What a Change in Era Feels Like

Stop for a moment and, in your mind’s eye, view a 360° turn along the horizon. Focus on political and cultural happenings at the horizon of your view. Between where you are and the horizon is a lot of disruption as the events of our day fight over what the horizon will look like when we reach it. Interestingly, when you focus only on the horizon, there is not much to see. Things will be different when we reach the horizon.

When one thinks about it, we are living in the midst of a transition from one era to another – the kind we read about in history books like the age of exploration, the age of government by law, and the age of Enlightenment.

So many definitions of life are morphing. Less than fifty years ago, being a homosexual was not to be spoken to – a socially denied trait. Today, in most states, homosexual marriage and family structure are accepted. Economically, post WWII employment practices included union representation, company pensions, cost of living raises, and the ability for an employee to enjoy a genuine vacation without fear of losing their job in the meantime. There were poor practices like unequal pay for women and lack of profit sharing. All these employment practices are turbulent issues today. Are these issues changing beneath our feet? Don’t measure such things daily or even monthly. Take a year-end survey of what has changed. One will be surprised how much change and turbulence in cultural value has occurred.

As in an unkempt garden where some plants take advantage, some practices grew out of hand. Foremost is the liberation of corporations whereby, as markets became international, corporations escaped the moral accountabilities of any given constitution or protective requirements in behalf of citizens and the Planet itself. Further, the benefits and stability of jobs were undercut, not permitting the populace a share of the growth at the turn of the century. The US democracy morphed into an oligarchy that deflated the voting power necessary for a democracy to exist.

Current observations by writers and historians also contribute to a sense of change. Investors fear a collapse of the world economy – is this because cultural transition clouds what future economies will look like? The cybernetic industry pauses to identify the next big market – is this because consumer interests may change as the description of jobs changes, as the retail market changes, because the entrepreneurial resources are on hold waiting for a similar cultural shift?

Some showstoppers have emerged that also will facilitate change. The confrontation between global warming and the fossil fuel industry is just now beginning to deal with an issue that can’t be delayed by the normal drag of investment transition. Food availability, particularly seafood, has peaked. The weather plays a role in crop production – will more energetic weather patterns spurred by global warming continue? Does this portend a significant change in the way we must produce adequate food not only in the US but worldwide?

To make the issues a single dilemma, we are in a state of chaos. Yes, mariner uses that word often but our times reflect chaos – mathematically, socially, governmentally, ecologically, economically, and so on. Our government, along with all the other nations, is slow to change – perhaps too slow as the world spins into a new age. Governments, by their nature, protect power and influence. That is normally a good thing; government, if it does what it is supposed to do, acts as a ballast to stabilize society and all the elements that contribute to society.

But now, all of a sudden, power and influence balk at uncontrolled change. Nevertheless, the citizenry knows intuitively that something doesn’t work right. That something is that government and all that influences it must stop managing stability and begin steering change – easier to say than do.

This is why the 2016 election is a signal election. Obviously, both US political parties are in disarray as old platforms of policy collapse beneath them; incumbent politicians are unusually passé not understanding that their career definitions are increasingly invalid.

In spite of destructive gerrymandering, in spite of Citizens United, in spite of bastions of archaic prejudice – the American voter must persevere and change the government to a manager of change.

Ancient Mariner

 

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