That’s An Awfully Nice Civitas You’ve Got There . . . – David Pascoe
We are mere hours away from finding out the results of the latest batch of
experimentselections (so what if it’s more than twenty-four; if you can’t count higher than that, you’re insufficiently ambitious). There’s been speculation for months on whether the Republicans will once more snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. More recently – and more widespread than ever – there’s been speculation that voting practices enacted by largely Democratic legislatures will provide sufficient screening action to allow for the necessary fraud to secure power for All Timeanother couple of years. Regardless, the results of these elections are fiercely anticipated on all sides.
Well, except for that silent mass who don’t know, and don’t care. They just want today to be more or less like yesterday, and for tomorrow to be more or less like today. Which is why Daddy Gov’t appeals so strongly. Someone else to take responsibility for making things work? How great is that? And when the
Sun God, er, der Fuhrer, um, Uncle Joe, uhhhh, the Dear Leader promises you’ll get, not just what you need, but enough to provide all those big screens, enormous SUVs, and all the iDevices you could want? And at the expense of meanie rich people and their eeeeeevil corporations? What’s not to love? Especially since they hate us anyway, because accidents of birth, or skin color, or some such.
And, at one level, that’s what it’s all about. And what we writing Human Wave keep working to change. Humans being tribal, we’re wired to gather some “in,” and box everyone else “out.” And we do. Even we, the Huns, do it. Those who show up spouting foolishness about collectivism, and how the good of the many
necessitate sometimes, unfortunately, require the trampling on of the rights of the individual get quickly shown the door, so we can go back to picking on each other like a good family.
Our so-called leadership keeps working to do exactly that: fracture American society along lines that make us easier to control. Watch the vileprogs at work: those white people (forming a majority of American citizens) hate black, brown, yellow, orange, chartreuse and mauve people, and want to keep them as chattel. Look at that group of brown(ish) people: they’re really more like white people (as evidenced by things like test scores and college attendance rates), so they hate these other brownish people (who are generally newer to the scene, and so haven’t had quite as long to develop roots in communities and build on their ancestors’ wise decisions). And of course, all those people with more stars on their bellies hate all the people with no stars on their bellies, so you should Always Vote Democrat (early and often, now facilitated by all-mail ballots, though fought tenaciously (those enemies of history, them (AhhH! Nested parentheses!!) by such horrific things as voter ID laws, like they have in Mexico) because we’re ever so much cooler than those old fogies who believe in personal responsibility and duty and similar regressive concepts.
(This is the part where Dave gets to the mother-loving point.)
With all this fracturing, aided an abetted by technological upheaval, we’re losing the older senses of community. The neighborhood, where people sit on the stoop of an afternoon, waving to those out perambulating (another thing which happens rather infrequently) and enjoying the fresh bugs and the delightfully muggy air. The parades and gatherings to celebrate the togetherness that happens in a group of people who live in the same area and have had to help each other to survive droughts, winters, floods and Those Jerks From Over the Hill.
We’re losing (lost?) that sense of togetherness for those whom near we live. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, just that it is, and the more able we are to fool ourselves about long-term survival by looking at short-term trends (what? No, we’re fine: the grocery store is FULL of food. And TP), enabled by technological miracles, the deeper that disconnect will grow. We’re seeing it replaced by more far-flung communities, often of a virtual type. We are an instance of this. Many conventions do the same thing. Fandoms of all kinds are notorious for bringing together misfits from all points of the globe. It’s practically what they’re all about.
I was going to pitch the notion that we’d do well to resurrect some of that small-town, Music Man kind of local patriotism – and I think we would, though this isn’t the way to make that argument – as a means of revivifying the social glue that may or may not have ever actually existed, but that doesn’t seem to be where my fingers have lead us, this morning. It may well be that the old civitas, the sense of citizens bound together by law, with rights and privileges pertaining thereto, is dying. We’re seeing evidence of this as our betters treat us
peasants commoners with infuriating disdain. As they gather to protect their own, instead of those to whom their duty is sworn. I mean, really, what are you going to believe, our credentialed experts, or your own lying eyes?
Can we salvage our society from the encroaching hordes of barbarism? I don’t know. Can we do it by writing decent stories, by telling those stories to each other to bolster flagging courage? Again, I don’t know. But I do know that’s the only thing that can, and that’s how big things always start.