In A Tale of Two Cities, an 1869 novel by Charles Dickens that was set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, he wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Are we, in the United States, now experiencing the worst of times, the age of foolishness, the season of darkness, and the winter of despair? It sometimes seems that way to me. I view the times we’re going through right now as treacherous times and times that may lead, possibly before this year is over, to the second American Revolution. A potentially violent revolution.
But I am a white male. My perspective may be colored by my race and heritage.
Are these times as treacherous for black Americans as they were in the days of slavery?
Are these times as treacherous for Native Americans as they were in the days of Manifest Destiny?
Are there times as treacherous for Asian Americans as they were in the days of internment camps during World War II?
Are these times as treacherous for Muslim Americans as they were in the days shortly after 9-11?
Are these the worst of times for American women?
Are these the worst of times for Hispanic Americans, for Jewish Americans, for Catholic Americans, for Italian Americans, for Irish Americans?
In the scheme of things, these are probably not the worst of times for many Americans. Because, throughout the history of this country, many have suffered gravely.
But at the same time, if you take stock of what is happening in the United States today, it’s abundantly clear that these are far from the best of times. This is not the age of wisdom. This is not the age of enlightenment.
And unless we are willing to censure the blatant political corruption that has overtaken our society, unless we are willing to embrace true equality and begin to treat everyone, regardless of race, religion, national origin, and gender, with the same dignity, kindness, and respect with which we expect to be treated, we will continue to float, like that proverbial butterfly, toward the sweetly fragrant but deadly poisonous plant that seems to be growing wild across our nation.
It’s time to do better, America.
Written for the following prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (treacherous), The Daily Spur (stock), Your Daily Word Prompt (censure), Jibber Jabber (treat), Word of the Day Challenge (butterfly), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (plant).