“It’s always something.” Overwhelmed folks will say that, shrugging their shoulders. As if to acknowledge that stuff happens and there’s nothing we can do with it so you might as well just go with the flow.
“It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
— The Lion King
That little ditty was an instant hit as it reaffirmed the attitude so many would wish to take—or so many are driven to take by the relentless pace of change all around.
“Let it be.” That monster tune from The Beatles played around the world for years and still reassures the afflicted:
“Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be”
It’s always something. Hakuna Matata. Let it be.
Sometimes, we should just give up and let things play out, because there’s nothing we can say or do.
But, things don’t really work that way, do they? You’ve got work to get ahead. Study to succeed. Plan for success. Practice makes perfect. Discipline yields results. Pro-action avoids problems. Awareness trumps ignorance. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Indeed, ironically, we have to stay ahead to stay ahead. Stasis is quickly overcome by newcomers and all-comers. In work. In infrastructure. In society. In government. In life.
We don’t get to just “sit back and enjoy the ride.” If we do, we’ll find the driver of our lives taking us to places we don’t want to go. We must be the masters of our destiny, the captains of our souls:
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
— William Earnest Henley
We are indeed the masters of our individual and communal fates: In work. In infrastructure. In society. In government.
Eternal vigilance is the price of democracy. And vigilance is very hard work. To shrug our shoulders, to give up, to remain flabbergasted at all the nonsense coming out of Washington and hope things will simply get better on their own—is to embrace our own decay.
Homelessness abounds. Articles spew from newspapers and on the web. Terrible, shocking images insult our eyes and minds.
Gun violence terrifies. America is the most murderous advanced country. Little kids slaughtered. Concert-goers mowed, cut down like scenes from Syria.
What can we do?
“Trump will be Trump!” We can’t really stop him. So, what if his son-in-law haggles for mega-loans from his White House office? So, what if the daughter hawks her wares, levering the presidential seal? What if the Russians really did collude with Trump operatives? Things will just work out. What, me worry? No worries at all.
Yes, homelessness is everywhere. We passed Measure H. And HHH. Just let the wheels of government take care of the rest. Let it be. The poor will always be with us, says Jesus himself.
It’s a big country. A school slaughter once or twice a year is to be expected. Our children’s blood is simply the cost of our 2nd Amendment rights, so Bill O’Reilly says. The NRA is just too strong. What can we do? We can weep for the dead and wounded and shrug our shoulders and weep.
Oh God, this passivity and acceptance is so tempting in an age of exhausting change, never-ending news, shocks, outrages and motion all around. How can we cope day to day, let alone push solidly forward with a reasoned plan for ourselves and others when there’s so much to push back, so much to overcome?
“While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Honest Abe tells it straight: “Yes, we will make it through, but only if we retain our virtue and vigilance, and hence, our positive action to protect our liberty.
Virtue and vigilance will win the day. Eternal vigilance will move us forward and avoid stasis, decay and further societal insult.
But, oh, the work! The effort!
“Life is pain! Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
— Princess Bride
“Never, never, never give up!”
— Winston Churchill
When we’re overcome with societal problems, never, never, never give up. When you can’t take another Trump insult, never, never, never give up. When we’re told by a bought-off Congress we can’t get those damn assault rifles out of a modern society, never, never, never give up. When all we feel is sorry for the slaughtered, never, never, never give up.
“Hakuna Matata” is such a tempting allure. But, it’s the Devil’s Dance, not just Disney’s.
At the end of it all, if you want a world in which you want to live, all of us must eternally work our butts off, kicking against the pricks, pushing, pushing back against the bad, the evil, the corrupt and the obscene.
Now, get back to work.
Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.