Swamp Postcard #22

The New Normal?


Good heavens. I had just shuffled out of my office on Sunday to catch a few minutes of football, once I was confident that any political statements had occurred. Instead, I was treated to the unfolding story of yet another brutal massacre of the innocent 26 parishioners- men, women and children- at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

The Las Vegas atrocity and the New York Jihadi attack are beginning to slide into primal memory, though they have all happened in the span of less than a month. It suggests we have a severe case of national ADD- or that we are beginning to accept this carnage as the “new normal.” Or both.

I din’t have much doubt that we are seeing the social fabric beginning to fray. A pal suggested that this level of political violence- shooting at Congressmen, assaulting Senators, slaughtering innocents at concerts, on bike paths and in Church- has not been seen since the 1850s. You know how well that turned out.

Everything is hyper political now. Did you note the “scream in” by alleged adults protesting last November’s election? Astonishing. Even things that were as American as Apple Pie and Chevrolet have become social lightning rods. I confess the ongoing controversy has chilled me on the NFL. I used to thrill that Monday Night Football continued Sunday’s gridiron excitement. I have not watched a Monday night game this year, nor the strange new Thursday NFL addition.

The fraying of the nation’s social fabric is continuing and getting stranger. According to the Sacremento Bee, “When California lawmakers return to the Capitol in January, the state chapter of the NAACP will be seeking their support for a campaign to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.”

Of course it is California, but the fact that our social discourse now consists of slander and epithet. The campaign for Governor here was as slimy as anything I have seen. It was a good week for Democrats, except for that Donna Brazile bombshell about the Democratic National Committee shenanigans during the primaries. I suppose the old adage that goes “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin.”

Each time I put one of these post cards together, I think events can’t get any stranger, and each week my finely honed analytic skills are shown to lack imagination.

Is this all just the new normal, or are things accelerating? While the President is spinning around Asia, attempting to get the North Koreans in a box with China’s help, bucking up our regional allies, and fixing trade imbalance, there is something really weird going on in the Middle East, and for me to even say that would imply that what is politically normal in the region isn’t weird already.

The 32-year old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is said to be behind the arrest of dozens of Royals, some with a personal wealth of billions, to neuter any opposition to his lightening ascent to the pinnacle of power.

But that is not all. Yemeni Rebels lofted an improved SCUD at Riyadh, which was shot down by an American-provided Patriot missile. It is widely suspected that the Yemeni rocket was provided by the Iranians, and a directly threatening escalation in tension between the Sunni and Shia tribes. To demonstrate their contempt for the Iranians, the Saudis fired the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri. I had no idea that was how things worked. Apparently the Saudis were displeased about the fact that who had the gall to include Iranian-backed Hezbollah legislators in his government.

Nuclear-armed Israel, as you might imagine, is aware that there could be 40,000 Iranian-provided Hezbollah pointed at them, too many even for the fine Iron Dome air defense system to fully counter.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure I don’t like the direction this is all going. Feels like a dusty tome from history classes long past, the ones where you slap yourself in the forehead and say: “How could they have been so stupid?”

Here is the postcard. Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here.


Copyright 2017 Vic Socotra

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