop thinking about the divide between the growth in my personal life and the decline of western civilization. How can I celebrate my world coming together when the whole world is falling apart? How can I not?

Yesterday after camp I was struck with a dilemma. Do Henry and I go to Studio Two Three’s Make it Rain(bow) art/ party/fundraiser or the ACLU community conversation about the Muslim Ban at the Islamic center of Richmond? In the end we did both. Art matters. Fundamental rights matter. And the thing is, they can both matter at the same time. In the perfect world, they do. 

The Muslim ban was only theoretically horrifying until last night. Then it was literally horrifying, front and center, real, scary. When a woman in a head scarf shared that a man tried to run her daughter down at the bus stop the day after T%$*p declared Islam hates us, I could feel the thin little bubble of protection I'd built around myself shatter and pop. Anyone who has grown up in the shadow of the Holocaust has a certain deep and fundamental fear of bigotry built into their DNA. And not only the Jews, of course. African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Europeans. Anyone with a heart who knows other people have hearts, too.

This week during camp at Richmond Young Writers I'm working with a brave & brilliant group of kids who talk openly about who they are within the context of the world around them. Their capacity to know and express themselves feeds their passion to create space for everyone else to do the same. We should not only be asking our teens to reprogram our remotes, we should be asking them to reprogram our world. They get it. Last night Henry, when asked how he's spending his summer, said, "half writing to the Henrico County Board of Supervisors, half jumping off the high dive." And I think that’s a good model for the rest of us, too. Let's feed life every way we can.

Valley HaggardComment