As we begin yet another orbit around our star and bid 2018 adieu, I am weary.

I am weary of a constant anger and frustration at seeing so much potential in our world strangled by irrational fear and incomprehensible hatred.
I am weary of the conflict and division sown into our daily lives by our media, our leaders, and our friends.
I am weary of those so lost in the swamp of rhetoric and dogmatism that they forget that we are all on a similar journey, though we may find different paths.
I am weary of those who claim to follow the greatest example of love in history, yet cannot find love in their hearts for their neighbor.
I am weary of those who inflict pain and incite anger, excusing their vileness as “telling it like it is” or working against “political correctness.”
I am weary of a growing, nonsensical refusal in our society to accept reality and its requisite truths and facts.
I am weary of the insanity that sees us as lords over Creation, and that its destruction for short-term gain is acceptable or won’t have a profound negative impact on our progeny.
I am weary of seeing people dehumanized because of the color of their skin, the language they speak, who they love, the deity they worship, or the leaders they support.
I am weary of unending war and escalating rhetoric that has reshaped our culture into something grotesque, that builds the idea that it’s us against the world.
I am weary of the normalization of violence and aggression, of lies and propaganda.
I am weary of those who seek power over others, who corrupt themselves for personal gain, who rise to their status on the backs of those who most need their help.
I am weary of our out-of-control commercialism and materialism that so often cripples our happiness and tethers our futures in debt.
I am weary of the astounding hubris that allows one generation to sacrifice the future prosperity and hopes of the next.

Yes, I am weary. But I haven’t lost hope. Not yet. Amid such terrible darkness, there have still been rays of light. Bright points of hope for the future seemingly against all odds. And so, in this new year and beyond, let us make a commitment together to correct our destructive course, to amplify and protect those bright spots in the darkness.

Let us bury fear and hatred in hope and love so that the astounding potential in our world can break through and cast away anger and frustration.
Let us put aside those media sources, leaders, and friends so hell-bent on sowing conflict and division.
Let us join hands across our different paths and show those lost in rhetoric and dogmatism that there is a better way forward, together.
Let us stop trying to speak and judge on behalf of Jesus of Nazareth, and instead actually follow his example of love for all.
Let us speak and act with kindness, so that we may soothe pain and make rare anger.
Let us accept that reality cannot be denied, and that truth and facts cannot be changed no matter how much we wish them away.
Let us protect our only home and understand that our existence is dependent on our environment, recognizing that the short-term profit of a few holds no contest against the future of all.
Let us stand up for those marginalized and trampled in society for aspects of their being over which they have no control or for their worldviews born from the heart.
Let us resist the constant calls to war and rhetorical escalation and instead strive for peace with and understanding of our fellow man.
Let us cut out or reduce those elements of our daily lives that normalize violence, encourage aggression, or spread lies and doubt against evidenced truth.
Let us support those leaders who do not seek power for power’s sake, who do not corrupt themselves with dirty influence, who reach down to raise up those who need them instead of simply standing on their shoulders.
Let us strive for simpler, happier lives, resisting the commercialism and materialism that encourages envy and mires us in debt.
Let us make decisions with future generations in mind, and not unjustly laden them with hopelessness and a responsibility to correct our poor judgment before it’s too late.

I’ll be making some changes in 2019. Will you join me?

If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of willful and offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits…but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.

-Thomas Paine, The Crisis Number V (1778)

I will not share in the jingoism and nationalism exhibited by others on days like today. I will not sing patriotic songs. I will not share banal images celebrating our military. I will not cover my home in flags. This is a day of remembrance, of mourning, and of healing. On Memorial Day we remember the costs and evils of war, and how very precious is peace. While our warmongering politicians barrel ahead with bellicose threats of aggression, we honor those lost in conflict and the families who will never again see their loved ones.

But Memorial Day isn’t just to remember the fallen, but also to recognize and support those who returned home but lost a part of themselves in the experience. A recent study determined that an average of 20 US veterans die from suicide each day, many from the inability to cope with their traumatic experiences. This period of endless war and its long-term effects on our society will truly be a dark blot on our nation’s story, and I fear this generation may never fully recover.

Every life lost to war is a life cut short; a bright light of potential snuffed out. Someone’s father, someone’s sister, someone’s child. We may take pride that such people lived, but to celebrate such sacrifice is shameful. Honor them. Honor them not with hollow words and ridiculous flag worship, but by striving to make war a distant memory. Honor them by reversing the tide of interventionism and militarism that has taken hold of our society and our government, mocking their precious sacrifice. Honor them by demanding that peace and diplomacy always be made our first priority, with military action an absolute last resort. Honor them by turning away from our society’s sickening glorification of violence and conflict. Honor them by remembering the value of life, and recognizing that every drop of blood spilled in aggression is an unforgivable sin.