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Fifty Shades of Grey: My Version

I have fantasies. Oh, do I have fantasies. They wake me up in the middle of the night; they keep me from work; they interfere with my relationships. My longing is unending. It consumes me. Sometimes I stand, immobilized by my desires: So strong and overwhelming are they that I am unable even to make a step forward.

My fantasies are those of domination and submission but not in the bedroom: in the boardroom, where those in power turn over control to those who have none.

My fantasies involve our fearless leader standing in front of Congress and announcing loudly that they need to shit or get off the pot. The time for doing nothing is over, long over, and if legislation is not made to help the unemployed, students and the elderly, then they will all lose their jobs and their benefits immediately, perhaps retroactively. That taxes will be raised on the very rich, that the social security limit for taxation will be increased, that the citizens they purport to represent will have, at the least, the kind of benefits that they have. That control will be held by the people who elected them.

I imagine a scenario where the Supreme Court finally gets a clue and realizes Citizens United was a disaster of a ruling; where they revisit it and end the flow of huge and ugly money to our elections.

I fantasize about a world where we decide that our defense budget is large enough, too large, in fact, and that it will be drastically cut and those monies deflected elsewhere: towards education, single payer health care, the environment. A world in which we move to stop the destruction of our world, in which we no longer subsidize the oil companies, the larger agricultural companies, the pharmaceutical industry.

My longing is palpable for a world in which people actually think of the good of the whole before their own personal happiness. Where people do not selfishly imagine that they, too, will one day be rich and therefore can be selfish, but conjure instead a life with meaning instead of money. I desire a world where no one goes hungry at the same time someone else buys another mansion, another car, another handbag. Where no one is beaten or beaten down.

My fantasies are those of world peace, a place where countries can co-exist and not endlessly try and destroy each other, where stupid and misguided racism no longer overrides common sense; where there is a complete halt to ugly rhetoric, and lies are both caught and challenged by the media. I imagine a world, in fact, where black and white no longer exist but are overshadowed by nuance. Where there is not one God’s truth, but all mankind’s decency toward each other. I think about a world in which a billion dollars is not spent electing a president, but one in which that billion dollars is put to good and kind use.

In my fantasy world, bankers do not win the game by breaking all the rules while those of us who have been honest and played fair suffer deep and abiding losses. It is a world where those in power understand the responsibility that goes with it. A world in which we really do live by the late Rodney King’s words, in which Martin Luther King is not a relic, in which the programs of the New Deal and The Great Society are not relegated to history books and deemed uncool.

In the darkest hours of the night, I create a world where people march in the streets instead of playing computer games, going to the drive-through, watching reality television shows, sitting on their hands convinced that nothing they do matters.

Because I wonder: When will the world wake up and realize that we are all on a television reality show? That while we believe we are acting without a script, the truth is that it is only our minor moves and decisions (what to have for breakfast, what to wear) which are really ours; that the larger issues that consume us are being manipulated by the few and the powerful who fashion our direction, even as we delude ourselves into thinking we are in control.

This is not the benign world of The Truman Show and it is worse even than the Matrix meme that we are all part of someone’s game. Rather, we are all Pinocchio, held up by Geppetto’s strings and we live under the illusion that we finagle the tenuous threads that hold us up and keep us moving. We operate under the notion that our free will can overcome those who hold us in their thrall. While the darkest predictions of those who believe the world will end this year may not come true, still we are on a fast and furious collision course with ourselves because our short term memory is all we have left and so in the long haul we are all like Alzheimer’s patients who can only have the same conversation over and over again. Our condition is indeed approaching terminal.

But I have hallucinations, wet dreams, flights of fancy that we can change course and save ourselves from the inevitable, if slow and painful, decline that comes with our disease.

And so, I continue to think that there may yet be ways out of this mess.

My fantasy life does not jettison debate, difference, opinion or belief. It does not involve a world of sheep grazing the same grass. In fact, it wishes for just the opposite: a world in which people think before they talk, read outside their beliefs and operate with the overriding concern that everything they do has an impact on the planet and each other. It is a world in which we are all separated not by six, but by one degree of separation. Or perhaps just a world in which we wake up and the past 30 years have been a very bad dream and we get a do-over. And this time we get it right.

(This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post)

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