Friday, September 26, 2008

Societal Collapse Anxiety Syndrome

I just invented that. Although someone else out there has probably got a better name for it.

I have always tended towards a fascination/dread of what I grew up calling The End Times. Raised as I was in a conservative Christian Fundamentalist household, we were well-versed on the biblical signs of Armegeddon, the rise of the Antichrist, the chances for being Raptured to safety pre, peri, or post-7 Last Years. At 13, I was convinced I would not live to be 20. Eventually the New Age Movement of the 80s with it's rainbows, crystals, and the dire prophecies of Constance Cumbie against said mysticism faded away, and I slowly realized that the world wasn't going to fall apart just yet.

Jump ahead about 15 years, and the Year 2000 is looming, as is my 30th birthday. Apparently decade birthdays are an opportunity for my psyche to go postal. Anyway, doom and gloom and dire warnings of technological failure are all the rage, and I suddenly became convinced that the nationwide power grid could disintegrate, and society would be reduced to absolute anarchy. I was haunted by nightmarish visions of wandering in the wilderness looking for food, shelter and water. Eventually, Elder Brother-in-Law reassured me that he had "done the homework" and the power grid would not fail, and I began to rise up from my fears. January 1, 2000 comes and goes without a blip on the screen.

I should mention that I have been exposed to the occasional apocalyptic movie, either in part, whole, (or detailed spoiler description online), which has done nothing to curb my vivid imagination as regards a dystopian future. Mad Max, nameless B and C-grade futuristic films, the zombie films of the last 4 or 5 years. Enough to help fill in the blanks of what my mind hadn't invented on its own. See, THIS is why I don't watch horror movies!

Now it's 2008, the economy is in the toilet, and it looks like the Fourth Turning has come. We may well be on the brink of a societal upheaval to equal the Great Depression, the French Revolution or the Civil War (or, it might prove to be like the collapse of the Stock Market in 1987 which also passed without a blip on the screen). If it is really a Great Upheaval, it'll probably be a mercifully slow rollout (time to adjust to shortages and financial difficulties). And when they're over, those upheavals can bring forth an amazing and dynamic new generation (Greatest Generation, anyone?)

But I'm still worried, although being unable to focus on what specifically to be worried about does make it hard to be as anxious as I was in 1983 and 1999. Plus I have better coping mechanisms and hopefully, wisdom. But my mind still wends its way along overgrowth paths in the wilderness, or in trying to anticipate what comforts I might have to lose (air conditioning... running water... a steady supply of food... prescriptions... transportation...) and how I might adapt. Notice I'm thinking of the worst - of a societal collapse (although not necessarily as bad as my Y2K and End Times fears). The gas shortages in Nashville these last 2 weeks have been particularly ill-timed and fed that anxiety.

Hardship has a way of strengthening a nation, especially when there is precious metal in our citizenry to be refined. I take encouragement from that thought. Having the arrogance and laziness squeezed out of us by difficulties may be the saving of us.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why I Plan on Voting For Change

Note that I did not say I am voting for Obama, or I am voting Democrat. I am voting to clean house.

I have no great confidence in Obama and I actually think McCain is a pretty good guy with strong ability. I have waffled back and forth in my mind for MONTHS about where to bestow my vote. I have, as Brian Unger has put it, suffered from Political Dementia.

I am pro-life, but don't think we can get rid of abortion. Statistically speaking, for decades, our economy has been strongest during Democratic presidencies. I think that we have become a welfare nation, which appalls me. I think that climate change is being affected by mankind and we need to work to turn it around. I'm dismayed that we went to war in Iraq for such shoddy reasons (although I cannot be sorry Saddam Hussein is gone), but don't think we can just leave without potentially disastrous consequences.

See my dilemma? I have no firm adherence to either platform. I have no great confidence in either candidate, or their VPs. I think that our nation is steadily becoming more politically corrupt, and that we will eventually duplicate the decline of the Roman Empire in our complacency and laziness.

So I am looking at the bigger picture from a historical standpoint, and looking over the last 8 years and what the current administration has wrought... I want what's going on to STOP. The Bush administration has shredded their way through the constitution, has done whatever they bloody well pleased, has made political loyalty their benchmark instead of ability, and has been thoroughly immoral while claiming Christ at the same time. Cheney is destined to be vilified in centuries to come as one of the most corrupt and audaciously grasping administrators in the history of this country. I honestly think Bush is oblivious to how he has been played; that Cheney and the Republican leadership have been running this country into the ground and using him as an clueless mouthpiece.

And I voted for them. Twice. I admit this in shame and self-recrimination, and with a determination to never again let myself just go along with the Conservative Christian political line.

But after all that vituperation, let me just reiterate that I have no confidence in the Democratic party either. I just want the current administration to be rooted out, and no matter how much a maverick that McCain-Palin may be, they will have no choice but to have Republican staffers from the current administration in their White House, and that corruption cannot be allowed to continue under any circumstances. All of the staffers who served their candidacy, all of the high-end donors, the party leadership... they will all have to be rewarded and that means positions in government, and a continuation of habits and political machinations that have been in play for 8 years.

So to that end, I am voting against the Republican party. My family and some friends will not be pleased with me, and I hope they can accept that this is simultaneously a difficult and an obvious decision for me. It is not a knee-jerk reaction based on liberal media, or The Daily Show. I have agonized over this for years. This morning when I woke up, it was finally clear to me that the one thing I was certain of was that I didn't want our government to continue down the same path, and that meant a change in administration.


9/26/08: A really excellent, well-reasoned interview from a Christian author on why he's openly campaigning for Barack Obama - thanks, Allison!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gas Crisis in Nashville

I've been very concerned for about a week now with the situation in Nashville of widespread gas shortages... we supposedly have another week of it. This just feeds into my fascination/phobia of societal collapse. I have to drive a LOT for work, so I can go through a tank pretty fast (even in my fuelefficient car, which I so wish was a hybrid...)

This is one of the most brilliant little videos I have ever seen; it's funniest if you actually know the Nashville-Brentwood-Franklin corridor. Perfect!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Why Kittens are Therapeutic

I actually recorded this on my cell phone whilst visiting a litter of foster kittens. All available for adoption in Williamson County, Tennessee; contact me if you're interested.