Post # 810  EARLY DECEMBER RUMINATIONS: The Nation

The present title reflects our utilization of an analogy, often encountered in classic literature, between age and the seasons of the year, a useful and aesthetic conceit, as empirically descriptive as it is poetic. In classic literature and poetics, for example, a marriage between a young, attractive woman and a wizened old man has often been termed, a “May-December” marriage. The title also contains the word, “early,” the latter adjective, selected, upon our optimistic assumption that our lifetime GPS, is still, actively engaged, in directing it forward.

We are acutely aware, that any negative observation, made in our perception of the Nation’s present state of affairs, may accrue the risk of inviting reductive comment, to the effect that, underlying the merits of our criticism, is the classic, fundamental discontent with growing old. We would adamantly, reject this possible assessment, with the sole caveat, that it may possess some degree of verisimilitude, limited, solely, to our current state of physical capability or prowess. It is far from accurate relative to our experientially, developed, perceptive or cognitive, capabilities. The latter declaration has been discussed in our earlier essay, “Old Age is Not a Disease,” in which we commented upon the satisfaction, inherent in the attainment of mature perception, relative to the understanding of the self, and the circumstances of one’s life; a discernment, which, empirically, appears to be available, only to the thoughtful individual of sufficient age and experience.  Accordingly, we have declared, that for us, these elder years have been the happiest and most fulfilling of our extant life experience. Thus, we would again emphasize, that our following observations on the National scene are empirically, derived, and not the end-product of subjective nuance or personal circumstance.

To venture an adequate and useful audit of the salient characteristics of our Nation, since the era of FDR and the Second World War, would be to create a virtually, unlimited retrospective of technological and resultant, social changes. However, what we find most significant, is the extreme and readily, discernable, “sea change” in the American citizen’s perception of his “Nationhood.” It is in this context, which we have selected the theme of this writing.

To attempt to recollect the Nation, during the anxious years of the Second World War, is to reprise an American population, not only unified by the threat of the aggressive Axis Powers but, as well, affirmatively, prideful, of its mutual identification as American citizens. Able-bodied young men,  left home to engage in perilous, foreign military service, War Bonds were purchased by American citizens, in aid of the war effort, volunteer night marshals, uniformly, bearing flashlights, badges and wearing white helmets, scanned the skies for enemy aircraft, citizens participated in rationing programs for fuel, rubber, nylon, metals, coffee, butter and other sundry items, schoolchildren collected scrap metals, rubber and other, discarded materials, needed for the war effort. American families routinely tuned their radios to President Franklin Roosevelt’s weekly “fireside chats” as well as anxiously followed daily radio reports, on the current progress of the war. There was a uniformly, strong sense of Nationhood and an unmistakable pride in citizenship. Americans, jointly and joyfully, celebrated the end of the war and the great victory of America and its allies, over the Axis Powers. However, in the interest of candor, it needs, disappointingly, to be said, that notwithstanding, the equally dedicated and sacrificial part, performed by black American citizens, during wartime, the moral cause of universal racial equality, continued, as it contemporaneously, continues, to progress, too slowly.

If we choose to fast-forward approximately, seventy-five years, we are obliged to discern, that the earlier sense of American patriotic kinship, and sense of “Nation,” has significantly, metamorphosed and declined. For many Americans, it continues to be a regular source of pride, for others, no more than their designated citizenship. Regrettably, for certain (radical) others, it is no more meaningful, than a tenuously, or even a reluctantly, acknowledged admission.

Our optimistic founders anticipated the regular practice of responsible citizens of goodwill, engaging in neighborly debate concerning the controversial issues of the day, the results of which would be useful in the proper guidance of our representative democracy. Instead, hotly contested and divisive issues, like gun regulation and abortion rights, reared their bellicose heads and led to a highly divisive Nation; one in which peaceful discussion between disagreeing citizens became socially impossible, where, citizen’s love of Nation and insular groups of common opinion (“group think”) were formed which maintained acrimonious relations with like groups of divergent opinion. Citizen loyalties, affiliations and declared preferences, seemed now to be unceremoniously, redirected from the Nation to petty and arbitrary, loyalties and upon partisan opinion. Such highly divisive political setting afforded arable land for planting the seeds of a skilled demagogue, bearing universal, but unspecific, promises of solution.   

The surprising election of Donald J. Trump provided a good measure of noticeable status, to such divisive, discontented and radical Americans, who identified with his unschooled, populist views and personalized loyalties. Notwithstanding, the fact that Trump’s one term in office, earned him the utter disrespect of mainstream America, (resulting in Congressional Impeachment) it, perversely secured for him, a significant, cult-like, loyalty of a large, populist, inadequately educated and unformed, citizens. Such loyalties to that, incapable and unprincipled, but demagogic, leader, appears to have survived his   frequent, publicly witnessed wrongdoing and his election loss to Joseph Biden

This huge “underbelly” of our Nation, loyally sympathetic to Trump’s, autocratic policies, notably, his “Big Lie,” (stolen election) undeniably, demonstrated that their loyalties were not to the democratic Nation, but to the corrupt and autocratic Trump. Their most flagrant, anti-democratic action, amounted to an attempted and failed, coup d’état, violently staged at the Washington Capital Building, bizarrely and autocratically, invited by the defeated, candidate, Donald J. Trump. The violent and bloody insurrection failed, but not before the causation of several deaths, grievous injuries, and destruction of valuable property. However, the worst damage, in essence, was to the previous universal confidence in the fundamental system of voting, underlying and defining our democracy.

We expect that the near future will reveal whether, a creatively, idealized, 300 year old democratic Nation, populated by a mainstream of people, appropriately proud of their association with its enlightened polity, viz., a republican democracy, together with its many associated liberties, will survive the recently, developing cold winds of autocracy, generated, by a large, worrisome, cohort of hapless, ignorant citizens, thoughtlessly, unaware of its historically predictable, tragic circumstances.

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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