Melancholy Lunch Break


As I sit here in this cafe, taking a break from being a tourist of Tokyo, I can’t help but feel sad. I feel sad because I’ve been offline for a bit and just peaked at some news, US and global.

Wow, just so incredibly, catastrophically depressing. The headlines are like nothing I’ve ever imagined I’d read in my lifetime, and it’s not just national headlines that are breaking my heart. The shift to the far right throughout multiple nations in the world, when we need desperately a progressive global society because of looming climate change, is almost too much to take. As the Amazon burns, so does our human progress.

The part that really kills me is that we’re now so far away now from fixing the actual problems. This isn’t the first time in history obviously and I’m shocked that we really can’t learn from our global past to see that what’s happening now is not sustainable, will not be joyful, will end in tragedy for the majority. While the world’s powerful male leaders bicker and fight with each other, there are powerless humans held in detention camps without vaccines and there are Amazonian people putting their lives on the line to get the attention necessary to receive help while their forest burns. While privileged white straight males parade down the street in what will be looked back on history, a disgusting display of power and ignorance, a young woman sails across the ocean to bring attention to climate change, refusing to get on an 8 hour flight because of carbon emissions, trying to raise the alarms that things need to change. While the United State’s President tweets sensitive information out to the public in an act of pure ignorance, a young man is arrested in Hong Kong for being a pro-democracy leader, organizing protests to try and save Hong Kong’s little freedom from communist China.

While traveling in Japan, and immersing myself in a completely new, foreign culture, I’ve been able to plant my feet back down into people, into understanding humanity in a different dimension. I felt such culture shock the first few days in Japan because in the beginning of culture shock mainly you realize how different you are right away. But so soon as time goes on, and the culture shock wears off, you let it all in. You watch the children laugh and play in the park with their dad, you see people bustle to work in their best outfits, you watch a tired man bob his head on the train as the sun falls through the window. Everything is so simply and incredibly human. You’re left with the love of our similarities. You’re left with love.

I can’t help but think about how far away some of our world and national leaders are from planting their own feet down and people watching, coming to the realization that we all have hearts that break and mouths that smile and laugh. Our leaders are teaching us hate, they are using tactics used throughout history like the Nazi party, and civilians around us are supporting it or staying silent about it. They are hoisting Trump 2020 flags and they are spewing ignorance on their social media. The celebration of division has trickled down now into our American culture, hate and walls are being rewarded by those in power. How far gone are we? Can we make sure to stop it, to reignite curiosity and confidence? How long will it take to bring us back to center, to get us back on track? To watch it from an entire ocean away is to see just how far we’ve gone.

We’ll be able to solve our nation’s and the world’s greatest problems once we elect leaders that are progressive, intelligent, level-headed, and human. People who, like us, pushed their children on the swings with a big grin or cried in their car at midnight. People who are ready to work together, globally, without fear, anger, or hatred, to move forward together.