The Big Picture

Like the scene on the battlefront in a war, there is much smoke, flying debris, destruction and conflict, but the scene is a battle for the ethos of the United States. Mariner decided to get above the commotion by sitting on one of 8,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and looking down at the fray.

Battles for ethos occur, on average, every 41 years. Unfortunately, every change in ethos included a military war.[1] The nation has begun another battle for ethos, launched by the election of Donald Trump.

Ethos is a word that describes the innate spirit and purpose of an institution; in this case the institution is the United States. Ethos is an attitude carried by every citizen without conscious awareness yet it shapes the self-perception of what every citizen believes is a national role in society, morality and among other nations.

The political energy required to shift a national ethos is immense. It takes time, economic transition, generational adaptation, international acceptance and a period of stability. Even so, there are citizens who continue to oppose change for many reasons, e.g., racism and, currently, Reaganomics. In each transition of ethos there are always progressives and conservatives but a third issue is necessary – usually requiring cultural adaptation. Today, it is the global pressure on the role of a nation where technology ignores boundaries and global warming threatens global economics.

When will military war occur? It seems there is a point where the old ways want no more change and like the way things are whereas new behaviors, economic opportunity and moral stress want to move on.

Will war emerge in Taiwan and the Pacific Rim?

Will extended war erupt in Europe versus Russia?

Is it possible that war could erupt in the U.S. between populated states and Dixie all over again – a war fought in the Constitution?

Could it be an economic war between plutocracy and democracy?

Sitting on this satellite, mariner perceives one thing: It is far from over.

Ancient Mariner


Independence 1812, the third issue was becoming an independent nation.

Civil 1861, the third issue was recognizing civil rights for African Americans, but the war actually was over the complete dismantling of the Dixie economy.

WW1 1914, the third issue was a shift in the role of nations; nations had international responsibilities not constricted by oceans or continents; economies adapted to international trade that was not colonialism.

Vietnam 1975, the third issue is frequently called the ‘useless’ war; it seemed useless in that the liberal era of American politics was rapidly disappearing. By 1980 President Reagan launched a conservative economy that has lasted until current times. Now, forty years later, Trump and the invasion of the capital suggests the economy may shift.

2016, a war has yet to erupt but likely will. At no time in American history has the nation faced so many change factors affecting the nation’s ethos.

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