Don’t Worry, All is Well, Until it Isn’t

Posted: September 7, 2013 in Behind Phoenix Republic, Comparing History, Current Events
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The breakdown of a society begins slowly at first but picks up speed as everyday life deteriorates.  Tyranny often begins when free citizens willingly give up their freedom to achieve security.  Visitors to Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s, prior to World War II, often related tales of how exciting and marvelous Berlin was under the Nazis.  In reading Erick Lawson’s book, In the Garden of Beasts, United States Ambassador, William Edward Dodd’s daughter, Martha Dodd went on and on about how wonderful she thought Germany was at the time.  She was completely blind to the darkness building in people, especially government people, who surrounded her.  If you have Netflix, and like older films, take a look at the 1980’s mini-series, Winds of War, by Herman Wouk.

From a historical perspective, life pretty much goes on normally if you consider your daily experiences from a narrow enough perspective.  It is only when we take a step back that we notice the changes.  In January of 2001, who would have thought that we would have to submit to being felt up or have to get nude scans by government employees just to get on an airplane?  Would you have accepted it if President Clinton suggested a program where the NSA would be capturing every telephone or electronic communication in a massive data-center?  Probably, you wouldn’t.  Although examples of government abuse have always been in the news, would you have been stunned then if you learned that the Federal Government was actively going after political opponents with the IRS to sway an election?  Richard Nixon did that of course, but as I recall he was forced from office in disgrace.  Now a couple of decades later our current president tells us that even worse behavior a “Phony Scandal.”

My point is that if one’s culture degrades slowly enough, like the frog in the being slowly cooked in a pot of water, its only human nature to dismiss behavior that is only incrementally more outrageous than what we have become accustomed to.  The danger that we face is that if things deteriorate too far, the gradual decline can suddenly become a very rapid collapse of our culture.  In Phoenix Republic, my characters live though just such a transition.  At first, things are more or less normal.  The world has problems, but from the point of view of people living in the fictional world of my novel, it has always had problems and always would.  In a matter of weeks, the fictional world of the novel moves past the mundane and into an unprecedented crisis.  People are forced to deal with an unthinkable dissaster.

In preparing to write Phoenix Republic.  I began to take notes from news stories that were actually taking place.  Although fictionalized for the novel, many of the events in Phoenix Republic really did take place in real life.  Yesterday, while at work I thought about how crazy things are in the news these days.  It still gets me when something insane is reported.  I think, wow, that would be a good one to write about – to point out where we are on the road to Gomorrah.  My thought is that the key to surviving drastic upheavals in culture, is to be awake enough to recognize when the gradual change is about to go viral.

Today we see the EPA telling people that are nowhere near water that their property is a wetland.  We see voter fraud cases dropped by the Justice Department regardless that those cases were all but won, while just recently Mr. Holder’s Justice Department decided to go after the state of Texas for voter ID laws.  We see our administration threaten war in Syria, with or without congressional approval, while being outraged by the former progressive president doing the same thing with approval.  We see citizens protesting government intrusion by the NSA, IRS, and other agencies, but could care less that even worse intrusions happen under the political party they support.  As in my novel it appears that that the world is heating up.   Not sure when things go over that proverbial cliff, but I do believe there is too much in our world that is too broken in too many places.

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