“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”
So begins that great epic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. It is set in the late eighteenth century, during the volcanic social and political turbulence leading to, and culminates with the French Revolution and ensuing Reign of Terror.
Though our current age comes some twenty-four decades after that epoch, it’s not hard to identify striking parallels. Sociopolitical turbulence has been a hallmark of the human experience throughout history.
The main source of tension then was the contrast between the nobility and the peasantry, each group viewing the other with distrust and contempt. Today, it’s the American plutocracy–the ruling class haughty elite–infatuated as they are with prestige, power, wealth, and privilege, and openly disdainful of our mainstream citizenry, those “deplorables” who “bitterly cling” to their faith, constitutional rights, and traditional values.
Through the entirety of his narrative, author Dickens weaves a tapestry of contrasts between the opulence and vanity of the privileged class and the desperation of the commoners. He continues,
“It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, …”
Monarchic Europe had its cultural treasures and its behavioral quirks. Members of an educated nobility would use their schooling and status for purposes both noble and depraved, while unlettered commoners would acquire sufficient horse-sense acumen to work a trade or to rob a nobleman.
In today’s dichotomy–leftists versus patriots–each side dismisses the other’s “wisdom” as “foolishness” and, seemingly, vaunts its own “foolishness” as “wisdom.” Which side’s worldview is “correct”? Simply put, it’s which version of public policy works well and what doesn’t, to produce lasting, wholesome, beneficial results. Keep reading.
Given that mid-nineteenth-century England, the time Dickens published his masterpiece, suffered many of the same social and economic ills that plagued France decades earlier, it can be argued that he wrote this as a grim warning to the British aristocracy. Though our conflicts don’t exactly match theirs, it can likewise be argued that this nation is also overdue for its own grim warning.
American citizens are constitutionally free from Europe’s class hierarchy. But citizen complacency, political ambition, and the seductive promise of largesse from a nanny-state government fuel the ever-growing bureaucratic plutocracy cited above.
“It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …”
We are at the cusp of cultural degradation resulting from decades of intellectual and moral flippancy. “Woke” leftist ideology swamps our institutions, their inhabitants now infected with “microaggression” paranoia and cancel culture.
A nation that formed the crucible for banishing slavery and purging racism has, with Critical Race Theory, become a Kafkaesque drama of reverse racism.
Sexuality – the natural biological system for perpetuating human existence – has been warped into a bizarre dark comedy of dysphoria and disorientation. The sacramental physical union of a man and a woman in a committed marital bond, for the purpose of building an enduring and loving family, lapses into “hookup culture” –a casual participation sport–both “gay” and “straight.” The unremitting truth of male and female–something assigned immutably at conception–is shoved aside for a whole zoology of preferred pronouns, with a spectrum of genders absurdly more varied and colorful than a fat folder of decorator’s paint chips.
The nation that saved Europe from itself in two bloody wars, then stared down the communist Soviet menace until it collapsed into the beached jellyfish it became, now faces the accusatory imprecations of today’s high priests of Neo-Marxism, hectoring us that the traditional values that made the country successful must be banished to form an artificial new order of mock-fairness.
A nation whose citizens are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” now uses “separation of church and state” to forbid religious expression in the public square, and virus panic to foreclose people’s right to enter their houses of worship.
The nation’s military now prioritizes inclusion, diversity, and “wokeness” over the eternal mandate to form, maintain, and project a lean, mean fighting team. With the sudden collapse in Afghanistan, who would place bets now on our military’s readiness to go head-to-head with the People’s Liberation Army of the PRC? Likely not our allies in the western Pacific.
“It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, …”
In 2016 a brilliant business leader and charismatic patriot won the presidency with promises to break the stranglehold of the corrupt “deep state.” Its denizens–the bureaucrats, the Democrats, the NeverTrump RINOs, insubordinate staff–set about to subvert and divert every effort by this new leader. Still, that president managed to instill a renaissance of freedom, security, and economic well-being that pervaded the land.
But none of that mattered. Bad Orange Man, the purveyor of “mean tweets,” who called out biased media for their fervent industry of mendacities, and threatened the affluent comforts of the ruling class, had to go. After the Mueller witch hunt, other dubious searches for doubtful crimes, then impeachment on nonsensical invented charges failed, his enemies resorted to the old tried-and-true, the rigged election.
Whether it was actual election fraud (likely) or a tsunami of Biden supporters (questionable), the Trump haters got what they wanted. Now we all live with the consequences, like it or not.
“It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, …”
On his first day in office, Joe Biden signed a tall stack of executive orders nullifying as much as he could of what his predecessor had left.
Since then, we’ve gone from energy independence to reliance on OPEC+, from security at the southern border to massive invasion, from a booming economy to raging inflation, from prudent tax cuts to reckless borrowing and spending, accumulating debt endlessly, to be paid by our doomed grandchildren and their grandchildren’s grandchildren.
The latest is our scandal with Afghanistan. What’s next? With Biden, Harris, Pelosi, and Schumer in charge–those Four Donkeys of the American Apocalypse–it’s anyone’s guess.
This is a “tough love” moment for America and Americans. Call it “spanked by reality.” Where do we go from here?
First, realize that the ship of state is adrift, with patriots in the brig, rats on the bridge, steering for the rocks. The damage to our society, our economy, our standing among nations is massive.
Second, boldly assert that the Donkeys own these disasters; make them stick like flypaper. They can’t lie their way out this time. It’s foolishness on steroids.
Third, acknowledge our frustration, discouragement, and anger. Then, pool our resources and talents, and channel those feelings into a hard-as-nails determination to right our course.
Fourth, take inspiration from the fact that patriotic Americans throughout our history have endured hardships and tragedies. But it was in their spirit to overcome them and to soldier on to ultimate victory.
Fifth, accept that it won’t be quick and easy. This is work for patriots, not “snowflakes” fearing microaggressions, nor demagogues raging over “victimhood.”
It’s time to begin the heavy lifting, and change “despair” back into “hope.”
Image: The original Star-Spangled Banner flown over Fort McHenry in 1814.
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