Are we in Rome?
The headline in the Seattle Times for the article covering Bush's speech is "We are not in decline."
Who declares that?
Most likley, someone who IS in decline.
For a long time, I've wondered if we arean't a bit like the old Rome just before the fall. We have a largely corrupt government that has lost support from more than half of it's citizens most of the time on most issues, we are over-extended, and entire nations have declared themselves our enemy.
Mind you, I hope I'm NOT right.
There is much to love in our culture and I rather like my life. But I have this regular sensation lately that the world is slowly falling backward and I can't seem to reach out my hands and help catch it. Even forward progress seems immediately threatened - we did pass an equal rights bill for gays and lesbians and transgender folk, and already there is a ballot measure to overturn it. What harm can it possibly do to most people?
I have been reading the "American Girl" series book about Addy, a young black woman during the time of the civil war. It's one of the most pleasant duties in my life - reading goodnight stories to my partner's 9 year old. Well, we'rereading about Addy's direct experiences with the fact that "Colored people are not really free, even in the north," during the Civil War.
I'm not sure they are now, not entirely. Prejudice still exists, even today.
We read that the same day Coretta Scott King died.
I cried as the child protagonaist in the book heard that the Civil War is over. The child I'm reading to has two great mothers, me (not her mother, but a useful and handy household adult, at least), and two fine godmothers. She is in a private school, brilliant, well-educated. I had no idea how to explain to her the silliness of there being any question about something as private and generally irelevant to others as sexual preference. But the fight over the simple law we just passed is a pale echo of the Civil War, and it seems that those echoes should have died away long ago.
Some of them seem to be getting stronger rather than growing weaker. Is that a sign we might actually be in decline?