Lately I’ve been on a sci-fi kick. I’ve been reading through the Ender series by Orson Scott Card (highly recommended). He’s a master at characterizations and somewhat of an intellectual. He tends to deal a lot with science, religion and politics. Right up my alley, ne? Anyway, I just finished
- Shadow of the Hegemon
, a speculative novel about one of our planet’s possible futures. I won’t go into the novel here, because what I want to talk about is something he says in the appendix. At the end of the book, he writes a bit of an essay on socio-political speculative fiction and what he feels are the major challenges of pursuing such a story. Semi-interesting stuff if you’re interested in becoming a writer. But, in this essay, he states something, almost in passing, that really got me thinking. He said, almost matter-of-factly that America is in decline, and that the reason we are in decline is that we haven’t had a decent leader in a very long time and seem to have no interest in finding one. Of course, I’m paraphrasing. You can dig up the book yourself if you want a direct quote. It really got me thinking, though. Are we in decline? Seems to me like he’s not the only one to say it. And if this is true, how much time do we have? What will happen to us when the end finally does come? Is there any way to stop it? If there is a way, should we even try?
I personally am of the opinion that we are in decline, and the main reason for this is that no one in a position of power seems at all inclined to do anything about the increasing problems our nation is facing. The middle class is still dwindling. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are increasing in number. More and more, the issues that are taking the forefront in politics are increasingly irrelevant to the real problems that we all face. Big business is gaining more control over us by the minute, and nobody in power seems to be of a mind to put a stop to it or even slow it down. The whole situation is downright depressing. I really don’t blame those of us who are more inclined to ignore politics and world events and focus their energy on insignifigant and innane pursuits.
Thinking about all of this, I am reminded of exactly what it is that got me into activism in the first place. Personally, I don’t believe we as a country and as a people have very much time left before total collapse. The chaos and terror that will follow are unavoidable. But, the damage that is done to the average person, tho ones usually hurt the most by these sorts of things, can be minimized. I’m not talking about building a bomb shelter and saving up canned goods, or whatever. I’m talking about learning to fend for ourselves. Some of us should learn how to grow our own food. Others should learn quick and effective ways to build houses and furniture. Still others should come up with viable alternatives to capitalism. We all need to stop depending upon the government and big business for all the things we need to survive. That way, when and if the unthinkable occurs, we won’t suffer needlessly. And, even if things aren’t as bad as they seem, learning all of this stuff will help us become more well rounded individuals. Heck, we may even affect real change and end up saving the country by empowering people everywhere.
Who really knows what the future holds. I just think it’s a good thing to be prepared.
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