An interesting piece from the Huffington Post

An interesting piece from the Huffington Post July 15, 2016

Yep.  President Obama has tried to pour a ton of manure on our problems in the hopes that something beautiful will grow.  It won’t.  Calling Nazi styled regimes of evil ‘junior varsity’ doesn’t turn them into junior varsity.  Saying we’re not as divided as we think when everyone can see the divisions unraveling doesn’t change the truth. Insisting that our economy is doing swell because Wall Street, even as wages stagnate and the workforce shrinks doesn’t change America’s feeling that we’re going nowhere and getting there fast.

Of course why are we so divided is a question worth asking.  Not that America has ever been ‘on the same page.’  See the Civil War for an example.  Even in the near mythical age of WWII, you had dissenters, complainers, political wrangling, people trying to get the government to come clean.  The difference being that despite the these points of departure, most Americans were able to set them aside and come together for the greater causes.

I think that is the part we’re missing, or appear to be missing.  Gone are the days when a tragedy or a disaster brings us together even if we later hammer out our differences and blame others. Whether Hurricane Katrina or a police shooting or a terrorist attack, our first reaction today is making political hay while the sun shines.  Even as the bodies float down the streets or rest in their own blood, we’re out scoring our points and pointing our fingers at ‘them.’

Part of this is because of the media.  Yes, it is true.  Media does impact a society.  Why are we having a fit over the police shootings and making it only about racism?  Because the media ignored the dearth of Dylan Noble and others like him and, coming out of the disastrous Clinton Email report, jumped on two deaths that fit that all important narrative, attempted to drown out the email story, and pushed us along a course that, unfortunately, ended tragically in Dallas.  Had the first reporting been of Dylan Noble’s death, what differences could there have been?

There are other reasons.  Much of the 20th century was about movements fashioned on the philosophies of the 18th and 19th centuries settling in over Europe and, after the Second World War, America.  These movements were revolutions in various forms, and saw their cause as a righteous one to overthrow the injustice and evils they inherited.  When you’re convinced that you stand for the side of the angels, and the other side belongs to the demons, don’t expect polite coffee table conversations.  Plus it’s worth noting that the divisions go along a host of categories in our society today.  We’re not one piece of paper united.   We’re not a piece of paper divided into two sides.  We’re not even a piece of notebook paper with dozens of lines dividing us.  We’re graph paper.  Hundreds and hundreds of little squares, vaguely aligned at random times, loyal to our current hand-crafted demographic of like thinking hipsters, and quite prepared to change our priorities the next day.

So there are probably many reasons for the divisions.  Wishing them away or saying happy words doesn’t change that fact.  The US, like the world, is undergoing massive changes, and fast changes.  Ideas, theories and solutions are sometimes here today, gone later today.  Most changes, as any historian will tell you, either have little lasting value or are, unfortunately, bad.  Our history books are select stories that cherry pick all of the best changes we believe brought us to the current state of affairs that we wish to celebrate.  But what is left out is the bulk of the story, the majority of lost and forgotten changes, and a tendency to scoff at the horrible changes since our textbooks are about how we overcame on our march along the right side of history.

Right now, we’ve having changes on a daily basis.  Which ones will make lasting good remains to be seen.  Which ones will plummet the world into ages of terror and darkness are also a mystery.  The bulk will matter little to future generations, but that doesn’t mean they don’t possess the capacity for temporary benefit or turmoil in the meantime.  Looking around, I get the feeling more are causing turmoil than benefit, but that’s just me.

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