In Victor Frankel's book, Man's Search for Meaning, he defines what he calls the last human freedom. Roughly translated, it is our freedom to choose how we respond to events or circumstances.
Dr. Frankel discovered this as a Holocaust survivor while he saw certain fellow prisoners choosing how they responded to the worst imaginable conditions. In other words, the Nazi's could take everything, including their lives, but they couldn't take away their freedom to choose how they responded to this evil that had consumed everything they ever loved.
Today many of us are having a difficult time accepting what appears to be a kind of evil that has taken over the United States. An evil that brings to mind the preliminary stages of the same evil that ended with the deaths of over six million innocent human beings in gas chambers.
How will we respond?
Usually, our first reaction is to think of protests or boycotts. But there is a step to take before that. And it is a very personal step. It is our choice as to how we will respond internally.
Choosing a healthy response has been and continues to be a difficult challenge for me. Each government action that takes away gains made by previous administrations gives me a deep ache. I see our country becoming a business venture paradise, which in previous times I would have applauded. But today those same ventures have the potential for destroying the planet and further exacerbating the vast wealth inequities that plague our society.
So how do you choose to respond? Will it support you in a healthy way or will it slowly deteriorate your health and well-being? We have that choice. And I regret to say I'm beginning to believe that's the only real choice we have.
This administration is a natural point on the trajectory that started with the Reagan years. It is no accident, and it isn't an aberration. With the help of well-organized think tanks, a brilliant propaganda machine, the Evangelical lobby and the inter-changing of business and military executives into and out of government positions, the United States is now a corporatocracy.
We are a representative democracy in name only with only one remaining tool to disrupt the entire process. And it has to do with choice. It's a choice that I make and change almost daily. It's like standing on a fence deciding to drop on the side of resistance and fighting back and accepting what is as a fait accompli. A done deal for the duration.
That one tool is a massive voter's protest at the polls. I would feel a lot better about that tool if I trusted the Democratic Party and Democrats to get off their hind sides and turn this country around. But history has shown that when it comes to organized actions, the Republicans outshine the Democrats in countless ways.
But there is a major defect in the Republican political platform. Their propaganda works miracles, but their programs fail. Our challenge is to convince those who are cognitively paralyzed by the Republican propaganda machine that this is evident in just about everything they try.
A good example is the recent failure to repeal Obamacare even though they control the entire government and have been promising this since it became law. Those of us who are paying attention know that a party whose main message is "government is the problem" is not going to govern seriously. Rather, their goal is to shrink it to the point where private enterprise can take over everything it does and their donors can enrich themselves at the public's expense.
So we're back to choosing. Do you choose to accept this corporate take-over like a lost cause and learn to live with it? Or do you choose to join the millions of people working to take it all back from the moneyed interests that now control it?
At my age and late stage in life, I'm still on the fence. What about you?