What You Decide to Call Good

It all depends on what you compare, I tell my good friend
who wants to believe that battles can be won against this
most intransigent of enemies. She points to Martin, and to
the defeat of the Klan, she points to the Cuyahoga no longer
on fire, to the five-day workweek, the eight-hour day, to
Grandma’s check that saves her from dining on fingernails
bitten already to the quick, it’s not futile, says my friend,
it’s not tilting at windmills to want to build windmills. And
isn’t it still better now? Better than it was, and it can get better
again and again, always better unless we give up.

But it all depends on what you compare. This is what
I say when I show her the map of the world, the bloodlines
and the ley lines, and the convergence of profit and genocide,
where the skin of the earth has been stripped and turned into
mdf shelving you toss out in a few years to buy more at IKEA,
the persistent junk in the fat of every living thing, junk that
you siphon into your infant child each time she eats. It all
depends, my good friend, on what you decide to compare.

Do you start with the unsettling of the Americas, the creation
of an empire built on stolen Aztec gold, do you count the trees
or the dollars? Do you hold Sinclair’s blood-soaked Jungle
next to Bill’s bright white Microsoft, or do you look at the
poisoned mines in the Congo where children with the cut of the
whip across their backs dig for the columbite-tantalite to outfit
your Android? Complexity, complicity, they will get you every
time. Because so much depends on what you compare. So much
depends on what you decide to call good.

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3 thoughts on “What You Decide to Call Good

  1. James: John Trudell has been an inspiration to me for many years. Thanks so much for the link.

    Dave: I’m honored to have been represented at your meeting. Thank you!

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