“Be not afraid.”
Saint John Paul II
It may be the start of the joyous holiday season, but it’s time realize a reckoning is upon us. Things are likely to get a whole lot worse.
It’s not about various predators being pushed into the light of day, although that can be unnerving as well. Politics is getting uglier and less predictable, especially with the increasingly crazy president. His eventual removal will bring a sense of relief, but the process is also going to increase tension and possibly even violence.
We are entering a time when we have to manage fear. The only way to manage it is to reject it.
Something is terribly wrong in America. Like an ER doctor, all of us feel compelled to treat the life-threatening symptoms in front of us.
Useful stooges run the White House, boardrooms, and apparently at one time the DNC. Drug addiction is rampant. People simply go crazy and kill dozens for the sheer thrill of it. It is more than fashionable to readily assume the worst about every person, every debate, and every event. Guns honestly seem like a solution to many problems to many problems. Spirituality itself is weaponized almost casually.
As we will continue to learn, our political system was completely corrupted and compromised by a hostile foreign power. But what’s far more troubling is how easily we let it happen.
Apparently, bragging about predatory sexual assault is over “the line”. I have been wondering where the line was for some time.
We all knew this election was going to get ugly. We all knew this was going to plumb the depths of personal attack and warped reality, straying far from the many things we need to work out as a people. We all knew that it was going to be sick, weird, and ultimately just unreal.
So here we are, adrift in that spot on the map labeled “Here be Dragons”. Taking a metaphor from Columbus Day, we’re in that terrible moment when there is no sign of land and just about anything can happen. Our biggest fear should be that we’ve seen this story before and we can only hope that it doesn’t wind up with new horrors far away from the civilized authorities – horrors like genocide, slavery, and plunder.
The economic news out of most of the world points to a continued, if not new, slowdown. Japan is going nowhere, Europe may be shrinking, China is bleeding capital, and the rest of the world is hanging on. The only place there is good news is here in the US where … there was a net slowdown in the number of jobs gained in May. None of this looks good.
For everyone outside the US, it doesn’t. But most of that money from China is coming to the US – or, more accurately, coming back. Why aren’t things looking up?
Global instability doesn’t help anyone, which is why the Fed stopped raising rates. We can’t go it alone anymore, not in this inter-connected world. It spooks everyone to see this much risk. Yet there is still reason to believe that the US, alone, will see a period of higher growth by the end of the year. It’s all about that money coming back – and when it gets put to use.
This is a time to be thankful for what we have. We gather with family or friends and celebrate the bounty of a great and prosperous Promised Land. The material wealth of North America has always been obvious, as it was demonstrated to the first Europeans by the natives.
But this is not a Promised Land for many people who live here. The systems that we have set up, often credited with our wealth, do not always work. When we are thankful on these days, it is rightly for the great gifts of our Democratic Republic – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hapiness. But as we have seen in the last few days, none of these are guaranteed to all by our system.
It is impossible to be truly thankful for our great gifts when we know that they are jealously kept from others.
Oh say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?
Not according to Wayne La Pierre of the NRA, it doesn’t. He has a vision of a nation imprisoned and afraid, an America I simply cannot recognize. His call for a new security regime with armed guards posted at every school, every place where the vulnerable cringe with fear from gun violence, has drawn detractors from every corner of the country. That’s only reasonable, of course. But I have to thank him for starkly painting the picture as to exactly where we are going if there is not a change of some kind.
A school in Connecticut, a church in Pennsylvania, a trap set for fireman in New York – every week it seems there is another event or two. The corrosive action of fear creeps in like rust, never sleeping and eating its way gradually to our core. A change must come because this is intolerable. The change, however, must not just be one of law. The change has to be one from deep inside us as a people.