Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Year Ago This Time

Last year this time, we were still reeling in shock and sadness over the sudden death of Prince on April 21st. I attempted to write about it at the time, but no words seemed adequate to describe what he had been, the sheer enormity of his talent and prodigious productivity or how the loss of him would reverberate. He was an incandescent flame of creative energy. We all feel the darkness now that he's no longer here.

Last year this time, we were beginning to suffocate as the news media was giving us unprecedented coverage (and an unprecedented amount of air time) to a simpleton, rage-fueled, attention whore, racist, erstwhile billionaire TV personality who was aspiring to the White House. He figured his scheme of being outrageously xenophobic enough, unbelievably "politically incorrect" enough might actually work. Meanwhile, many of us underestimated him, including me.

One might argue that all the focus on him helped propel him to the Oval Office. Hence, our current national nightmare. The US House of Representatives just voted today to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something substantially worse.

Last year this time, with the Paris Climate Accords having been signed in NY in April (the day after Prince died), we had hope that we were finally as a planet going to get a handle on climate change. Innovation and technology are leading the charge ahead of actual government policy, which I think is encouraging. Our collective creativity may yet win the day.

The conclusion I'm drawing here is that despite the turbulent and even savage times we live in, we are finding inventive ways to create lives that work, or at least work better. Take this story about an art studio in Manitoba, Canada that helps people who are mentally ill (which is to say suffering from things like depression, schizophrenia, etc.). They lost a federal grant which was worth $100,000, but the community stepped up and gave $153,000 to more than make up for the loss. This was reported just yesterday on the Good News Network. This is just one example of the ways in which we all find ways to "keep on keepin' on", as the old song goes.

The results can be pretty damned awesome.

More Later

P.S. The song, by Gladys Knight and the Pips from the 1970s is called "I've Got To Use My Imagination". Appropriate for these times, no?