Since my thesis is that the shit has already hit the fan; what more can I say? That these are interesting times? How is that reassuring? It’s not. Yet I’m delighted (if nervous) that the unreality of past years has given way to cold hard fact. I never wanted false reassurances. False reassurances are bullshit. I don’t traffic in bullshit.
Things might get worse. Things might get ugly. Things might get weird. That has always been true. That large groups of people are suddenly pondering their own decisions and fortunes doesn’t mean it was any less true in years past. It just means they’re waking up from a very expensive and demeaning slumber.
It’s easy to wonder if America is done for. The Egyptian, Roman, and British empires all dominated their version of the known world. Egypt is in revolution, London had riots last week, and the Vatican can’t even manufacture a hatchback.
But these aren’t yet the worst of times. Every generation has it’s own existential threats. Folks who grew up in the depression were still hoarding scraps of yarn and old buttons in the era of disco. Intervening generations had to deal with Nazis and Imperial Japan. I grew up fully aware that the mighty Russian bear had ICBMs aimed at the baseball card collection on my dresser. As I child I saw gas lines and wondered if there would still be cars when I was old enough to have a license. Putin hasn’t re-enacted Red Dawn, I sold the baseball cards on e-bay, and my truck is bigger, faster, and stronger than the one my dad owned. The world is as wondrous as it is unpredictable. Uncertainty about the future isn’t the whole story.
America has an ace in the hole called “gumption”. We do the impossible with impressive regularity! America is the land where poor people are fat. Where you can have just about anything you can afford. Where you can do whatever seems like a good idea…regardless of what the neighbors (or Europe) thinks. We had Rosie the Riveter in 1945 and we’re competing with societies that still keep their women in glad bags. Regardless of Obamacare, when a billionaire or foreign president gets mortally ill they hustle for the Mayo clinic. Our kids run lemonade stands because they want to. We invented monster trucks, microwaves, the blues, pop-rocks, and cowboys. American gun nuts bitch because cannons and machine guns are expensive. American motorheads build muscle cars that’ll peel the paint off a Chevy Volt. Here it’s legal and common to tell your boss to stuff it and seek a better job.
Americans are adaptable. They’ll skip town if they feel like it. They can move to the exciting city. They can hunker down in the boonies. If they can afford it they might do both. Americans leave states that piss them off and flock to ones with better economic conditions (ask California and Texas who’s gaining and who’s losing). We’re the nation where rednecks who cling to their guns and religion vote and do it while wearing greasy overalls. We think “spread the wealth” is fighting words. Despite efforts to start friction between classes a lot of us don’t give two shits who’s riding in a corporate jet so long as we’re not footing the bill. Americans grow, learn, die, get married, have kids, make good decisions, party, laugh, move, make bad decisions, change, adapt, and generally keep on doing whatever the hell we want expressly without government approval.
The future, as shocking as this sounds, is bright!