An article I read, followed by a friend’s email, spurred something in my memory that I’ll try to relate here. I realized that several unpleasant and threatening events that we’ve recently suffered through recall two fictional experiences many of us remember.
First, there was an imagined society in which people led dehumanized and fearful lives. It takes place in a wild and misery filled world following a catastrophic event that brought about societal collapse, murder, revenge, and intense fear. Desperate, unhinged people occupied both sides of the conflict. I’m describing what was going on in the series of “Mad Max” movies.
Next, do you remember the following statement of frustration from another book and movie? “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right.” That was Winston, secretly talking to Julia about the “Big Brother” government, in George Orwell’s iconic novel “1984.”
I ask you to think about our own very real experiences with rewriting of history books, pulling down historical statues, violent and destructive riots, and “autonomous zones.” You’re probably thinking “those aren’t the same” as the situations depicted in those fictional enactments. Remember, I said they “recall” those experiences, not “reflected” them exactly – but they are frighteningly close.
It’s at least worth contemplating whether “law and order” will be something that’s totally redefined. If so, it concerns me. It bothers me less that we have disruptions and riots around the country, than the fact that a growing number of city councils and mayors seem to be unbothered by it all. Some even condoned and invited “gang occupation,” while smiling and calling these thugs “patriots.” Is it possible we’re on the verge of establishing “no go” zones in U.S. cities, similar to those in Europe, where police will not set foot? Yes, it worries me.
And will we eventually “cancel” all of our Founders and other historical leaders? These important forebears suffered from a common human affliction – that of being seriously flawed. If you consider all of the important people who were slaveowners or guilty of other politically incorrect sins, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, would there be anybody left in the history books? Some would predict that only Abe Lincoln, from among significant historical leaders, would be left standing at the end. But Lincoln’s historical cancellation would come eventually when these “crusaders” finally discover he had seriously negotiated the elimination of slavery by putting slaves on boats and shipping them to a newly created slave country/colony. We accomplish absolutely nothing by wiping away these names from our history.
I encourage serious thought and discussion about the implications of these current events. Are we living in a world in which far-fetched fiction is becoming, or has become, reality?
Are we learning that after all, truth is stranger than fiction?
We must control and eliminate the hysterical reactions we are now experiencing. Without that, there can be no hope for cultural peace and understanding, with financial stability and prosperity for all.