“Enter the world at your own risk,” says the sign as you pass through the Tibetan bardo. This is why infants are born crying. King Lear said something about this. Ooooh Baby Baby!
Risk means, among other things, life isn’t fair. Risk isn’t about practicalities. It’s always about something else. Prudence won’t save you from the bad effects of hourly gambling or of taking a brave position. Some children are brave. Many of them grow up to be brave.
W.H. Auden once described his own face as being like a “ruined wedding cake” or was it a cake left out in the rain—I can’t remember, and I’m not going to look it up. Whenever I see a grownup’s face I see a ruined child’s countenance and I suppose I’m lucky to be legally blind, as I can’t see faces until I’m very close and accordingly I’m protected from seeing a lot of broken children. But I hear them. Their voices are equally revealing. You know what I’m talking about: voices that conclude every assertion with a question mark, the vocal appurtenance designed to avoid risk. “I made no assertion at all; merely asked a question.”
I often conclude they weren’t brave children to begin with. I wonder where the bravery goes when it skips a child. Does it skip the next ten children born and land on the eleventh? I don’t know. If you’re reading me closely you’ll conclude I think bravery is inborn. I think this is true.
Cowardice, cruelty, racism, xenophobia, all the “isms” are taught. They come from “nurture”. Bravery is something else.
Now if you’re not really brave, you can still practice what it might be like—just like one pretends to be an athlete by playing catch.
It’s time for Americans to play “Bravery Catch” which means, among other things, recognizing the United States is only as good as its Democracy. Getting money out of politics. Putting term limits on Congress. Giving our veterans all the health care they need. Investing in our people.
I think Bernie Sanders is the only brave presidential candidate right now. I don’t like him but I know he’s got some courage.
The young people who are supporting him, who are showing up for his rallies also have courage.
Enter the world at your own risk. Risk isn’t about practicalities (voting for Hilary). It’s always about something else.