I am old enough to have been a child during the Cold War. And I’m young enough to have only a vague recollection of the quintessential American Cold War school drill. We were periodically marched out into the hallway, lined up against the wall and told to squat down on the floor and cover our heads with our coats.
Exactly what crouching under coats would do to ward off nuclear warheads we didn’t know and of course, the actual threat of nuclear war was too abstract for us to grasp at that age.
And as children, we could be forgiven for just going along with the program, following orders and doing as we were told, no matter how nonsensical. But today, there are far too many Americans who have front row seats to the unfolding disaster of the destruction of our dreams, and are doing nothing more than making themselves smaller and smaller in the hope that they will be spared the crushing weight of the juggernaut rolling our way.
We are consumed with economic survival – or let’s be real – survival. Because in today’s America your economic status dictates every aspect of your life. We are stretched to the breaking point, and many of us have snapped. We are furious at our impotence, and made timid by our fear.
I live in a part of the country currently inundated by rising floodwaters – and fortunately we live on a hill. But walking around the creeks become rivers and the ponds slipping their banks, I’m reminded of how great change is often represented by great movements of water in the world’s wisdom traditions.
Whether Noah and the flood or the parting of the Red Sea in Judaism, Christ walking on water in Christianity, Zamzam water in Islam, Ganga in Hinduism or the Seven Bowls of Water in Buddhism – water symbolizes a great cleansing.
And as I witness the new paths cut by expanding streams and new landscapes carved out of the earth, it occurs to me that it is time for us to leave behind the duck and cover mentality we have all been taught, and rise up to wash this country clean.