Tuesday, December 13, 2016

4.0 Rainbow in the Dark

By now, you may have realized my entries for this blog are titled after songs. You may have also noticed I also add a video of some version of the song at the bottom of each post. The choice to do this was pretty much by chance. Each song was intended to promote the ideas behind, or the inspiration for the entry. In a perfect world, the video would autoplay as you began reading it's corresponding entry to add to the experience. As we all know, of course, this is far from a perfect world.

Lately, Dio's been on my mind, a lot. Maybe it's because it's coming up on the seventh year anniversary of lead singer Ronnie James Dio's death. Maybe it's just because Dio was the first band I paid to go see in the mid 80s. But Dio had a few hits back in its day. Why is this the one earworm I haven't been able to shake?

I'm not particularly religious, but I do have what some might claim is an irrational belief in signs. Recently, it felt like the signs all starting to come together. 

  I learned of the man who went to a restaurant in D.C. and
opened fire, demanding to get answers for a story he'd read. It turns out he'd read a fake news story about the owners of that business running a child sex ring from the restaurant with the help of Hillary Clinton and her former campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The only thing linking this story to any semblance of truth was, according to some of the hacked emails posted by Wikileaks, that Podesta organized a fundraiser there for HRC's campaign, and that the general manager who exchanged emails with Podesta to plan the event was connected to the founder of Media Matters. They had exchanged emails, some of which were worded weirdly. Sprinkle in to this some supposedly secret code based on food products, from 4chan of all places, try to pass that off as evidence, & viola, a conspiracy is born!

It's a frightening reminder of how easily a benign situation can be twisted into some dark conspiracy, a sobering reminder of how quickly these stories can be spread and believed, and a sad reminder of how some people, perceiving injustices that never existed, are willing to risk the lives of innocents in foolhardy attempts at meting out justice on their own. Thankfully, no one was hurt, this time. But I hope we can all understand the danger.

Not as dangerous, but just as troubling in some ways, I came across a meme posted on Facebook with an image of some unknown man, face riddled with piercings, chomping on a cigar. It offered a simple caption: describe him with one word. One of my so-called conservative friends who had posted it chose Democrat. The following responses were demented, unemployable, overdone, and welfare. I was bothered by the lack of context provided with the picture, so I called it as I saw it: propaganda.

My caption, just as viable as any other considering the lack of context, raised some questions, and apparently irritated some. I politely pointed out that, because of that lack of context, anything anyone was saying was purely based on their own internal biases as there was nothing in the photo that provided any real connection to their captions.

There was no way to know if these were tribal adornments, or that the man was an artist or musician, or even employed by a tattoo & piercing parlor, making him a walking billboard for his business. There was no way to tell that the man was even American. Therefore, like Don Presidente himself, the man in the picture served as a cipher, someone upon which others could project their own hopes and aspirations, or their fears and hatred. To me, it appeared that the post was simply a bunch of people shouting at the shadows in their own head.

Then came the song, again:

When there's lightning,
you know it always brings me down
'cause it's free and I see that it's me
Who's lost and never found
I cry out for magic, I feel it dancing in the light
It was cold, I lost my hold
To the shadows of the night

No sign of the morning coming
You've been left on your own
Like a rainbow in the dark...

Do your demons, do they ever let you go?
When you've tried, do they hide, deep inside
Is it someone that you know
You're just a picture, you're an image caught in time
We're a lie, you and I
We're words without a rhyme

There's no sign of the morning coming
You've been left on your own
Like a rainbow in the dark

 It dawned on me. One interpretation of the song could be that it speaks about those of us addicted to darkness. It's quite apparent that there are people who live in their own darkness, rainbows that are stuck in the shadows that haunt their minds. Rainbows can't thrive in the dark. Technically, they can't even exist there.

How do we reach them? How do we pull these rainbows out into the light? They don't trust politicians, media, or anyone who's not already a member of their own deafening echo chambers. They don't even trust logic. We may not be so lucky with the next armed, misinformed, misguided fool looking to take the law into his own hands. Not to mention, we need them to be able to determine fact from fiction, news from propaganda, in order for them to join the fight. It doesn't make it easier that Don Presidente knows just how to tap that darkness to feed them the information that helps his own causes. After all, this man began his campaign by espousing one of those theories, in particular, the idea that President Obama was not born in the U.S.

I wish I had all the answers, but sometimes, knowing the right questions to ask is just as important. I am learning what not to do. Insulting them or dismissing them as crazy or stupid doesn't work. All it does is drive them further into their black caves and take us off the hook for having to keep trying to reach them. You can't fight darkness with darkness. That only feeds it.

Personally, I will continue to reach out to my friends who are stuck in this deep pit. I will keep sharing my own light, along with the truths they may refuse to see for the time being. If things get as bad as I hope they don't, they will eventually want out. They'll be ready to shine, again. They'll be ready to take on the fight with us. I'll hang around as long as I need to, just in case they need a hand.

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