Dig It Up (Author's Notes)
In this time of national peril, I absolutely refuse to be hopeless.
My generation (and, far more importantly, my nieces' and nephews' generation) are in the mess we are because of generations-old indoctrination, complacency, and, quite frankly, complicity. We're in this hole, staring up longingly at what we can still see of the clouds and sunshine because we stood by watching silently as our parents' generation dug it right under our feet. However, our parents' generation only started digging because they blindly accepted the shovel from their parents' generation, who themselves were already digging.
So, now that the hole's been dug nice and deep, who fills it?
That's a trick question, of course. If you're paying attention, you know full well that the hole is filled with us. And if you're not paying attention, and you can't see that, maybe it's time you looked back down here, at the soil around you. At the mud on your shoes. At the dirt on your hands. It doesn't come off easy. You can rub it, soap it, and scrub it all you want, but it'll always be there. Unless, of course, you can get out of the hole. All you need to clean it off is out there, on the surface world.
The problem is, however, that the hole is less crateral than your average, bowl-shaped hole, and more spherical. Globular. Meaning that, while you can clearly see out the top, climbing out is fruitless. This is because, as the very laws of physics dictate, once you reach a certain point in the curvature, gravity does its job and sends you crashing back to the dirt below you. From there, you can keep trying to climb, over and over again, constantly being shoved back to the Earth until, finally, it's time for your eternal rest where you become part of it.
Or, you can stop, take a breath, and think of a better way.
Look at that dirt on your hands, your friends' hands, your siblings' hands, your parents' and grandparents' hands. It's all the same, and it's on all of us. Perhaps more importantly, it's all around us. It's all around us, and it seems like it's all there is or ever will be. It seems hopeless because we're so deep in it that soon we won't even be able to see that breathtaking window to the clear, blue sky above us. That we won't feel those precious few rays of sunlight that still manage to make it through. They'll just be a memory we hold onto in the darkness until it becomes tainted. Until it's passed down to our great, great grandchildren's generation as a fable.
Of course, as with any bit of history, it'll be twisted by the time they hear it. As they become so far removed from it that no-one who was there to see it first hand has any hope at still existing. Maybe the sky will be said to've been red, or the clouds to've been jagged and black. Maybe the sun will be talked about with ire because darkness is all our descendants will ever have known. Maybe everything will be called something different, and more in line with their future, moleman culture. Or maybe, worst of all, it'll be dismissed as fiction and forgotten entirely as more and more generations are born and die in the dark.
So how do we get out? How do we reclaim the vastness of vision that we've been freely giving away? How do we cleanse ourselves of the decades of grimy build up we've accumulated? How do we make sure our children and our children's children don't end up creepy mole people?
By digging, of course. Not downward, but outward. Outward and upward.
The truth is that there is no easy fix. Only a laborious one. We didn't get here over night. We didn't just suddenly wake up one day and find that we were all stuffed into a mass grave. It took time to get in, it's going to take time to get out. We have layers of sediments to break through. Metric tons of dirt to move out of our way. We have to tunnel. Naturally, seeing as generations have come and gone in the time it took us to dig this hole, some of us won't make it out, and that sucks, but we have to be willing to make that sacrifice for the future, not just of our families, but of our country. Of our entire world.
What does that mean in helpful, real world terms? It means we have to stand up for ourselves. It means we have question ever single fucking thing that hits our eyes and ears, no matter who delivers it, where, or why. We have to call bullshit. We have to seek the truth, we have to seek justice, we gave to seek real patriotism, and we have to apply them. Yes, hard truths will have to be faced. Yes, feelings will have to be hurt. Yes, some relationships will have to suffer or outright crumble. Yes, entire worldviews will have to change. But all of that will be worth it when we as a people break that last bit of ground above us and see a world so bright and brilliant it momentarily binds us.
It'll be worth it when we are truly free.