Summary: While we frantically prepare for the arrival of our worldly goods in our new Heartland home, here is another brief sketch with my impressions about America today — and the future we are building. It is bleak. But we can still change course.
My previous post — Star Trek Enterprise was a mirror. We hated what we saw. — looked at our future through the lens of the Star Trek stories. After WWII, America built a new world order. It was an idealistic vision of a coalition of worlds bringing peace to the galaxy — much as the United Nations and regional defense alliances brought peace and law to our world. Star Trek’s shows, from the original series through “Enterprise,” described how humanity worked to overcome its ancient sins.
My post described how “Enterprise” aired after 9/11 while America was tearing down that geopolitical order. Its low ratings showed how Americans have abandoned that vision.
We are not on the path to the Star Trek universe. Twenty-first century America will be more like the Lord of the Rings world. The Fellowship wanders through a Middle Earth amidst the decayed remnants and ruins of a greater civilization (the first film of the trilogy perfectly portrayed this). We live among the ruins of past accomplishments and the dreams of even greater progress in the future.
Trump (leading the Right) and Social Justice Warriors (leading the Left) are turning back the clock, unwinding generations of progress. Our foreign policy is the traditional America First, might makes right. Rather than seeking to prevent or end wars, we start them.
Inequality has returned to its Gilded Age peaks. The Right supports a policy of starving the nation of public investment, selling off public resources to the rich (cheap), cutting taxes for the 1%, and massive fiscal deficits.
The Left has made racism and sexism respectable again. The hopes of the Civil Rights Movement and feminism have turned toxic, ending a century of slow progress.
Overseas, trade wars replace commercial peace and prosperity. America wages war around the world, bereft of strategy or rational goals.
Social cohesion is fraying, during a long economic expansion. Things might get ugly during the next recession.
These are the results of fecklessly wrecking projects and institutions built at great cost over generations. They represent a loss of hope, replaced by alienation and cynicism. This might be our greatest problem. Fortunately, there is still time for us to change course.
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Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
- Why Americans should love Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – we live there.
- The Shiny, Sexy Seduction of Star Trek Into Darkness.
- Star Trek reboots to give us simple stories, the cartoons we like.
- The neocons captured the Star Trek universe, as they’ve captured America.
- Our future will be Jupiter Ascending, unless we make it Star Trek.
- A philosopher looks at Star Trek and sees our dark dreams.