As I scoured this internet in search of remedies to relieve my discomfort from a bunch of itchy red welts on my face and arms, it occurred to me that my bug bites have a lot in common with current events -- specifically the Brexit vote yesterday, and the support that Trump has garnered in our country.
I think a lot of people are bugged by their current state of affairs, and just like me, are going in search of a remedy to relieve their pain. We want to feel better, and we want it now. We don't want to have to go through a bunch of steps to heal the underlying dynamic that led to our suffering -- that would take too much time and energy. We just want relief, and fast.
Unfortunately, pain and clear thinking don't go together. Never have, never will.
So when a Brexit or a Trump comes along, promising that one simple action -- filling in a little bubble or pushing a lever at the polls -- will solve all our problems, it is music to our ears: All I have to do is vote and someone else is gonna fix this mess? And I can go back to enjoying a cool beer or soda while watching my favorite show? Heck yes!
The reality is that the source of pain and suffering in our country and the world at large is extremely complex. There are no simple remedies. In fact, as I learned by putting lemon juice on my bug bites, sometimes simple remedies relieve the pain at first but very soon thereafter make it worse.
Voting for change is not enough to bring about change. We will each need to actively participate in solving the complex problems that cause suffering, and the solution won't be simple or quick.
If you want change, get it started right where you are. Look around your community and see what needs you can meet. Drive your neighbor to his doctor appointment. Bring a meal to the family down the street with a new baby. Hand a protein bar to the hungry person begging on the corner. Ask how someone's day is going, then stop and truly listen to the answer. As my dad used to say, "When you see something that needs to be done, do it."
By all means, exercise your right to vote! But please don't stop there. Act, too.