I really was, honestly. That’s the way my mind works. Even though it is said that the explorer, pirate, slaver, massacre watching and darling of Elizabeth the first’s court didn’t discover San Francisco Bay (that honor goes to Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolà (who was unable to find Monterey Bay (doh!) and parked his ship at Linda Mar bay in Pacifica – apparently he heard about the Taco Bell on the beach and being Spanish and all…) I was thinking about Drake, not Portolà. Remember the English Empire and conquering stuff and setting up footholds here and there? Sending out ships to wipe out all “enemies” and stuff? The Empire is kinda small now like many many other empires that have come and gone before and after it. They all had one purpose, world domination. We are number one because we’re civilized and you will cease to be after we destroy you…and your confusing-I-can’t-make-any-sense-out-of-it-because-you-talk-funny civilization. Well the English aren’t really number one any more, but maybe three, four or five. They still have the pound instead of the Euro, that’s something I guess.
Who does rule the world? Us? How? Money? Power? Bombs? Ships? Maybe it’s ambition. The desire to go beyond, the “greater” the “magis”…whoa…that’s a little too Ignatian. But what if? I read the entire prayer that Francis Drake wrote when he left Plymouth on one of his adventures and it got me thinking. Perhaps that is what an explorer does, think the big thoughts, the possibilities, the things that drop in your lap, in other words opportunities. Many of Drake’s successes were done “carpe diem” style. He saw the opportunity and went for it, not knowing the full outcome of his actions. They didn’t always work out, take San Juan Puerto Rico as an example. But it was his spirit of adventure that maybe we, the people of this country, can take to heart, to make the changes necessary to be a dominant but not oppressive power. The power to dream.
You and I both know that the political climate in this nation is stagnant. No side wants to chat with the other side because the other side is dead wrong. Locked horns, unable to move forward nor backward. Voices raised to a fever pitch with so much hyperbole that truth no longer has any meaning. I’ve only been around for a few years compared to the history of this country, but I don’t think I have ever seen so much unwarranted animosity as I see now (sounds like a hyperbole, but then again I’ve only been round for a few semesters so what do I know). I cannot be sure where this atmosphere of disingenuousness will lead us. Locked as we are pushing to move forward and pushing to move backwards, progressive vs. regressive, we don’t notice that the rest of the world is continuing to turn. Maybe a look at Drake’s prayer can give us a kick in the arse:
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
–Sir Francis Drake (1577)
On the sidelines of the fierce battles to be right, are the prophets who disturb us, the poor, the marginalized, even the founders of this country. They try as they must to raise our collective consciousness but the shouting drowns them out. Taking the rhetoric down a notch will allow us to hear one other better. Ignorance abounds in this country which prides itself on education. A country is only as strong as its weakest citizens. Time to be disturbed, time to dream big, time to “find the land and find the stars.”
and so it goes…