Earlier this morning, I was awakened by the sound of thunder rolling in from a distance, along with occasional flashes of light. The typical sounds of a storm rolling in from the so-called “hill country” just to the west of here. Except it never got here. Instead, it swept just to the north, missing the area I currently live in.
Thunderstorms are part of the cycle of the ecosystem here on this planet. It’s a natural methodology for getting water to areas that need the precipitation to survive and grow. But its not water in a watering can that can be poured out in precise amounts at regular intervals. Storms come and go with irregular intervals because the imbalances that create them do not happen on some magical cycle.
Many people see storms as something to fear. We can see it in popular culture. When things happen within our socio-political realm, we tend to label it as a “storm.” Except its not. Socio-politics is not a weather phenomenon. It doesn’t create floods and tornadoes, nor does it bring a gentle rain that has a calming feeling. Socio-politics is a man-made creation that hardly resembles a storm. The metaphorical descriptive of calling it a storm is…well…somewhat useless and misleading.
Perhaps, as we look at the history of socio-politic movements, we might want to consider it more to be a tide. Of sorts. Strong conservative and liberal movements happen all the time over history. Currently, here in the United States, there is a strong conservative movement rising. It’s not a storm. More like a tide. Some of its roots come from the so-called “Red scare” in the 1950s, when politicians were turning over every rock to try and find a communist sympathizer that could be brought before Senator McCarthy’s Senate committee for a bogus trial. Certainly, there were individuals who believed in the Communist philosophy of governmental process. There are those that believe that still. Its antithetical to the government process that the United States runs on. A complete shift to that would be impossible. So, the believers of Communist principles were ferreted out by McCarthy’s committee were done as a dog-and-pony show to keep McCarthy in his position of assumed power. At one point, McCarthy overreached from his power base in accusing the Army’s Signal Corps of having Communist sympathizer’s within its midst. During the McCarthy hearings, he was accused by the Army of trying to obtain preferential treatment within the Army for a colleague of his. The resulting trial revealed the bullying tactics that McCarthy employed in his “Red scare” hunt. The result was that the public turned against McCarthy, effectively ending his reign of terror against those he deemed to be “unpatriotic.”
The 1950s and the 1960s saw the tide of conservativism wane. The rise of the hippies and the philosophies associated with them came to rise. The drastically different lifestyles from the so-called “nuclear family” were a shock to the values of family-oriented people. As the flowing tide of socio-politics went back towards the conservative values, the rise of technology blunted some of the concepts that were held by the conservatives. The 1980s brought the so-called “decade of excess” where families spent liberally on the backs of credit that was offered to them by banking systems. This eventually lead conservatives to bring in the badly named concept of Reaganomics in response, which lead to “trickle down economics” where the wealth of the rich would trickle down to the poor. Attacks on non-family values went on the ride. Conservatives created their own straw men to provide the foes they needed to charge their rising tide. Satanism, the threat of nuclear annihilation from the “Godless Communist,” and many other modern-day boogiemen helped keep issues on the rise. The conservatives had finally found a new weapon – fear. In the 1990s, Satanism boogiemen preachers, such as Sean Sellers and Mike Warnke were discredited. The Soviet Union fell as it couldn’t outspend the United States in the Cold War – a tactic that put the United States in deep debt, much like many of its citizens who had madly overspent in the 1980s. Fears that had been stoked, died down – even despite the rise of the Tea Party and its twisted sense of values. Over time, the Tea Party has helped foment more fear, leading to a distinctive rise in conservatism again. Which brings us to today.
Conservatism, as well as liberalism, has enjoyed a rising and ebbing of its tide within American society. Every rise has a common theme associated with it – fear. Right now, we are told to fear the public schools indoctrinating your children with ideas and concepts that are antithetical to the same 1950s values of conservatism from so long ago. Conservatives teach the concept of hatred – and in some cases violence – towards those that hold a different set of values from themselves. When they can’t win the battle of values within the political realm, they try to overthrow time-honored processes that elect representatives to our federal government. My current Senate representation comes in the form of two individuals I vehemently disagree with. However, you won’t see me contesting the results of their elections. Why? Because I respect the process as it is meant to be. Because even though I am not being represented by individuals that share my values, I respect the concept that I am in the minority in my area of residence. I don’t agree with the values of the individuals that outnumber me (considerably, by the way), I do respect the governmental process that elects them. But I digress…
We’re not living in a storm. We’re experiencing a socio-political tide. A tide that will ebb and wane as it has done many, many times over the years. Each time a rise of the conservative tide has happened, those conservatives have fomented anger, hatred, and even violence against those that disagree with them through the use of fear. Fear that the ideas diametrically opposed to them have no merit. That those ideas will “pervert” their children. That those perspectives will destroy America and turn it into a Communist state. Honestly, the only way that will happen is through extremely violent revolution. The American governmental form is meant to form and shape itself in response to the social mores of society. Its meant to be a social contract between all of us that determines how we can disagree with one another, and through its rules – still be a community together. We can disagree vehemently with one another, but together we are all Americans. Outlawing people based on their gender/identity is not something we should be doing as a country. The statue of Liberty is a symbol of our desire to take in people of all kinds of backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs. Our diversity is meant to be our strength, not a marker of what is or isn’t “American.”
People will disagree with me, and in the spirit of what it is that makes up America, that’s perfectly fine. None of us are going to agree with everyone else. We are built on the idea of being able to disagree with one another – even vehemently – and still have the common decency and respect to shake hands and walk away. No violence. No hatred. Our disagreements might be the storms that everyone talks about. But those storms dissipate over time. Just as the tides of socio-political will wane and wax over time.
For those of you who read this from overseas locations, I apologize for making this post so America-centric. I am not sure that any of this makes sense in terms of your country’s socio-political realm. Hopefully, there are comparisons that you can easily draw. I can only write on what I know and understand well enough to say something about. Again, my apologies for making this so America-centric.
3 thoughts on “Howling Into the Wind: Speaking of Tides…Not Storms”
I agree with what you say here – tides are a much better metaphor for sociopolitical movements.
Coming from a conservative family, though being rather un-conservative myself I find it very scary what’s happening in our country these days.
The anti-trans bills, the criminalization of abortion regardless of circumstance (in some states anyway), and the increaingly angry sentiment of my more conservative family members and friends worries me.
Every tide eventually ebbs, but I shudder to think of the damage that might be done to peoples’ lives in th meantime.
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I agree…high tides can be damaging. This movement to outlaw people because they don’t fit into some comfortable descriptive aspect of what an “appropriate” person might be…it smacks of the McCarthyism ‘Red Scare”. The question I have at this point is what individual is driving this with their cult of personality? Its not really President Trump, he’s not smart enough to be the driving force behind it…he’s more like a tool that someone else is pushing forward. There’s no doubt that damage is going to be done through these processes, but to survive a high tide, people in boats are going to be necessary…for this, people who are willing to be shields for those who are being damaged through this legislative nonsense. I’ve mentioned it before in the blog…there are those who are meant to be warriors, there are those that are meant to be guardians, and there are those who are meant to be helpers and there are those who are capable of multiple roles…we won’t get anywhere trying to be all three at the same time. We need more boats…and more people to help pull in those directly affected by the high tides….
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I guess we’re all going to make the decision about who we are, what we’re going to stand for, what we are capable of doing, and then get to doing it.