Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain. They’re to put a pin in my sanity. If you want funny, please head off to reddit.
Good news! If you’re hoping — yearning — for a massive political alignment in US politics, then you’re in for a treat! It’s definitely going to happen! What that political alignment looks like is an excellent question, but there is 0 percent chance the current two parties will look like the same two parties 2, 3, 4 years from now. They might look the same right now, but times, they are a changin’.
I suspect, even if he does not become president, Bernie Sanders will win in the end. But those are my suspicions and not a fact.
I’m a big student of US History. I have a bookcase dedicated to dead tree copies of Revolutionary War books, more books stashed in other bookcases, and then a Kindle full of more. It’s useful to pull Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States right about now.
I’m hovering somewhere between Schopenhauer (not my dog, the philosopher) and Nietzsche on the “time is a flat circle” — between the will and the self, being bound to the eternal circle and able to get off it. Are we trapped forever revisiting the past? Does the past simply cast such a long shadow over the present that we feel like we’re repeating failed lessons? Does it matter?
The closest analog to where we are today is not the Great Depression. The world kept moving during the Great Depression. As terrible as it was, you could still go out to eat. The closest analogy to where we are today is the Civil War.
The depths of the Civil War is the last time we had this truly Federal emergency and the enemy was on our shores. It was the last time we had this push and pull of philosophies until the whole thing unraveled, and the philosophies of one region hardened against the philosophies of the other. It was the last time we shut down economies of entire regions.
It was the last time we had mass death and maiming in the United States.
Putting aside slavery for a moment (difficult, yeah, talking about the Civil War), the situation is much the same, but with war instead of plague. Two very different national parties emerged from the wreckage. A different country emerged. We even changed our name from “These United States” to “The United States.” Industries disrupted. People out of work countrywide. Communities struggling to cope with the aftermath of widespread death, disease, and dismemberment.
The COVID-19 projections board is projecting 81,000 deaths. And the Government says 100K to 200K. With the ultra-libertarian “fuck you” politics of the South (sans Virginia), I’ll be surprised if it’s that low. Not to mention the millions of people who have permanent health scarring from this thing. We’re looking at Civil War-like death here.
I’m not saying we’re about to pull together armies and start shooting each other — although at this point, I take nothing off the table. We were a loose confederation of states that we thought of as the United States before the Civil War, and we were America afterward.
The Great Depression had a massive political realignment as well. We do see echoes of it in our current world. (Go read Barbara Tuchman’s A Proud Tower to see echoes of our world in the world of 1890-1915, and then read Zinn to fill in the years, and see how it is us.) Before the Great Depression, the only touch normal people had with the Federal Government was the Post Office. Afterward, it was everywhere, in everything. The Democrats became the party of “the people” (with some old, crazy, Southern stragglers) and the Republicans became the party of business.
We’ve tilted way too far into the party of business. The realignment will be around the people.
I know, Howard Zinn is too left wing, blahdy blahdy blaaaah. I have not read it, but James McPhearson’s book “Battle Cry” is supposedly the best single-volume history of the Civil War. We’re all locked in our houses so… book club time?
A few other things:
- We’re going to try D&D over various streaming tools and see how that goes.
- I acquired a recipe for wooden table in Animal Crossing. I am unreasonably excited about my wooden table DIY recipe. It’s near impossible to get a good table in that game. I’ll be making and sending them out.
- I also caught a sturgeon this morning!
- I spent another hour deep in a Rust online class. Man, that language has opinions about code. Yikes. I think I’m getting the general hang of it and then I hit traits and my brain melts. However, I am convinced it’s a superior C/C++ even with the little I’ve played with it and those are my main jam. I’m reading every “rust gamedev” thing I can find.
- I need to spend some quality time with my Russian lessons. Spending deep focus time with Russian is hard. There’s too much crazy in the world.