Our modern crisis jars (even terrifies) us because it seems unprecedented, especially when set against the stable and prosperous background of recent memory. A glance back at history, however, reveals many flex points more acute and dangerous to life – the depopulation of the Black Death helped end feudalism when there weren’t enough workers left in the fields, for example. People have been more desperate.
Still, the country now prays that our disputes remain ideological and do not descend into bloodshed, although extremists look ready for it. Our behemoths, the District of Columbia and Silicon Valley, exert an unabated power over our lives, inviting in, along with their brilliance, a type of unaffiliated, unaccountable confusion, as they eye each other warily from across the continent. This arrangement holds until people see that tech is no permanent substitute for living interactions and that the federal government was not designed to provide us with food and shelter. Parents with children in school, and small businesses and workers seeking financial aid, so many in our population, see that now.
Since Obama and Trump took office, few Americans can argue they haven’t been represented somehow on the executive level – these two presidencies encompass our nation’s current beliefs, on the whole, for better or worse. If there’s a silver lining, it’s our total involvement – full participation is the only path to heal us. And, everything is on the table – race, the wealth divide, so many items previously glossed over. If faith is anything, it is hurling all this forward into the void, keeping vigilant, and watching how what’s left comes back together.
The first presidential debate shocked where we thought we had seen it all, but the vice presidential debate showed our better and greater side. Harris and Pence backtracked, they dodged, but they were respectful. They acted like it was about something bigger than themselves.
Will we regain our noble spirit, or will we become one of history’s many clunkers? My bet veers towards the veep contest.
Douglas D. Ford of Cobb County is a commercial litigation and criminal defense attorney.