Is Anybody Happy in America Anymore?


A wise man once said: "We are caught up in a realm of name and form. It’s only transitory, this whole world and the names and forms we give things don’t make a difference. Our language works in absolutes: light and dark, black and white, good and bad. We are too caught in the concepts and language, it is really very simple: ‘Who am I?’"

That man was Chun Moon, a Polish monk living in Beomasa Temple in Busan, South Korea. What Chun Moon was getting at is the 7 billion people idea. We are 7 billion people, thinking 7 billion different things, doing 7 billion different things, wanting 7 billion different things. Nowonder everyone feels marginalized.

American Beauties. Let’s focus just on America. The language and rhetoric of our national debates leaves a lingering feeling that no one is escaping crushing blows of “the man.” Ron Paul is being blacked out of the mainstream media and at the same time, the mainstream media itself is crumbling at the hands of the blogosphere. The 99%: marginalized. The 1%: marginalized. Religion: marginalized. The secular world: marginalized. Someone is always down and it is all out war on them. 

Optimism in the Marginalized World.Here is a voice of optimism. In our nation of the marginalized, it is possible that we are keeping each other so in check that no one can honestly say they are winning. Perhaps feeling like the world is out to get you is the sincerest form of flattery. It is all checks and balances at work. 

Maybe it is just the election year run-of-the-mill talk, but it seems like no one is getting a piece of the pie. On the right, Christianity is haunting the secular world, forcing dogma down the throats of the nation and at the same time, Christians are feeling like the secular world (and a socialist president) is pushing them out the door of the national discussion. Everyone is fighting for some ideal they feel is on the brink of being extinguished and that’s not a bad thing.

99 Davids Verses Goliath. In light of the economic recession and general hard times, we have seen the biggest movement: a united, marginalized and working class 99%. It is the 99 Davids verses Goliath story. In New York City, Boston, and LA, hunkered down in the trenches, the voices of the people rang out against the corporations that have done them wrong. Wal-Mart ringing in revenues of $421 billion in 2010 and the other largest 100 corporations with revenues of $13.1 trillion and profits of $605 billion are just not trickling down. And on the other side, Wall Street felt marginalized right back. They are people too, creating jobs and striking against them is striking against the people themselves.

The mainstream media is failing to cover the protests of the Occupy Movement on May Day, all while the mainstream media itself is floundering to keep newspapers in circulation that attempt to provide unbiased news backed by researched facts. It is a two-sided fight with no clear idea of who is actually winning or who is actually right or wrong. 

Check Your Facts.Facts have become the sort of unsung casualty in all of these wars. As NPR pointed out (some may argue a bit too liberally) that facts have officially died. It is all about who says it loudest or faster, not who is right. Well, here is the return of the optimism. Facts are transforming, with so much instantaneous information there is no longer a go to compass of objective reason; we are that compass. 

What we are seeing play out in very real time is a discourse of checks and balances. People are not feeling marginalized because one big evil entity has their thumb over them, people are feeling attacked because other attacked people are standing their ground and fighting to prove their ideals. This is the way national discourse must work in the information age, there will never be a winner, only new transforming arguments and eventually, we will get somewhere.

Everyone Wins.Everyone is feeling marginalized because all the other marginalized people are balancing the scale. It is a very centrist world we live in because no one is right and no one is wrong. People just are. At the core of everything is a search for quality. A quality that is ever present, it is just not apparent.

So maybe we are living in a sort of utopia, a place where no one is completely winning and no one is completely losing. It is just small “wins” meeting small “setbacks” as quality drifts in and out of focus. 

The national debates we have and watch only work to strengthen our national dialogues. Eventually, as time passes, the arguments will transform into solutions and we will find new things to argue about; in real time. It is all in search of the quality.