As an “Alberta clipper” descends today and “white-outs” are being reported all over the area, one rather wishes a “white out” could descend over all the discussions and issues facing us these days in our country as we step over the threshold into 2022. The Corona virus numbers continue to grow and we are now over 800,000 recorded deaths from the disease. The opioid crisis has receded into the background but is still taking lives in the hundreds of thousands yearly. What saddens is that opioids are pain killers and people who take them are desperate to ease the pain of injury and disease. It is a cruel deception when these people are then destroyed by the very thing they hoped would help them.
The New Year has been flooded with news articles from every persuasion — liberal and conservative, Republican and Democratic, Socialist and Radical Right Wing. Most are saying that democracy as we knew it in the last fifty years is dead. If nothing else January 6th revealed that our history has never been what we thought it was and civil disruption has always been an underlying current. Many knowledgeable people are comparing this time to the 1850s and the years before the Civil War. There are many chilling similarities, especially the attitude by many that violence is the only answer to get what we want.
The issue is what DO we want? Do we even know? And like too much candy at Halloween is it even good for us? Some good things have come out of the disruption. People are looking for better jobs and benefits attempting to move out of the cycles of poverty that have kept too many in a type of employment slavery. To find out what is good for us often takes time to shake out. I have been interested in reading many of the overviews of the post-World War II period in American history. These were the years I grew up in — Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, anti-Viet Nam, the drug culture, the end of the Cold War. Times of prosperity and times of recession. In my 70 years plus it has all been there. Sometimes it seems my own life has been a textbook of the history of this nation.
What a “Mulligan stew” we are! I don’t believe we realize we are an experiment, the results of which are not yet in. Although people from ancient times to the present have always moved around, never staying long in one place, the fact there was a sub-continent to the west of Europe was a drawing card for every schemer and swindler, and hopeful refugee. Here one could start over and greed and power and wealth seemed to be available to anyone willing to reach out and grab it. But it wasn’t, and while equality was always a part of the dream certain groups achieved, it has never made it for all people of every race and color.
The Bible tells us “We are all one”, but that seems a hard pill to swallow for people of wealth and power. I will probably not be around to see all that happens in the next twenty or thirty years. Certainly every person deserves the right to freely and without fear carve out their own destiny. We all ought to be able to agree on that.