Photo by J. Harrington
Local streams, for now, with their rise and fall, may have more resilience than either of our political parties. Republicans are busy trying to destroy health care and safety nets to fund tax breaks for some of the richest people in the world, while the Democrats' internal strife may result in self destruction, as leadership of both parties ignores many of the needs of rank and file Americans.
One of my favorite crystal ball gazers, David Orr, wrote about our current situation back in 2012:
"Further, governments and our political discourse must transcend the old right-left dichotomy characteristic of industrial age politics. The challenge ahead will be to creatively join conservatism and liberalism in search of a livable future. Interestingly, the necessary changes would blend the thinking of Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, with that of Thomas Jefferson, associated with modern radicalism. In different ways, each argued for the protection of future generations from “intergenerational tyranny.” The prospect of political change, however, is complicated and difficult, and there is no assurance that governments that are effective in the face of rapid climate destabilization will also be democratic.7 It is easier and perhaps more plausible to imagine a future of hyper-efficient, solar-powered, sustainable, and authoritarian societies than reformed and effective democracies."
"The scientific evidence suggests that we are entering a “long emergency” for which there will be no quick fixes or painless solutions. Any worthy vision must hold out solid hope of the millennial kind. It must include rights for future generations.9 It must create a more inclusive framework for justice, fairness, decency, sustainability, and human rights (e.g., the Earth Charter).10 It must preserve a stock of irreplaceable knowledge11 while protecting and extending the hard-won gains of civilization, but over time spans and conditions that we can barely fathom."
|no storm, no rainbow|
Photo by J. Harrington
Orr's reference to a "long emergency" echoes the title of James Howard Kunstler's distressingly prescient eponymous book. Perhaps, as we view current events in Washington, D.C., or our local state capitals, as well as around the world, we might try to view current events through lenses suggested by both David Orr and many of our founding fathers. It is my firm belief that we, that's all of us, rich and poor, have gotten ourselves into a situation in which Ben Franklin's observation, that "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." [-In the Continental Congress just before signing the Declaration of Independence, 1776] may well be an understatement. Remember, "Denial is not just a river in Egypt."
First Storm and Thereafter
By Scott Cairns
What I notice first withinthis rough scene fixedin memory is the rarequality of its lightning, as ifthose bolts were clippedfrom a comic book, pastedon low cloud, or fashionedwith cardboard, daubedwith gilt then hung overheadon wire and fine hooks.What I hear most clearlywithin that thunder nowis its grief—a moan, a longlament echoing, an ache.And the rain? Raucous enough,pounding, but oddlymusical, and, well,eager to entertain, solicitous.No storm since has been framedwith such matter-of-factartifice, nor to such comiceffect. No, the thousand-plusstorms since then have turnedincreasingly artless,arbitrary, bearing—everyone of them—a numbing burst.And today, from the west a gustand a filling pressurepulsing in the throat—offeringlittle or nothing to make light of.
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Please be kind to each other while you can.