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Thread: Will the country survive all this?

  1. #1
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    Default Will the country survive all this?

    One huge advantage of being an old fart is that you can remember, first-hand, events which younger people only barely are aware of, and only in a 'second hand' manner.

    I'm not QUITE old enough to remember the 'red scare' era of the early 50's, when a demagogic, alcoholic senator raised the rabble to the point where decent patriotic Americans were condemned and ostracized for holding liberal beliefs... regardless of whether the accusations of being 'card-carrying communists' had even the slightest truth to them. Dozens and dozens of careers and lives were ruined.

    I AM old enough to remember the polio scare (not many years after the aforementioned era) which struck very close to home when my aunt, who lived right next door, contracted the polio virus. Luckily, she recovered with no long term damage... but to this day, a former colleague and mentor of mine is married to a woman, about my age, whose body WAS ravaged by the disease. I distinctly recall that EVERYONE received the Salk vaccine... and later, the Sabin vaccine (distributed as a drop placed onto a sugar cube), and this managed to stop this horrible disease in it's tracks.

    The country recovered from both of those insane and terrifying times.

    Today, we suffer from two directly analogous events: the 'big lie' which has poisoned the minds of millions of Americans... and the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed over 600,000 so far, and which (due to the Delta variant, as well as variants yet to come) threatens even more... and yet, the denial and truculence of those who STILL refuse to be vaccinated, endangers us all... including those who have been vaccinated.

    Is history repeating itself?

    And will we recover, like we did over 50 years ago?

    I'm not so sure.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  2. #2
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    My take is that the truly truculent are going to literally die off; and as the non-vaxxers get decimated by Covid, some with a bit more cranial horsepower than their peers will get vaccinated. It may very well be that every year all of us will get a booster shot.

    We just lucky this thing wasn't as lethal as ebola.

    As to the other existential danger, we need to immediately start teaching civics again in the schools. Unfortunately SAT scores have been dropping for 50 years, so it will take a while for the unwashed to die off- say, 20 years or so.

    I too hope we survive it all as a functioning democracy.
    Gerard>
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    No, the United States won't survive as a single, united nation state. But it won't be immediate - my guess is that we're about 30 years out from that, maybe 40.

    BTW, my money says that the UK will be facing dramatic political change sooner, as Ireland reunifies as a single nation and Scotland declares independence and forges closer ties with Europe. I expect that to happen well within a decade.

    In America's case, I think we're seeing the arc of "decline and fall," prompted in no small part by the kinds of economic shifts which led middle-class manufacturing jobs to largely go to Asia. The principles are affecting every developed nation, and gave us a sharp jolt during the pandemic when we suddenly realized that we needed medical related gear that mostly China made.

    I haven't thought through the implications yet, but as I said in another post today, I think that our political structures haven't morphed into whatever will be needed to govern appropriately in a post-nation-state information-driven economic structure. We've got the re-emergence of an extremely wealthy autocrat class, but de-coupled from any particular reliance on geography (unlike prior aristocracies).

    We don't know yet how to address this, and are having odd postmodern echoes of Baroque monarchs (complete with the Baroque furniture) in the visual representations of many of the new billionaire dynasties. Showing that they're clear (at least at a subconscious level) who they identify as, and we've determined somehow that Market Forces serve as impartially and justly to confirm their ruling status as God did during the age of the Divine Right of Kings.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Will the nation survive? Yes. In its present form? Unlikely.
    I see Biden as a one hit wonder. The dems are experiencing a similar schism as the GOP. The moderates on both sides will get pushed off the stage. Extremism will prevail. Voters will be given a choice between these extremes. Many moderates will stay home on Election Day feeling disenfranchised. The far left or right will prevail and we will come to resemble a Latin American nation bouncing back and forth between fascism and socialism.

    Have a nice day.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Of course it’ll survive this pandemic, it’s good practice for the next ones. There are bigger existential threats coming down the tracks.

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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Life is change. The idea, that things might not change, is illusion. Will they change for the better or for the worse - that is the question and it might be worth adding, that it can depend on who is asked. Will they change for the better of the majority - that will depend on the majority (and likely also on some external factors).

    If the majority wants to sit in front of the extra wide screen TV all day, drink beer and get money for nothing and their chicks for free, chances of a change for the better for the majority are slim.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    BTW, my money says that the UK will be facing dramatic political change sooner, as Ireland reunifies as a single nation and Scotland declares independence and forges closer ties with Europe. I expect that to happen well within a decade.
    You mean the present nation of Ireland absorbing Northern Ireland? Do you really think that will have a serious impact on the UK? I would think that England would be glad to be rid of the problems.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Bleak outlook. This is not the same country it was even 30 years ago. The country shall survive as it always has. There were always folks always who fear of carpetbaggers, foreigners and change as well as folks who want to give away much of those established have to new groups who are earning a place at the table. Never have the masses been given a cheap, easy media platforms to promote consumption, air self discovery and show discontent. The end of the western expansion has happened. What is is to be American is not going to look like had been.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 07-23-2021 at 12:50 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    ...The country shall survive as it always has...
    I started to say that, but stopped. There's no reason at all why we should think that the United States will survive as a cohesive political unit under the existing Constitution. We assume so, but the length of our own lifespans lies to us. Folks in Kipling's time felt that about the British Empire - and were wrong.

    Consider Iran, as old a civilization as our species has ever had. Which despite a continuous sense of itself as a Persian culture has had its governance, borders, and autonomy flutter continuously across its breathtaking history.

    IMO the US is still fighting its civil war; the Balkans teach that unfinished conflicts can re-emerge after a pause and rip a place to shreds. Inflamed by the impacts of the "end of Western expansion" (and I agree with you there, btw), it's entirely possible that the United States might break apart into 2-4 sub units, in loose relationship with each other, and take Canada with it, fwiw.

    I think more than that, the "think globally, act locally" maxim which emerged from squeaky lefty-environmentalists will come to define the political structures which emerge over the next century or so. With corporations and successor economic relationships taking the place of nation states as the key locus of power, and those that lead them becoming de-facto post-national (and post-geographical) Royal Houses. Using mercenary armies (Erik Prince's model) as necessary, and building contingent agreements with much disempowered local geography-based governments which depend on the Economic agencies' largesse.

    That is, the model might look a bit more like a re-envisioning of the Middle Ages in Europe, in which the Church and local Aristocrats had competing locuses of "sovereignty" and "power," and ordinary citizens were not seen to have particular claims to autonomy or personal sovereignty. Though they were bound together by feelings of regional association and kinship, which were more important and immediate than any cohesive sense of being "a nation."
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    I don't know Tom. My recent motorcycle ride where I was meeting real Americans, seeing the nation as it is rather than the dramatic portrayals by a select folks how have loud speakers in mass media and national ears, I am optimistic. It sure looks different to me. I noted the hundreds of truck drivers from south east Asia, the dozens of Indians from India running the motels, gas stations and small stores in every town throughout the west, the black California families in nice cars driving to family reunions in Chicago and Alabama, to road crews made of men and women of every color working hard side by side. More than ever this country is multicultural. Radio broadcasts in Spanish, Navaho and Chinese broadcasts on the run of the dial. taco trucks, chicken Marsala and pita sandwiches at every truck stop. People of so many backgrounds are connecting in ways I never saw. Each come from their own understanding of social stability and public responsibility.

    when norm posted his op - I immediately thought of what those who had a general platforms to write and speak here when his family arrived to America with the same warning and concerns. Changes, red and blue radicalism, individualism, pro labor, capital supremacy, socialism, economic uncertainty and challenges to the very nation they understood. It was a very turbulent nation filled with bombs, Spanish flu and most of all optimism of a better life ahead.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 07-23-2021 at 02:40 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Thanks for all the thoughtful comments.

    One thing that has bothered me for quite a while now is the change in how Americans view their responsibilities towards the common good... you know, the 'ask not what your country can do for you...' thing.

    WWII might have been the high point, when millions of Americans volunteered for a war which, for the most part, did not impress Americans, at least initially, as some sort of existential threat to the homeland. The sacrifices were widely shared... rations on commodities like rubber, certain foodstuffs, gasoline, the cessation of auto manufacturing, and so on... which, unless someone wants to contradict me, were more than tolerated by the vast majority of the American public.

    Even in the late 1950's, when polio threatened, I don't believe there was much of an anti-vax uprising; most people accepted the necessity of the vaccination, even though the state of the art at the time, regarding vaccine manufacturing, was far more primitive, and there were several problems with contaminated or too-virulent vaccine batches.

    Nowadays, what passes for conservatism seems to be more along the lines of 'don't impinge on my freedom, and I don't care if my freedom gives you a disease which may kill you'.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  12. #12
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    We will not continue to be a democratic republic. The democracy part is dying in front of our eyes.

    It's entirely possible, though unlikely, the 50 dems will work together, carve out, or in some way change, the filibuster and pass something that definitively protect our right to vote and those votes once cast.

    Barring that, we'll be a significantly different country. The experiment will have failed.

    I've posted before that the only time that comes to mind when I was proud of this country, as a country, was when we put men on the moon and brought them home safely.

    I was proud of what I was taught of what we did in WWII. I'm old enough to remember Korea was a 'police action', and, as such, those who came home were not entitled to GI benefits. I believe they won that argument and got the benefits, but I'm not positive. The men of the Tuskegee Air Force, after fighting well for our country, came home to white only water fountains, and the same discrimination they faced before

    I clearly remember the Vietnam years and Agent Orange. I'm aware of how poorly we've actually treated many of our vets. I have no idea what our young men died for in that war.

    Our response to 9/11, when were were attacked by an organization of terrorists, was to invade two countries. We legalized torture. We held 'enemy combatants' (still holding some) without charge or trial.

    Yet, we somehow think we're in some high moral position to preach to the world.

    We accept being lied to as free speech. We don't even call lies 'lies'. We don't call false facts 'false'. We clean them up with 'disinformation' or 'misinformation'. We avoid saying some words even when quoting one who said them.

    The United States we like to believe in is an illusion.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    You mean the present nation of Ireland absorbing Northern Ireland? Do you really think that will have a serious impact on the UK? I would think that England would be glad to be rid of the problems.
    The re-unification of Ireland is a given, the only question is when. Unfortunately, a unified Republic of Ireland will have a small but very vocal and possibly violent minority of Loyalists to the Monarchy. However the re-unification is achieved, there will have to be substantial safeguards built in to prevent sectarian violence on both sides.

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...%E2%80%931922)

    With the partition of Ireland in 1922, 92.6% of the Free State's population were Catholic while 7.4% were Protestant.[57] By the 1960s the Protestant population had fallen by half. Although emigration was high among all the population, due to a lack of economic opportunity, the rate of Protestant emigration was disproportionate in this period. Many Protestants left the country in the early 1920s, either because they felt unwelcome in a predominantly Catholic and nationalist state, because they were afraid due to the burning of Protestant homes (particularly of the old landed class) by republicans during the civil war, because they regarded themselves as British and did not wish to live in an independent Irish state, or because of the economic disruption caused by the recent violence. The Catholic Church had also issued a decree, known as Ne Temere, whereby the children of marriages between Catholics and Protestants had to be brought up as Catholics. From 1945, the emigration rate of Protestants fell and they became less likely to emigrate than Catholics.
    Nick

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    We will not continue to be a democratic republic. The democracy part is dying in front of our eyes.

    It's entirely possible, though unlikely, the 50 dems will work together, carve out, or in some way change, the filibuster and pass something that definitively protect our right to vote and those votes once cast.

    Barring that, we'll be a significantly different country. The experiment will have failed.

    I've posted before that the only time that comes to mind when I was proud of this country, as a country, was when we put men on the moon and brought them home safely.

    I was proud of what I was taught of what we did in WWII. I'm old enough to remember Korea was a 'police action', and, as such, those who came home were not entitled to GI benefits. I believe they won that argument and got the benefits, but I'm not positive. The men of the Tuskegee Air Force, after fighting well for our country, came home to white only water fountains, and the same discrimination they faced before

    I clearly remember the Vietnam years and Agent Orange. I'm aware of how poorly we've actually treated many of our vets. I have no idea what our young men died for in that war.

    Our response to 9/11, when were were attacked by an organization of terrorists, was to invade two countries. We legalized torture. We held 'enemy combatants' (still holding some) without charge or trial.

    Yet, we somehow think we're in some high moral position to preach to the world.

    We accept being lied to as free speech. We don't even call lies 'lies'. We don't call false facts 'false'. We clean them up with 'disinformation' or 'misinformation'. We avoid saying some words even when quoting one who said them.

    The United States we like to believe in is an illusion.
    you are being quite dark and have lost good vision. Perhaps it is because you are older and are comparing what you know with what can be. It might because you are spending more time inside and seeking what you know from the internet.

    I would suggest you leave your house, get out side, meet the real people who work every day and see the dark clouds actually bring life and renewal. The trials of COVID like the clouds of rain is only temporary and without personal examples of greater social activity and human connections you will be press further into a position of disconnect.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 07-23-2021 at 03:15 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    you are being quite dark and have lost good vision. Perhaps it is because you are older and are comparing what you know with what can be. It might because you are spending more time inside and seeking what you know from the internet.

    I would suggest you leave your house, get out side, meet the real people who work every day and see the dark clouds actually bring life and renewal. The trials of COVID like the clouds of rain is only temporary and without personal examples of greater social activity and human connections you will be press further into a position of disconnect.
    Maybe. Maybe I'm just being realistic. If millions of Americans lose their right to vote, or their votes are not counted by people who can, and will, overturn what the voters vote for, the days ahead ARE dark.

    The less effort we make to address climate change, the darker the future is.

    We have accepted lying for political reasons as free speech. A large chunk of the people don't believe Biden won the election; they believe there was massive fraud in spite of no one being able to prove any in over 60 court cases.

    Barring some unexpected passing of federal legislation, all elections from now on will be rigged, and the GOP will hold majorities forever.

    They will control the history that is taught. They will control the courts.

    I believe that's absolute fact.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    If the average citizen chooses to continue to ignore the fact that the republic is being destroyed by the Republicans, then no.
    Rattling the teacups.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    I agree with Reynard in that I expect Biden to be a democratic blip on the way to a gerrymandered republican and authoritarian government.
    I also agree that the Civill war still goes on and eventually the big mistake made when the Constitution was written allowing individual States unwarranted governance of Federal electtoral affairs will and is getting up to bite the rather tattered republic on the butt.
    How a balkanised America would look and operate is another matter, I haven't looked but allowing that the centre of the continent goes right and the edges stay in the present political middle, the coasts will likely still be the most economically advantaged having access to OS markets. Economic disparity will likely drive the two sides further apart. The cruncher will come if some states decide on their own citizenship conditions rather than that being a Federal preserve.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Will the country survive all this?

    A lot depends on what, if anything, gets through the senate this year.

    If congress actually passes serious protection of voting rights, we have a reasonable chance of surviving. If they don't, chances are very slim, especially if/when dems win elections and Republican legislators overturn them.

    If that's allowed to happen, our democracy is finished.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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