The Only Way Out?

April 5, 2020

Imagine being an old-fashioned miner deep in the earth when the electricity that powers air and light down to you shuts off. Dank air soon fills your lungs. Your head smacks a wall. You knock about in darkness, suck in black dust and scramble your way back up, up, up. You feel the rush of new air coming your way from a space that you did not know existed. I should go there, your mind screams. And you do, but only after a quick double-gut-check that this is the right choice in order to reach the surface.

You feel like you and your family’s future are suffocating. Your will pulls you towards memories of the good and wide open sky. You take this unfamiliar path into the unknown, because another decent choice did not materialize. You hope that this decision leads to your and your loved ones’ survival. You see a distant light and crawl that way.

This is the appearance and rise of Donald Trump. His election was due in part to a decision that many made with the belief that he was the best choice to create opportunities to provide for those they love. He appeared to cast a new way that was desperately needed for many, and they went that way. I understand this.

I am reading the book “The Case for Trump,” by Stanford professor Victor Davis Hanson. I am reading this and have read many other books about the drift of our society to discordance. I am also speaking with people from all walks of American life as research for my next book. From coastal elite “libtard” financial advisors to “deplorable” out-of-work iron workers, from blue-lives-matter small town cops to black-lives-matter inner city gang-bangers, I am talking with folks who can help us find an answer to this question: How did we get to the point in our country where choices seem limited, sides are instantly taken, opinions carry more weight than caring, and common good will too often succumbs to individual wants?

In this research, I came across “White Right: Meeting the Enemy.” This Netflix documentary was produced by Deeyah Khan, a young Muslim woman who built a relationship with a KKK member. This pairing ultimately led to the clansman denouncing his vows to racism. How did this happen? You should watch the movie.

Among many powerful moments, one that got me in this video was an interview with a leader of segregationist movement. Speaking to the producer about her efforts, he said, “Your goodwill is going to lead to the oblivion of my people.” This struck me as impossible, as a complete oxymoron. How could good will lead to oblivion of anyone?

I am writing this new book as a template for us to unify, to share and act on the idea of turning individual opportunity into personal well being-as part of our greater good. Some might see these as exclusive, a negative pull against a positive push, as in individual wealth has little to do with common good. I maintain that success cannot come at the expense of another or at the cost of natural resource degradation and exhaustion. What is a foundation to this concept and practice? What is the way forward? Good will.

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