The other day I was sitting in a café listening to a conversation between a couple of extremely young “adults”. The one charming youngster said “Hey, you know those tall birds that don’t fly, you know the ones that walk alongside the road? Well, yesterday I was driving down the road at like 60 or something, and one was there and I hit it with my truck, cause it can’t fly you know, and then it flew after I hit it! It was so funny, those things look so funny with their long legs!” When his female companion asked if he felt regret, he said: “NO! It was the bird’s fault, it shouldn’t have been in the road.” I repressed the urge to vomit and then punch him – The only reason I was listening in on their conversation was that the girl was reading a Lush For Life – clearly the only one with a mind in the group.
I can only assume that the truck owner was talking about one of many Sandhill Cranes that grace our fair city – and yes, they can fly. They’re creatures that many Tampa Bay natives can relate to. They mate for life, both parents feed the young live to over twenty-five and don’t breed until about seven years old. Almost tame, they have become completely at home in the city, but they still have a bird-sized brain.
So what did this young dipshit who delighted in running a fellow Earthling over teach us about people? Well, there are a type sub-human who lives in our world who is completely disconnected from the fact that they are part of this world and not simply residents of it. They feel that the Earth is like a rental property, that they don’t really have a stake in, it’s a structure built to house them. They feel as if they were put here, left on Earth by aliens, God, or some otherworldly power. They have no real feeling that they grew out of this world, part of it, and as a result, connected. Killing a “lesser” creature is as meaningless as wiping his ass.
Sandhill Cranes get it pretty rough. Recently a few were mutilated, tortured and killed in Wesley Chapel. Now I don’t think that the person or persons who committed those acts simply feel disconnected, they’re mostly likely sick, have a severe brain injury or were nicely beaten and raped as children. They demonstrate another societal illness, but the average Joe who says “Who cares? It’s not like those birds are endangered or human” is the root of those very ills that create bird-torturing monsters. Not feeling that deep connection with your world allows you to do things like beat your children, throw trash into rivers, assume scientists are lying to you about Global Warming and vote Republican. It is an attitude of defeat, one that says, “It’s not my problem; I didn’t do it; Even if it was a problem, there’s nothing I could do about it.” And I think I know what in our culture keeps this attitude alive, God.
Monotheism says that there is a Man in the sky who is watching us at all times and wants us to follow His rules. He made us. He put us here. And He left us with perfect, divine instructions on how to run our lives and it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and when we die, if we’ve been good, we’ll go to a place where everything is happy and perfect and unicorns and candy-canes for all. It is fine to suffer and be miserable in this world, because it’s just the studying part for a test where, if you pass, you go to paradise. Just suck it up for your four-score and seven and then things will get better. And I’m OK with that. Those religions teach nothing evil, cruel or truly awful, but not only is that a simplistic way of looking at God, but it leaves you with only a peep hole into this world.