I am a cranky old bat. I want the kids off my lawn, the folks who can’t drive at least the speed limit off my roads, I say, “BEGONE, FOUL WRETCHES,” to the religiously-evangelizing and bias-bound-and-determined. Misanthropy is a working mode for me.
Except, if you know me, you know all of that is sorta kinda maybe a really ginormous fib.
I don’t like groups of people, largely because I have a mad pash on for logic, reason, and critical thinking. Get humans in a mob and that stuff goes out the window. Yet, I am continually amazed by individual people. From the great and the good to the lowliest cog in the human engine, people fascinate me and make me love them in spite of my misanthropic ethos.
Hope and love for humanity are my secret weaknesses. I fervently hope and pursue the means of achieving the goal of truly being the human and humane race. I know we can be so much more than we think we are or society and the media tell us we are. The traps of low expectations and mediocrity are killing us, and I will fight them until I no longer draw breath. We can be heroes, we can be anything we set ourselves to be, we just need to snap the shackles society has placed on our consciousness.
Race, color, class, gender, sexuality, language, education, interests…any of the things we are taught divide us, don’t have to.
Every four years (okay, every two if you count the winter games) the Olympics show us ourselves in the fire of the melting pot. For two weeks, country matters less than skill and heart. As the Paralympics are held at the same time, an additional layer of meaning is added. This is the world we can be. One world. One heartbeat. One country, built on excellence and the struggle to compete, not on a field of battle but on the field of athletics.
For the first time, every competing country has at least one female athlete, including one who is 8 months pregnant. A competitor in archery is legally blind. Oscar Pistorious, a double-amputee, will be competing in track. Some countries have more women than men on their team, some athletes are their own team, competing without a country. They are the human family, a tapestry of differences which do not diminish each other, a patchwork of overlapping pride and dedication that takes nothing away from each piece while the whole becomes a radiant riot.
For some, victory comes with a medal and for others it is making it to the shores of Albion to participate at all. These athletes struggle. Most of them don’t get fame and fortune out of the games, they take the glory that comes with being an Olympian and go home.
For me, they are that fierce, bright spark of humanity that will not be put out. They are the flame passed hand to hand. They are they conflagration of consciousness within the cauldron that lights the path for all of us. We can be this.
I am in love with the Olympians and with the world that watches them, not because someone wins, but because we need that flame in our hearts as we weather dark days.
I am a cranky old bat because the world is a cruel, harsh place. I am an optimist weeping with joy at the possibility we see every four years at the Summer games. I still have hope, you see.