Saturday, March 26, 2016

As Storm Clouds Gather

The view outside my window shows a dark and menacing sky, lit only by the flash of lightening.  The rumble of thunder shakes the house and the beating of the rain against the roof adds to the dread of the day.  It will be another dreary day as storms roam along the Gulf Coast.  Meanwhile, my wife rests comfortably asleep in the bedroom, surrounded by her dreams and the warmth of the comforter.  The similarity to the current events is unavoidable.

  As a nation we seem unable to recognize the changes around us, and come to grip with the potentials they represent.  For some -- they see the flashes and hear the thunder of the approaching storms, while others rest, complaining only of the noises made by those who are alarmed. The views of those concerned with the approaching storm are so easily dismissed as the ravings of the fringe, or the racists, or the zealots by those who roll over and pull the comforter of smugness around themselves.

We are now in year 15 of a conflict with Islamic terrorists with no clear plan to win.  In the course of that conflict we have overthrown, or helped overthrow at least four governments.  We’ve failed at providing legitimate succession even though we have thrown thousands of American lives and untold billions of American dollars at the problem, often only to create more uncertainty and risk.

The questions of today’s world far outpace the answers, if indeed there are answers. The arrogance of youth sees the world in black and white, with all the emotional intolerance that view imparts.  How long will this nation stand if we are unable to find a path forward where we are not continuously at war?  

When I was young, the Geo-political world was a simple bi-polar affair.  There was us (the US and its allies in Europe and Asia), and there were them (the USSR and its communist allies).  Everyone else seemed to be subordinate to us or them, or on occasion acted as surrogates.  The fear of nuclear war weighed heavily into every decision on confrontation, but the assumption was there were reasonable people making those choices.  Then the USSR collapsed and we became the dominate world power, at least for a very brief time.  With the US in charge what could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out almost everything.  If you look at the world's political landscape it isn’t that different than a sporting league.  Choose whatever sport you’d like FIFA, NFL, MLB, NBA it really doesn’t matter they are all kind of the same.  There are top tier teams and then there are second tier teams trying to get to the top.  There is always someone on top, and everyone else is trying to dethrone them.  Some teams, like the New England Patriots, dominate their league for so long that everyone either hates them or loves them, there is no middle ground.  The US is kind of like the Patriots, a lot of people hate us for the simple reason we are successful and have dominated the Geo-political league since WWII.

Tied to this is the simple fact that the us in the US is becoming less and less us, and more and more me each day.  We are being fractured by those rich and powerful entities that pay for the political gladiators who do battle for our amusement in the coliseum we call the DC.  Like the gladiators of Rome, they lead a sheltered life, away from the maddening interaction with the little people, serving their masters and preparing for battle; knowing their existence can be cut short at any moment by the swift blow from another gladiator.  With their constant combat comes little time for anything else but survival.  Meanwhile, we sit yelling in the stands awaiting our chance to give a thumbs up or thumbs down, sealing their fate.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Well written, John. Love the way you express your thoughts.

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