The Coming Years
Filed Under: Opinion, World | Posted: 02/27/2008 at 9:19AM
Comments | Region: United States
Things just may begin to appear as if we human beings are bent on a sort of mass suicide. Yet given the chance, there’s another way to voyage through prospective hard times ahead sans the adjective, grim, being highlighted.
by Donald Croft Brickner
Premise: Some really dark days lie ahead of us here in the U.S. over the next four years.
That’s the bad news — and it’s pretty bad.
Further, because Yankee culture has so deeply influenced (and altered) so many other international cultures, our negative effects here are apt to go global. That’s ironic, too, given that so many westernized societies now are quietly cheering for the collapse of All Things American.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen, whisper, whisper. We don’t hear much about that in the States, though, because we’ve become so obsessed with just dealing with, or glaring down the very real sociological concerns that now face us — us, us, us.
Beyond our borders, our culture is consistently viewed as severely self-absorbed.
Yet it is out of this latest (and perhaps heartiest) American melodrama that a new spark of The Creative Good is likely to re-emerge — and it will begin in the States.
There remain two basic qualities in which Americans arguably still outdistance the rest of the world, no matter how badly we stumble: our capacity for creating something wonderful out of virtually nothing — we remain the real-deal Rockys of the world, despite a likelihood that we may have forgotten that — and our unique native sense of humor.
The rest of the world may find itself astonished at how resilient and determined we can be when we finally reach down for our crops and pull up nothing but dust (and we’re not quite there yet). What’s so funny about that? is sure to be queried around the world after they see us cracking jokes over unresolved ills. What, are those people sedated, or something..? Don’t they recognize how badly they’re hurting? They’re even the butt of jokes in Canada — …in Canada, for God’s sake.
Why — even the Russians still want to nuke them!
Yes, ma’am, lots of us are likely to respond. We surely are aware of all of that.
Which is when we, the ill-guided Pied Pipers of the world, break out laughing.
* * * * *
Still, not all of our problems will be so dismissively funny. That’s a given.
Several instances of the crises facing us are going to require that we make a lot of sweeping changes, yet too many of us still aren’t prepared to deviate from the old ways. Unfortunately for them, the likely changes to come might be unnerving, and possibly even terrifying. Heretofore-inscrutable world views will finally be investigated, too — i.e., how people view themselves in relationship to the universe they (too often errantly) believe they inhabit. Motives behind such incongruous and too-often hurtful world views will begin to be viewed as suspect.
In order for us to survive nationally (and perhaps globally), pursuit of the truth, as opposed to voicing casual, uninformed opinion or spin control, is going to have to resurface as the foundation for all future corrective discussions: if they’re to be at all meaningful.
* * * * *
Some of the absolute worst of the bad news:
During the next several years, there are likely to be shocking climactic changes and record deadly weather events turning up all over the planet (duh). At times, these changes will simultaneously destroy lives and property, and otherwise (as if the deaths and destruction weren’t enough) scare just about everybody half-to-death.
Not that far down the road, almost everyone will come to this uniform agreement: we want all of this violent weather and nature-run-amok crap to come to an end. What can we do?
Fossil fuels will finally cease being depended upon to get any of us from here to there. That’s not news — but even our fashionably popular hybrid cars will quickly fall out of favor. Fossil-fuel-anything will be seen as a primary culprit. So, once the gas stations begin to disappear along our highways (it’s inevitable, and it’ll be sooner than almost anybody as yet actually imagines), even the hybrids will be considered impractical, if not just plain unacceptable.
Whoever “killed” the electric car is going to seriously consider resurrecting it.
As citizens of the world, we can significantly help to turn back global warming. The good news is inevitably we’ll step up to the plate as truly reformed abusers of natural resources. And, yes, China and India will be induced to follow suit.
That’s going to be maybe the most tearfully-welcomed news we could receive.
* * * * *
But, yes, there’s more downside:
Violence will spiral upward, jobs and job salaries will plummet, and divorces will markedly increase: for a time. Finger pointing, already a national obsession, will continue to fill our airwaves, and it will appear as if we’ve slipped into anarchy — again, temporarily. These kinds of spikes will suggest End Times. They are not.
As for the far religious right (i.e., anglo fundamentalist Christians): As the 2008 primaries now stand at this writing (mid-February), Republican John McCain has a clear insurmountable lead, despite a late eyebrow-raising counter-vote by self-proclaimed conservatives who reject McCain. But even with a throw-in candidate for vice president on the Republican ticket, no ultra-conservative will be sent to the White House in 2009 who has any real impact ideologically to counter his/her seated president, even if McCain is elected. What vice president ever has had such an option?
Short of commandeering the U.S. Congress once again in its next elections, the influence of the politically-driven anglo Evangelical movement will dissipate. It is unlikely to ever again experience the political influence it has enjoyed since the Reagan years — not because of being excluded from without, but rather because its members will ultimately turn away from politics from within … and take back what by then they’ll then have come to recognize was a ransacked and abducted spirituality.
The separation of church and state will once again be appreciated for its wisdom.
* * * * *
The national debt is striving to race past all fail-safe zones. Congressional efforts to formally balance the federal budget, therefore, are likely to turn very serious.
As circumstances presently stand, the U.S. government cannot technically “go” bankrupt, at least in a legal sense, because there as yet exists no mandated law to have to balance the federal budget.
The reverse is true on both the American state and incorporated municipal levels, where balancing their respective budgets are inviolate laws. So, a chronic failure to balance either, then, can, and would — when pushed into a corner — result in a lose-lose alternative of either declaring bankruptcy or shutting down government.
Which system is better? The states and cities have got it right.
Here’s why: it’s possible we may discover that our federal government has dug itself so deeply into economic hell that balancing the federal budget simply can’t be corrected by conventional means — and runaway inflation is the next result.
Our politicians might thus be forced to legally mandate a federal balanced budget — even if it means they might be forced to simultaneously consider declaring U.S. bankruptcy only five minutes later.
A bankrupt federal economy has never been declared — and, curiously, it might have only a marginal impact on Wall Street, once the smoke clears. When Wall Street has run into troubles in its past, it’s had little impact on federal jobs. So, it’s not unreasonable to envision that the reverse might conceivably also be true. It’s all uncharted territory.
But make no mistake — a “busted” Fed is going to hurt. All programs may be lost.
And even short of declaring bankruptcy, countless federally-funded programs are very likely to be wiped from the books next year (2009), when the newly elected president takes office, and the economy is seriously addressed. Neither our state nor municipal governments will be able to pick up any federal programs, because both are already strapped beyond all reason — from coast to coast, from border to border.
This is the single biggest mess we, as U.S. citizens, are probably going to inherit between now and 2012 — and that’s saying a lot, given our real climate concerns.
Credit for most Americans is already on its way out. So, “spending” our way back into (deluded) prosperity would no longer — and never again, longer — serve as a magical cure. Nor will we ever again be able to prop up our economy by entering into some suspect foreign war that’s, oh, by the way, economically convenient.
* * * * *
Here’s another big helping of good news: the correction of our economic woes, demanding ingenious, meaningful changes and programs, is almost sure to be achieved.
Historically, we’re a clever and deeply resilient culture, remember? — particularly when our backs are up against the wall. Knock Rocky down, bust his nose, blind his eye, and he just gets up again — and waves you forward with his gloves: Ain’t so bad — what else ya’ got?
It’s going to be so cool when America makes its comeback — even if that’s still a long way down the road.
* * * * *
What isn’t being stated here are all the ancillary ways these harsh changes, just cited, will induce additional major shifts in so many other arenas of our lives.
One arena that’s sure to surface is the emergence of the “American misanthrope” — another topic, for another time. Still, facing our petty hatreds for one another is a destructive sociological development that hasn’t yet received its due. But, it will.
In time. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch, a friend recently effectively argued.
Could these predictions be wrong? Well, sure — but only if we opt not to change, and that — that — will mark the beginning of the end of Physically-Manifested Us.
Suffice to say, these prospective horrors appear to be arriving in these times, in part (perhaps from Behind The Scenes, let’s call it), to bring back an honest and more fully-realized humility — and to deal a death blow to arrogance and violence as primary ongoing expressions of our physical existence.
Does life really suck? No. C’mon. We’ve done this to ourselves.
Scare us all badly enough, and we just may jettison our smug independence, and climb down from our delusional high horses.
* * * * *
And as if all of all of that weren’t enough — what follows next must be considered just one more part and parcel of the dramatically changing times we’re living in.
It makes no sense to recognize one set of probable first-time-ever likelihoods, just to ignore others on the very same canvas — correct?:
We must recognize that a UFO landing (or a “visitors’ coming-out”) is inevitable, as well. There have been lots of UFOs described by endless eyewitness reports of late, replete with film footage — and the insistently-overlooked evidence for a western governmental cover-up remains, as it has for decades, overwhelming.
When The Event happens, simulcast right there on CNN and You Tube — and it may or may not happen during the next four years — a lot of bubbles of denial will pop. Lord only knows how the planet’s universities will react. College professors have gone way more ostrich about UFOs’ (never mind visitors’/aliens’) existence than our 95-percent-silent global governments.
Kiss SETI goodbye at that time (the “search” will be over), along with the term, “UFO.” Once the flying objects have been identified, we’ll have to give them a more appropriate name — not that it’s a lock they were ever “flying” through the air, as we tend to perceive the concept, in the first place.
All this classified foot-dragging about supposedly non-existent extraterrestrials — and for what? If They wanted to destroy us, we’d be dead by now. As for a shock to our systems, how spindly-creepy can they look? If it’s just the Grays — woo-o.
So-called abductions are a serious-enough matter, but the mainstream isn’t yet ready to discuss much of anything about any of this. Maybe that’s far more to the point. Our determined denial continues to remain nothing short of breathtaking.
Given everything else that faces us in the near future, a UFO landing (or outing) might prove to be a diverting distraction — never mind a source for fresh humor.
* * * * *
The bottom line is this: We have it, within the lot of us, to not only take these hits and survive, but thrive. The suspicion is that the physical planet can heal itself a lot faster than we’re inclined to give it credit for — allowing we give it the chance.
At such a time, we’ll not only have shed a lot of tears (and cracked a lot of jokes, in part to help wipe away those tears), but America will finally become the nation it had always striven to become before it got so incredulously sidetracked.
We’ve embraced The Life and Times of Bozo the Clown for too many years now.
We need a new act. With faith and determination, we can create one — a really really really good one.
And these days, who among us wouldn’t flat-out hope and dream about that?
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