As I type these words, the world around me suffers from numerous, festering debates ranging from politics to entertainment. Arguments overwhelm daily conversation even if we, ourselves, are not directly involved. On a personal level, it is a bit worse on this particular morning. Even my innards have taken it upon themselves to reflect the turmoil of our times.
The level of anger and hate with which we allow ourselves to live is reprehensible. Friends and family divide themselves over the shape of the Earth, sports officiating, and words on a hat. Most of this is decidedly ridiculous. Yet, I have trouble keeping myself out of the fray as well. It is a level of stress that surrounds, overwhelms, and subdues almost everyone.
Turmoil In The Past
My wife and I are lovers of history. Recently, we have been discussing what she has dubbed a new Gilded Age. I think she has nailed it. Following the turmoil of the American Civil War and Restoration, much of the western world enjoying tremendous growth. Economy expanded as industrialization and new technology took hold. It was a time in search of political and social reform. It was also a time of corruption, poverty, and division.
During the Gilded Age, voter participation was extraordinarily high. National elections were decided by the smallest of margins. Elected officials and corporations were tainted by corruption and scandal. The political machinations were running full bore, creating voting blocks that marched lockstep to the polls. All that mattered was that our side win. Rue the day if the opposition should gain an inch! There is no room for compromise!
If this doesn’t sound familiar, take another look around. The swirling, turmoil of clouds hovers just overhead. Just watching the roiling surface should be enough to trigger some concern. Watch long enough, and you will begin to discern the bolts of lightning streaking across the sky, warning of imminent danger. The storm isn’t brewing. It has arrived. The heavens are being rent asunder. Soon, we shall all be drenched.
As a lifelong denizen of Oklahoma, I like to think the turmoil lies far, far away. Unfortunately, I see it here, in my own backyard, almost daily. We are far too concerned with winning to realize that we are fighting Pyrrhic battles that only nature will win. So, what can we do beyond observing the “beauty” of this turmoil?