I set out to change the world. I saw it falling from understanding.
I studied science, looking in the aether for some grain of knowledge that may spark, again, the imagination of man. I found a system of education that was organized to exclude. I was told what was, and what was not, only to see it all fall apart over time. I was tested on the beliefs of others, others who failed to understand, each stating the accepted fact, until, at last, through difficulty, the falsehood of the truth was exposed, and the bow-tied, sweater-vested changed their drone to reflect that of the latest hero, perverting science for medals and titles. Regurgitating the latest belief as if science was religion.
And so, I looked to religion, hoping for a way for mankind to live together. I saw many beliefs, each certain, each absolute, each unwavering. They hated the sinner, though we all are sinners. They hated those who thought differently, though most do. They told of the hell that awaited them, the burning of a soul for eternity by its loving creator. Each had a set of rules. Each ran in the face of humanity. Each perfection, unattainable. God, himself, cast as human, reflecting the least of humanity, himself, breaking the rules, jealous and petty, requiring servitude and loyalty, threatening at a whim, the eternal soul. At last, I saw them for what they are, men, greedy for dollars, cars, mansions. Their perfect hair and their robes, their molestation, their secrets held in convent walls. Like science, religion was not a place for one who would heal the wounds of man. It, too, was a manifestation of the failures that had been allowed to manifest for so long. Still, we sat in rows, bowing to the unseen, kept in place by fear. I left and never returned.
I looked to politics to find the podium for my message. There I found men in rooms in buildings, flags and pictures, structure and procedure. I spoke with them, one at a time, they sent me to the bottom, from there I could enter the conversation, still every door led to another. The cost of being heard was prohibitive, and there were so many others passing through doors, paying their way, to be heard. Soon I saw that my resources and my time could never persuade the system. It was too massive, and others held every key. I left the city and the grand buildings, frustrated and disgusted by what I had seen.
I am a man of words, I thought. I shall find the words to change the world. I looked to the past, to great men who went before, men who tried to save us. I read the words of Martin Luther King, who, after being threatened by our agencies, given the opportunity to end his own life, said that he had seen the promised land. I read the words of Kennedy, and Gandhi. I could see, in their words the frustration, the struggle. Each great man stood on a pulpit and stated the obvious. Each stood fearlessly, then was shot dead. The promised land was not as King had seen it. The same evil that threatened his life took it. His words were stopped by a bullet to his head, telling us all to stay in line and do as we are told. John, then Bobby, men who stood forward, unafraid, shot by cowards who’s only action was murder in the face of decency. We obliged, serving the evil that took them, by staring at television screens, manipulated by coordinated evil, through Operation Mockingbird, believing lies. We preferred safety to freedom, and we took it. Still, there is no safety in cowardice, only ever increasing fear. They use that fear to herd us to condos and malls, factories and mines. We are slaves, cowardly drones doing as we are told, while professing our freedom. I read words in old deep books that smelled like mold. In them, I saw men struggling to find truth. From Beowulf to Einstein I looked in the folds of paper for a clue. Still, in the old books, there was nothing for me, and I set them aside.
I set my own words to paper, trying with all of my intellect to pierce the veil of ignorance. I spoke the truth and left the unproven. I kept my integrity and tempered my rage. I hammered the keys to send a message, to steer us from losing all that is good. It sat on the paper, unopened.
Time has taken my fair skinned boyhood. It has taken my hopeful attitude. It has stripped me of my passions, replacing them with less aggressive attributes. Through these many years I have watched as men failed to become what we should be. I have seen honorable men sell that honor for nothing. I have watched men sell what they were entrusted for a pittance. I have seen the worst of man.
Now, perhaps, you will say that I am a bitter old man. I suppose that I am. I was born with the aptitude and the tools to change the world. I tried with all of my tenacity and will, still, I failed. Perhaps if I had been more brave, if I had sacrificed myself as so many great men have done, in an effort to lift mankind, we may have become what we should have been. I am devoid of hate for men with different colors of skin. I am devoid of men who have differing beliefs. I am the man who I set out to become, yet, I have failed through communication or example to sway the direction of mankind. I have failed to act as an example. I have failed to act as a leader.
If you wonder why the world that we hand our children is less than what we were given, if you look to find blame for our collective embarrassment and failure, it is I. I am the one who failed this world so miserably. It is I who allowed the corruption and greed to strip our children of their right to freedom and equity. It is my failure and mine alone, and I shall shoulder this burden for all of my remaining days.