In the spring-early summer of my passage from 17 to 18 years old, Albert Camus helped to solidify my opposition to the war in Vietnam. Camus has never been far since then; a familiar recall to ordinary dignity and decency articulated with extraordinary clarity and courage. Now when I write about America, my words are tears. Every value held in my adult life is being systematically uprooted and trampled.
I believe we are in an early stage of every goodness human beings every dared believe in and which have nurtured and inspired the phoenix of humanity to rise again and again from ashes of the anti-human is in gravest danger.
We must face the truth of the challenge as it is before us. We must discover once more a bravery in solidarity to stand up and stand firm, even for the simplest, most everyday qualities that make it possible to recognize one another, acknowledging common ground and the condition of conscious mortality that sets specific terms on the universal human. To deny these terms has been and will again prove fatal. Initially there is confusion, followed by deception, then oppression, degradation, ultimately destruction.
The challenge then is this: if we do not stand, we fall and falling are at risk of being crushed. If we do not resist, we languish and wait to be conquered, whether the conquest is by arms or ideology. Thereafter when freedom is lost, let us ask now while asking remains possible, what will we have become?
The years are long but the vision is a short distance from Camus to the Paris Accord. Albert Camus is to be remembered and consulted; the Accord upheld and pushed through. I think about Camus advocating for solidarity-out-of-peace to work against humanity’s common enemies of ignorance, disease and death. I imagine the global possibilities to be worked together in the aftermath of achieving the primary goals of the Paris Accord. Let us ask here, with asking ripe before us; picnic basket, the Monet tablecloth, summer atmosphere, as handy props; what might yet come to be?
David Sparenberg is a world citizen, environmental & peace advocate & activist, actor, poet-playwright, storyteller, teacher and author.