In their mid-thirties, Howie and his wife are at long last having a child. Thus, Howie, whose own dad has long accused him of ‘shooting blanks,’ is at last vindicated. (No, he’s not from one of the congregations.)
So it is with the new system dinner table congregants. Are they shooting blanks? The pandemic ‘turned the world upside down’ one of them said. Has it righted itself? Here we are back in door-to-door service and some thought it would never happen. (See Part 4)
An item on the read list now being read, Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, suggests they are not. The ‘team or rivals’ is the cabinet Abraham Lincoln assembled just after his election, ones who had been his rivals. Lincoln came out of nowhere to be his party’s nominee in 1860, beating out politicians of greater stature. He had run with the stratagem of being everyone’s second choice. Insult no one. Make no enemies as you gradually nurture your own candidacy. That way, if any of the rivals shoot themselves in the foot, which they all did, victory falls to you! But that is for another post.
Hashtag ‘civil war’ today on social media and you will find it comes up a lot, just as talk of it did before the actual Civil War that Lincoln quelled. For all the talk, few people believed it would happen then, either—until it did. Might history repeat? Might that be akin to ‘the world being turned upside down.’ Civil war in the U.S. is not civil war everywhere, of course, but much of the world is just as divided, just as waiting for a spark to set off the powder keg.
Was it first observed in Tom Irregardless and Me that people are like sports fans today? They cheer when their side scores a point, wince and spin into damage-control when their side suffers a setback. But on no account do they look at the merits of the other side, for that would be fraternizing with the ‘enemy.’
The trend has only become more pronounced. A Pew survey released during August 2018 revealed that, as regards politics, not only can countrymen not agree on how to act in light of the facts, but they cannot even agree on what the facts are! With no agreement on the facts there can be no starting point for discussion. A recipe for civil war? In rare political agreement, and yet division at the same time, 70% of Americans—be they Republicans or Democrats—think democracy is in jeopardy. ‘Yeah, and it’s the other guys fault!’ they both shout.
Okay, okay, maybe not yet. But it could turn over in a heartbeat, just like the SS Poseidon did upon running into a tsunami. There are enough tsunami’s around today for that to happen. Who doesn’t say, ‘What in the world is going on today?’ And then it will be a mad dash for the hull, the new ‘up’ in the capsized boat, as the banners will scream, like they did in the movie ‘Who will survive?’
Whoa! When did that Poseidon world turn upside down? (See the poster) At midnight! Just like when someone sneered, ‘Why do you Jehovah’s Witnesses always have to think things are getting worse? What does that view do for you?’
‘It helps me to explain why the Doomsday Clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight and not 10:30 AM,’ I replied to someone. Given that nuclear weapons are seriously floated as an option in Ukraine v Russia, and that the North Korean head of state is launching a test one every time you turn around (‘Rocketman,’ Trump called him) maybe it’s time to nudge that clock ahead a little, close to midnight though it already is.
****** The bookstore