Today was the first day in a week, that I had a break. Like, a serious, “it’s okay to sleep in,” break. I could have practiced driving, but no. Too much stress. I see my instructor again in two days, one of which, I’m working all day. My next chance to practice driving will be the morning on the same day I see him.
On top of that, I’ve got a running series of nightmares which pop up when I oversleep…and I slept, pretty much all day. Right now, I’m trying to figure out whether to stay up further into the early morning, or get back to bed, so I can wake up and go to work tomorrow being able to say that I’ve adequately taken care of myself.
Yeah, not so great a price to pay for being comfortable and lazing about.
I have, however…taken care of some things, where it comes to library materials. (I also thought I had like 17 things overdue…which turned out to be a dream, as well.) I’ve found that I’m fairly superficially interested in politics. I check the books out or buy them, and then don’t read them. There are topical ones (like How Democracies Die, by Levitsky and Ziblatt), and then ones which are so far out of date by now that their warnings for the future have already passed their relevance (like The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, by Fareed Zakaria, which was published in 2004. His future is either now, or we have passed it already, from what little of the book I’ve read).
In short, the state of the U.S. just seems to be that we have major issues (and have had them, going back to the inception of the country). We can’t be considered whatever we considered ourselves to be in a directly Post-WWII era, when Europe was rebuilding and the relatively physically unscathed U.S. was thereby able to position itself as a leading industrial, military, and economic power on the world stage.
Yeah, and I don’t know if the rest of the world cared about that…but. There is the issue of what happened to European “possessions” both before and after WWII. I’m not sure of the timeline in regard to postcolonialism (whether most countries liberated themselves before, during, or after the 1914-to-1945 period), but I would think the legacy of colonialism impacted most of Africa, South America, and Australia, at the least. That only leaves Asia and North America. I do know that the U.S. was interfering in politics in Central and South America, which at least inflamed the conditions currently causing people to flee.
It would be interesting to research. Having a working knowledge of Spanish would also help. (You see what I did there.) I’ll hold off on the suggestion that I get an advanced degree in World History for later…
We’re not on the level of being a leader at this time, and that’s due to multiple factors (not all of which I know, but some of which are getting worse). The main danger is the possibility of dropping into an autocratic dictatorship led by an elected populist leader. Whatever got us to the point of enough people being willing to elect that person, however, is something we need to be looking at.
What it says, though, is that we actually are not better than anyone else.
Democracy in the U.S. is and always has been an experiment. As well, I think that voters in the U.S. have felt both that, “popular = right,” or that the masses will always rationally choose what’s actually best; and that what happens in the rest of the world can never happen here.
I don’t know if there’s a magic shield we’ve all imagined around us, but present conditions are a wake-up call. The point is that what has happened in the rest of the world can happen here; that we are people like those in the rest of the world are people. Just because the little girl crying from losing a leg (and also her brother) is brown, that doesn’t mean she’s not a person.
Bad stuff happens. If it’s happened before, it can happen again, and being “Americans” doesn’t mean we’re, “better than that.” This is where I feel really unacknowledged. I found out that I couldn’t label myself as a Progressive, because I know not everything is going to become better. What we are now is not necessarily better than what we were before. Conditions are different, but that doesn’t mean things won’t turn around and get worse again. There is a future to come: and when the people of that time look back at us (assuming they shall exist), what will they see?