A Rude Awakening
Dreams Die Hard
Simultaneously, while the Right inches closer to war, if only by means of war talk, the Left is still in its womblike enclosure, insulated against the harsher realities, focusing mainly on material disparities, assorted inequalities, manipulated markets, medical emergencies, lingering prejudices, bad attitudes, bad language, injustice, and unalleviated pain, sickness, and despair -- not necessarily limited to our borders. It is no wonder civilization cannot progress further from this point except in terms of technology, which is itself as rudderless as can be. Stagnation is it. The Right plans to maybe fight its way out. The Left seems set on staying in power, no matter what, by warding off hawks, or doves, depending upon what is in its best interest. Actually, there might not be in effect a true Right or true Left. The one keeps reinventing the other. How can the Left define itself anyways since it is merely a loose confederation of advocates, competing for attention and dollars? Some get the royal treatment, while others wait their turn. As to the Right, it has its act together, but cannot effectively communicate as much.
Unfortunately, the real world does not respect partisan politics. If only the future could be mapped out in reliable, predictable, foreseeable eventualities so that both Left and Right prepared for each and every upcoming crisis. Our prophets have already had their say as well as homegrown soothsayers, in books, movies, lectures, talk shows, sermons, and song. As it turns out, they played the odds like anybody else. While the Vietnam War was in full swing, to backtrack a little, the Right, all decked out in anti-Communist attire, the Left produced electrifying music and staged protests. Now, there are neither Communist hunters nor hippies. It could not have been seen what lurked round the corner, much less how life would evolve a decade later. As has been pointed out, many innovations the latter "fought" for became normalized. Now, forty years later, political inertia is complicated by and combined with the fact that nobody really wants to fight, not in terms of blood, for medical marijuana, explicit lyrics, or same sex marital joint tax returns. Indeed, why should they?
In fact, why fight at all? Not a bad idea, to disarm, multi-laterally, except that to refuse to go to war -- the next one, that is, or the one we are actually in, like it or not -- means that terrorists will ultimately overwhelm us. Try telling terrorist groups to observe human rights and national sovereignty. We are neither liked nor respected in the global environment. It is simply the nature of the beast. Thus far, our biggest, most persistent enemies are meaner than impressive. That is how they compensate for their inferiority. If they change, however, unite under this new four-letter aegis, spread out, gain in momentum, accumulate wealth, and abuse power, unchallenged, then later on we will have much more trouble on our hands than at present. Personally, I would not like to be the one to exaggerate their potential if it is only just about to peak and begin its descent. I therefore defer to the experts.
The Enemy from the Left
A man falls ill. The larger aggregate of television viewers are captivated by an exotic illness. Ergo, the man rather than the world, sick enough on its own, gets major, sympathetic, as well as fearful attention. It goes with the current territory. But how did it get this way? The seeds of our conflicts, domestic and international, can only lie in the dramatic shift from narrowly prescribed, traditional American values that characterized the Clinton Administration. For eight years our newest enemy's parents, if not themselves, watched America restructure. All options were on the table. Not so in Sharia. The moral upper hand America had acquired with incredible hardship in the 1940s underwent one revision after another. Overseas, our detractors decided, henceforth and forever, to no longer take us seriously. The West, it concluded, was worthless. It had an interest in but no authority over the Middle East. I hasten to add that I deal with perceptions, not the deeper truths to which I never gain entry. By the time the enemy attacked, his action went against a Christian administration, as well as a dynasty, inasmuch as there is such a thing here, he held in contempt. It was picture perfect, an accomplishment he never imagined himself capable of. The date was September 11th, only ten days after an anniversary of Hitler's first blitzkrieg, itself based on a complete fabrication -- thoroughly unprovoked. Like September 1st, September 11th would change the world, as far as we are concerned.
Right and Left -- Not Necessarily Parallel
They seem so well-defined, do they not? The Right gets puffed up on God, country,the flag, motherhood, family values, hard work, loyalty, and all the rest. But the Left, living the life, is equally egotistical and proud, championing the underprivileged with masterful tax and spend demagoguery, the very case at hand. When the Right is in office, who knows where so much sanctimonious, martial righteousness will lead? Bombs away, one might say. Still, the Left is often enough, and justifiably so, called sinister. It may not be trigger happy like its friendly adversary, but it has devious ways to achieve its goals, which, themselves, are likely as not not mainstream. Has our direction permanently changed? Truthfully, it is too early to tell. The present sharp turn to the Left from the top has taken many of us by surprise. To divert American attention away from a growing, alarming, legitimate exterior threat to another matter altogether, is bold, risky, and coincidental. The operating table is now more important than the battlefield. Somehow three administrations from the fall of Communism slipped by before critical mass. My point is that the enemy, too, is skilled in our Left and Right practices. He is ill-equipped, unschooled, unkempt, fanatical, and smart. He brilliantly plays along with the former, remaining totally undetected, then strikes with the kind of fortitude for which the Right is relied upon. Right or Left? No need to vote. You know who you are. Either way, you will never be free of the opposition, with whom you live and breathe. At times, Right and Left must set aside differences, unite, or decline.
The Sickness Unto Death
Soren Kierkegaard penned this title in the mid-nineteenth century. Catchy words indeed. Quoted here only as a matter of wonder. What is it? It cannot be cancer. Nor can it be a misunderstood, distorted, murderous religion. Both these diseases, one of the body, the other of the mind, are subject to treatment or enlightenment. For the author, it was a form of despair having to do with the spirit. It had to do with resignation in the face of death, which to the Christian mind, is not the end. As in Denmark, so in the world at large? Maybe. Yet there is something going on at the moment that is undermining the foundations and fixtures the East-West global balance has hitherto counted upon. Russia takes the Crimea. Syria and Iraq are destined to fall into the temporary grasp of a militia whose photos are close to ridiculous. Tanks and guns alone should not make armies readied for Armageddon quake. Moreover, these ill-clad thrill-killers and soldiers of fortune do not seem adequate to the 21st century. What do they have going for them other than strength in a sea of hesitancy? Whatever the case, by means of an insidious virus or a monstrous ideology, there is a profound sickness in the world. The challenge is to subvert and arrest them both before they go further.
The Writing on the Wall
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