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Can we change the doom and gloom upon us?

When in our long lives so far, have we ever felt so much dread at the state we are in? Sometimes, I feel we are at apocalypse’s door, the final and total destruction of the world. This is mentioned in the Bible: The bell’s ringing is supposed to usher in the apocalypse. It also means destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale, such as perhaps what’s happening now.

We are watching the world disintegrate during these remaining years of our lives. If this isn’t a call to wake up, I’m not sure what is.

Yes, we’ve had some worldly traumas in our lifetimes: the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy assassination, violence with the Civil Rights movement, the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Rwandan Genocide, Sept. 11 attacks, various weather events and certainly the different refugee and migration crises and deaths of large numbers of people because of famine and war. And of course, personal losses and tragedies.

It feels like now, however, these tremendous catastrophic disruptions are becoming a daily part of our lives. Climate extremes are causing megadroughts and scorching temperatures, resulting in mega-fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, dust storms and now a typhoon destroying much of our land and infrastructure. The grid is overtaxed, people are dying and losing their homes.

Somewhat connected, there are over a million species of flora and fauna at risk of extinction by the end of this century. And the oceans are endangered.

Wars and uprisings are occurring all over the globe.

Our social fabric is on a collision course with disaster. We are so divided, hardly anything gets done to solve our many problems, even at the local level. Schools are at risk because of this divide, with some wanting critical thinking skills taught with a presentation of uncomfortable information, but not all.

Mass shootings of schoolchildren with military-grade weapons is almost a weekly event, and of adults nearly daily. Gun rights are a hot topic.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has divided our nation even more. We increasingly live in separate universes, and many are concerned about another civil war.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, another divide. And more and more people without homes are appearing everywhere. What a statement about our times! And so many people are hungry and starving all over the world.

Voting rights are being attacked. Some individuals feel they are above the law.

Oh, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has not helped any of these situations. Too many people, too close together? Need I say more?

A big election is upon us, Nov. 8 to be exact. Ballots will be mailed out the week of Oct. 17. Consider these points when deciding who to vote for. What candidates are honest, have integrity and recognize the predicament we are in?

Who is aware of the climate destruction and has already been working for solutions? Who is ready to work with all politicians, regardless of their party? Who is in favor of gun laws, strong gun laws? Who will fight for all of our rights as human beings, women and men, Black and white, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, rich or poor, young or old? Who is willing to do what’s right for people, for the earth, for space around us?

As a nation and as a community, we could pull it together, even at this breaking point. Sometimes we have redeeming qualities at the last minute, drawing us back from the brink. Our world needs connection, collaboration, understanding and appreciation of shared humanity. It must start with our hearts, our heads, our votes.

Is the bell ringing yet?

See you at the polls.

Martha McClellan has lived in Durango since 1993 and has been an educator, consultant and writer. Reach her at mmm@bresnan.net.