Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Bastille Day!

Frenchmen who were willing to start a revolution to get rid of the monarchy stormed the Bastille 225 years ago today.  I think it’s interesting that on that July 14 the medieval fortress and prison known as the Bastille, which was the symbol of royal authority, only contained seven inmates.  No matter.  The Revolution was on.

On this July 14 we are in the middle of multiple revolutions.  There are many Bastilles to storm and thousands of revolutionaries around the world are on the march.  Hatred and dissatisfaction are the fuel.  Our revolutions take many different forms.  Some are classic battles with arms, atrocities and deaths.  Others are more subtle.

Close to home we have a relatively peaceful revolution in process.  It is fueled by dissatisfaction with a dysfunctional political system and a growing number of have-nots.  There is not yet a critical mass that will overthrow the system, but it will happen if the dysfunction continues and income inequality continues to expand.

Overseas, dissatisfaction and hatred have combined to form a toxic mix everywhere we look.  In the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia.  Much of the hatred stems from religious bigotry: Jews and Arabs; Buddhists and Muslims; Christians and Muslims; Sunnis and Shias; and more.  Add in autocratic, repressive regimes and the revolutions multiply.

All this is not inevitable.  It doesn’t have to happen.  But to turn around this tide of lethal unrest would require people to change their ways.  History gives little hope that this will happen.  More likely we will succumb to the old adage: If we don’t change the direction we’re going we’re likely to get where we are headed.

Happy Bastille Day!


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