Saturday, May 18, 2019


What occurs to me today:

Things are happening that some of us would say is evidence that we are going backward.  But there is another point of view.  It isn’t that we’re going backward but are starting to go forward again.  For example:

New abortion laws in Alabama and Missouri (and several other states) are draconian.  Draconian if you favor a woman’s right to choose.  But not for the pro-lifers.  For them they are welcome changes and give hope that soon Roe v Wade will be gone.

Encouraging a war with Iran is back on the front burner, thanks to the power that pro-war hawks now have.  For some of us this is a chilling possibility – like going to war with Iraq, except worse.  But not for everyone.  Finally, they think, we are doing what we should have done long ago – getting rid of those Ayatollahs and their revolution.

Too many unwanted immigrants are coming our way.  Slow them down.  Keep them out.  We are losing our whiteness.  We’ve been in charge and need to stay in charge.  Those are the mantras of many.  For them it isn’t so much going back to the way it used to be, because the way it used to be was that our borders were open to those who yearned to breathe free, including the ancestors of the ones who want to close our borders today.  So going forward today is pulling up the ladder our forebears used to get in.

Democracies are going out of favor.  Populists, nativists, authoritarians are on the rise.  The U.S., previously looked to as the great example of a successful democracy, has decided to pull back and stay mute on the sidelines.  America First, and actions to match the rhetoric.  Pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, pull out of the climate change conversation, pull out of arms limitation treaties, pull out of trade cooperation, and more.  Are we going forward or backward?  We are moving forward as we look backwards.

A cynic would say “What do you expect?”  Powerful nations and empires have a limited life span.  None last forever.  After about 250 years our time is up.  It is the nature of the human condition that we should lose our standing.  From that point of view, “What, me worry?” may be the appropriate response.  Maybe.  But I notice that I’m attached to the way it was, so all this moving forward by going backward doesn’t make me happy.


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