Robert Heinlein wrote a few times about the “Crazy Years” which he plotted pretty much where we are now. He didn’t go into much detail, besides off-hand mentions of the general collapse of nations and civilization and all the things that go with it: war, famine, riots, looting, you know, all that stuff that we’ve been without for a very long time.
I’m talking about serious privation, not the sort of distant wars we’ve seen since WWII… real, genuine hard times. In David Weber and John Ringo’s Empire of Man books, they mention the Dagger Years, a similar time of chaos and bloodshed.
Looking out at the world and internal to our country, I’m worried that we’re headed that way. There’s too much rhetoric and finger-pointing and no one really wants to fix these problems. Problems, after all, employ people in the progress of fixing them. The bigger the problem, the more people will allow “temporary” measure to repair them.
I feel like the US has run out, chasing the road runner… only to find ourselves running on empty air. The rest of the world, is watching, some of them hoping for us to fall and others are encouraging us to keep running, insisting that we’ll find solid ground under our feet soon enough. Meanwhile, here we are, the average person, starting to watch the ground approach.
How we got here isn’t important right now. The important part is putting together some way to actually prevent that impact with the hard edge where ground meets sky.
I’m increasingly coming to the opinion that we can’t avoid that impact. In fact, it sometimes feels like Wile E Coyote’s rocket boots are running us full blast towards the ground. People on all ends of the political spectrum are madly cackling as they pile up dynamite to cushion the fall, and, yes, someone has replaced the parachute with an anvil.
Where am I going with this? Well, it isn’t all doom and gloom. We’ve got enough people trying to rein in the crazy that we might just pull out of this death spiral. What we need to do is start being rational. Anger, hate, these lead to the dark side, yes? We’ve got to stop looking for simple solutions and smooth-talking liars to fix things for us… we’ve got to fix things ourselves.
Be the example for your friends and neighbors. Teach your kids the importance of hard work and independence. Walk with your head high and be not afraid. Fear is the mindkiller. Speak your mind and most importantly… listen. Communication has always been the ally of those who want control. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.
Do not go quietly into the night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Keep pumping those feet and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get across this empty space to the other side.