A column about history, culture, policy, and things in between.
I was reulcutant to write this blog. Living as we do in a predominantly white and relatively affluent area, it is easy to target the work of a long-running Journal Sentinel columnist. But a column posted last Sunday, January 4, caught my attention. It had comments I liked, and some that concerned me.
The article dealt with yet another incident of violence at a major local mall, a long familiar story in this area. l will not present much of its content - you can look for it yourself if interested. But after relating information on a post-Christmas brawl, it continued by discussing the alarming rate of black on black murder in urban America, and I was struck by the following statement, "Solutions are few and far between, but it seems clear too many young black males deal with a form of personal anger that drives them to kill each other over real or imainged slights...........In that sense, the only real solution has to come from a change in the behavior of the very same young black men who are making each other obsolete. Someone has to teach them how to heal themselves".
Professional football is by far the most popular sport in America. And whatever sport is number two is so far behind it as to be invisible in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's rear view mirror. Our son loves the NFL, and I have enjoyed watching him grow into a fan. Last night when I got home he told me, "the NFL isn't as good as it was Dad".
He believes that because Tony Dungy retired yesterday as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
So "in the moment" do we live today that I believe we have all but forgotten 9-11, though the smouldering ruins of the towers lie not even eight years in our collective rear view mirror.
There is little question in my mind that the United States is losing its sovereignity. I believe this has been inexorably occuring since Woodrow Wilson led us into World War One, and after that conflict, was instrumental in establishing the League of Nations. In the late 1980's we heard of Bush 41's "New World Order", and have seen the nearly uninterrupted ascendancy of the United Nations. Today, we see global economic conditions paving the way for discussion of world currencies and governing bodies. Get ready - we will be hearing of these things in the next three to five years.
Now what exactly does it mean to say we are losing our sovereignity, and what are the implications of it? And even if you agree that we are, is that necessarily a good or a bad thing? When Americans thump their chests and talk of sovereignity, it is typically with the implicit assumption that it is a vitally important and GOOD thing. But the most autonomous political entities of the last two hundred years were Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia - the two greatest killing machines in history. I would argue that autonomy is neither good nor bad. It is a descriptive not a prescriptive.
With his signature insight and keen wit, Mark Twain once remarked that "familiarity breeds contempt". He later added, "and also children".
The great American author and critic did not mean contempt in the literal sense. His larger point I believe, was that as things become more and more familiar to us, we VALUE them less. Oscar Wilde offered similar sentiments when he said, "we would appreciate a sunset more if we had to pay for it".