Monday, June 13, 2016


A butterfly with broken wings 
Is falling by your side 
The ravens all are closing in 
And there's nowhere you can hide 
Please wake me 
-Pink Floyd, "Cymbaline"

I have experienced a couple of earthquakes in my life.  Most of them were so tiny I didn't notice, but a big one happened in Scotts Mills, about 15 miles from the home in 1993.  The quake was 5.6 on the richter scale, and did some damage around the town, although little if any that I could see in the house.
I left the house when it started, in my bathrobe.  At just before 6:00 it was just getting light in March and cool outside, but I was alone.  I stood there, as the rumbling stopped and the movement died down staring at the ground.
What was once so solid and trustworthy, wasn't any more.  All the terms you use to describe something absolute and reliable: rock solid, rock bottom, foundation, all of them presume the place you can go for safe stability is the earth its self.  Now it was moving around, it couldn't be trusted.  Suddenly the world felt... untrustworthy.  I was filled with a queasy sense of unease and uncertainty.  There's simply nowhere else to go when you can't trust the solidity of the planet beneath your feet.
Welcome to 2016, where the entire nation of the USA is feeling that.
For decades now, the extreme left has been successfully pushing culture and society ever more radicalized and leftward.  But in the last few years, its accelerated to the point of madness.  In just a few years, many solid, reliable, absolute, and trustworthy things about society have been removed, replaced, or reversed.
What was once laughable and unthinkable has become mandatory.  What was once reliable and comfortable has been banned or shamed.  What you could just last year freely say or do is now considered hateful and horrific.
Now, putting aside whether these changes are good and proper or not, consider the state of a nation where this keeps happening over and over.  The very definitions of basic foundational fabric-of-society concepts such as marriage, gender, and language have been uprooted suddenly and radically.
When you combine that with the contrast between what the economy is like down on the streets and what we're told its like in the media and by pundits, people are more than confused.  Add to that continual murderous attacks by Islamic radicals which we're told aren't really radical or Islamic.  Americans are looking at the ground with suspicion and accusation. 
That fundamental distrust of the world and what was comfortable and predictable has hit everyone - even the people who basically support these changes.  Needing to shift from, say, thinking a guy dressing as a woman is silly to stating unequivocally that this is now a woman and heroic for doing so costs a person psychologically.
In the past, big changes of this sort tended to either be accompanied by huge upheavals of another kind (war, famine, etc) or were slow and organic.  New generations tried out an idea, and over the generation it became standard.  As the older generations died out, no one really remembered the difference.  That's something a culture can absorb and people can comfortably adapt to.
But this sudden, almost violent radical change - a series of one after another, after another - that's very difficult for an individual to absorb, let alone entire cultures.
You can see this all around us.  People are on edge, easily angered, easy to take offense, easy to fight.  There's an unease around us among everyone that people are seeking solutions for.  Most people, perhaps the vast majority, don't even know exactly why they wake up feeling as if things are not quite the same color as last night.  As if they've stepped into another, very slightly different world where all the furniture was moved 1cm while they slept.
There are some who aren't affected by this.  Some who are comfortable and feel no disruption or change.  They are rich, powerful, comfortable, and surrounded by all the same things they always were.  Their jobs are safe, they know no one who is in trouble.  These people are isolated from what the bulk of society goes through and knows.
The last time I saw this was when Jimmy Carter was demolished in the general election by Ronald Reagan.  The pundits were sure Carter was an easy win, because Reagan was an idiot and a radical and a fire breathing bigot.  Things were kind of tough, but not so bad, and voters understood Carter meant well.
The first politician that taps into this sense of unease and gives people what feels like - not seems or logically proves to be - a solution, that politician wins, and wins big.  It doesn't even matter if they have any actual solutions.  Just the feeling that this person gets it and can handle things is enough.  Just the sense that someone like that can bring us back to what Reagan campaigned on -- "normalcy" -- can win.
What that means for this year's election or the nation's future I don't know.  All I know is, this situation is not something that can continue indefinitely.

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