Off the edge of the world, politically


Own work, public domain.

Last week, we mentioned a few ‘off the charts’ natural disasters that would hit our civilization hard.   What about the political equivalents?  We’ve seen this happen overseas time and time again, but in America, our institutions, as frayed as they are, still have some sort of structure and coherence.   We may not like who is the President, or the makeup of the Supreme Court, or the Congress, but these things still exist, and power has shifted from left to right and back again over the years.

This doesn’t mean things have been smooth sailing, of course. In the US, we’ve had some rough moments.  An election that was finally decided by the Supreme Court; National Guard troops firing on students; a run up to impeachment with Nixon (before he resigned); the impeachment of Bill Clinton (which didn’t get rid of him), and a few presidential assassination attempts (only one of which was successful, the last being JFK), thanks to the Secret Service and a bit of luck.  In spite of it all, every four years, we’ve had a peaceful transition of power, and nobody who lost an election has been tossed in jail on political grounds.  For that alone, we should be thankful.

Some might say that certain Supreme Court decisions have been huge disasters (Roe v. Wade if you are a conservative; Citizens United if you are a progressive).  The US has bumbled along, and in spite of everything, politically, as screwed up as things are, we seem to have a clunking-along republic.  Or is this just an illusion?  If there was an event that made us ‘flip a bit’ with regards to our governance or political landscape, what was it, or what might it be?  Or is this a slow process (like the fall of Rome), with no real delineation of ‘before’ and ‘after’?   Perhaps the last person to be President might be considered our own Romulus Augustulus, but the delineation of before and after might not be so clear cut.

It may be that we may politically founder on the rocks, rather than going over a waterfall.  Or, as available energy, tax revenue, or population becomes less concentrated and abundant, the US government (like all governments around the world) will simply become smaller and less powerful, like the Catholic Church.

How might we reverse this trend, or guide the ship of state to a place with a sandy bottom, rather than see things end with bang?  Or steer the ship to calm waters? There may be a way, but it may need (as Michael Ruppert once said), a revolution of the mind more than anything else.


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