The week of George Herbert Bush’s funeral showed us an America divided. Republicans, the party of disgruntled whites, lionized the deceased president in an effort to reclaim the moral high ground. Democrats spent their time pointing to the gaping disparity between the conduct of the 41st President of the United States and Donald Trump, the 45th. No wonder the public feels alienated from their government and from each other. And no wonder, too, that we are a nation where life expectancy is on the decline even though employment is high and our economy continues to barrel along.
Drugs and suicides account for much of the deterioration, much of it found in rural America, areas where poverty is deep and fear of a cultural drift has created a malaise. (“Life expectancy: A nation afflicted by despair,” The Week, December 14, 1028, pg. 17.) Psychologists tell us human relationships, rather than money, account for social stability so, when those relationships alter, we enter a period of tumult.
Some of my far left leaning friends lay the current angst to the conservatives’ faith in Donald Trump. The Democrats may have a point. Certainly, any talk of Mexico can result in a knee jerk reaction. Consider the marriage clerk in Washington D. C. who insisted upon seeing the passport of a man with a New Mexico driver’s license. His supervisor had to explain New Mexico has been a U. S. sovereign state for 160 years. (“Only in American,” The Week, Dec. 14, 2018, pg. 6)
But who remembers history when traditional values are at risk?. The notion of family has expanded. Women play a more dominant role in our society than in the past, as do minorities. Given the new reality, opioid dreams have their appeal. As for those who deny climate change, what can they do but shrug as their beach homes wash out to sea?
Change is neither good or bad but thinking makes it so. I confess I welcome one change, though many will frown. The ChristianPost.com has reported there are more Wiccans in the country — witches and those who hold pantheistic beliefs — than members of the Presbyterian Church. Perhaps it’s time to buy a little stock in brooms.