(…who have lost our way?)

Democracy is one of the noisiest and messiest systems ever conceived for political association as a coherent whole. It’s noisy…because of the cacophony of individual voices all clamoring for attention at the same time. It’s messy…because it has to constantly juggle any particular interests with those of any others each claiming precedence, greater need, or value…for themselves. So anyone who wants to have “democracy” must be prepared to live in a constant state of argument and turmoil while trying to achieve some kind of balance between all those contending elements.

In short, the practical applications of “democracy” always come down to whose interest or liberty ends…where someone else’s…begins, and, how to draw the line between them…and by whom? Our Constitution is perhaps one of the best attempts ever made to resolve that problem because it is one of the most brilliantly conceived and finely crafted blueprints for achieving such a delicate balance between the common interest and those of the individual. All of the conflicts and contentions we’ve experienced among ourselves over the past two hundred odd years always came about whenever we allowed that delicate balance to be upset somehow. At such moments our sense of unity as a nation and people was thus threatened and, in a couple of instances, nearly destroyed.

So it is with us at this moment in our history as we ask ourselves…are we poor little lambs who have lost our way? Perhaps so…because the impacts from the clamor of new voices added to our already polyglot conglomerate, the disruptive effects of new technologies rapidly overwhelming the economic machinery which has sustained us for so long, along with so much of the rest of the world apparently turning upside down…all of that…seems to threaten the idea of America, and our very existence as a nation. Thus our collective angst for the future about what we may become as a people, and where we may be headed as a nation.

And that sense of foreboding and these riptides of malaise about that have now taken shape in the form of political extremism unable and unwilling to achieve “balance”, leaving our erstwhile ship of state taken aback, dead in the water, unable to come about onto a new and proper course toward a clear and certain future. Adding to these anxieties those who are now being offered us to take its helm, and chart a clear and steady course for it, do not show us any sign of calling for unity and purpose to that end. Which leaves us to wonder… how perilous or uncertain will this voyage of our grand old ship USS America continue to be?

Well, perhaps the only option left for us is just to rename it…Ship of Fools…then pray a lot.