My birthday came and went. Some years I have wondered whether anyone remembers, or even cares. My children have moved on and are in the midst of building their own lives. They don’t have time for an aging parent, especially one who could not be with them when they were growing up, thanks to the nasty divorce she had with their father.
While I have told them over and over that I love them, and that I have always missed them, they figure that my love is cheap, and it certainly does not assuage their anger. So I know, as I progress through the third trimester of my life, I cannot turn to any of them for companionship. I am left looking at my friends, and I find that I am blessed.
These are people who gladly say they would never let me have to live on the street, should worse come to worst. They are people who are so vastly different from me, in the way they understand the world, I wonder that they care about me as much as they do.
I am a rampant liberal. If I root for anybody in the great scheme of things, it is for the oppressed. I cheer whenever anyone manages to successfully fight big government and big banks. And while I love being Jewish, I am not proud of the things many Jews do, in the name of Judaism. For me, Zionism, as it has become is an outrage to both Jews and Christians, and I do not believe it should be considered part and parcel with Judaism. I weep over the destruction Israel creates.
However, discussing any of these issues with my friends gets nowhere. They are elderly people who have lived their lives as honorably as they could. Even if the things I might say did chip away at some of their long-held beliefs, what good would it do in the great scheme of things? We fight and work now for what we believe is best, as they fought and worked for what they believed was best, when they were young. And that is as it should be.
Ultimately, we are not in a position to stop the billions of US dollars going to Israel every day. Nor, short of a complete revolution, can we destroy AIPAC’s control of our congress.
As long as the battles of war are continued on foreign shores and few of us have any real idea what is going on in the Middle East, most of us do not have to pay attention to it. However, the destruction shows signs that it will not continue to stay in distant villages, of which most of us have never heard. It shows signs of moving home to our streets and towns, and it will no longer be simply a matter of high sounding principles.
It feels as though organizations more powerful than most of us can imagine are out to destroy the world as we know it. It is as though we were again the indigenous people of the New World and the invasion were starting all over again.
Our existence is as surely threatened as anyone’s ever has been, and we will all die if we don’t learn how to stand up together and help each other.
Each man for himself is a passe concept, for each man fighting for the one pinnacle of rock poking its nose above the flood line, will drown when the deluge comes. But communities working together to build trade lines and currencies that are not tied to Big Banks, skills and the ability to make things people need to not only survive, but to live, that are not tied to Big Industry, health care that is not tied to Big Pharma, food supplies that are not tied to Big Agra, and education that is not tied to corporate universities, as well as energy supplies that are not tied to Big Corporations, stand a much better chance of surviving into the next generation and the one beyond.
The work of establishing such communities is not only holy, it is honorable. And it doesn’t matter what any of us believe, we all have a part to play in this. It is what we do that counts, not what we claim to believe or disbelieve.
And so, I am looking at life, not quite alone, but surrounded by friends, whom I love, and who I know care about me, even though we disagree.
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