Saturday, May 30, 2020

Had a Dream

All my life, I have heard people make glowing references to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. That speech, in particular its most famous line about hoping for a day when all people would be judged "by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin," seemed to be a very popular and pain-free place for politicians and others to stop by to express support for the concept of civil rights and the hope of human brotherhood. Other things that King called for, like economic justice and an end to corporate greed, violence and militarism, are far less frequently-cited themes. However sincerely or cynically King's speech has been utilized over the decades, one thing is crystal clear: his dream has not been realized. The continuing inequality that limits the lives of so many Americans affects African-Americans most of all. The c higher incarceration rates for African-Americans, higher death rates from Covid-19,  the barriers being raised to limit voting by African-Americans and other minorities, and the continuing police aggression against African-Americans that we now see on disgusting display in the knee-on-the-neck killing of George Floyd, can leave no doubt that America remains today just as afflicted by racism as it was in the lifetime of Martin Luther King.  To quote another assassinated visionary, John Lennon, "One thing you can't hide, is when you're crippled inside." The crippled moral character of America is now on view, front and center, for all the world to see and judge.

And as Minneapolis and other cities are rocked by fiery protests against police brutality and a racially biased justice system, the man in the Dark Tower--I mean, the White House--laments the death of Mr. Floyd in one breath while actually encouraging police to use more force against black protesters with the phrase, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," signalling that he expects aggrieved black citizens to shut up and submit to the knee on their neck, and if not, to prepare to be shot by the police. 

I had a dream too. About three year and a half years ago, on the November night in 2016 when Donald Trump would win the election over Hillary Clinton, I was on a plane to Finland on my way to an academic conference. I flew out of JFK airport that evening confident that Clinton was likely to win, and that there was little chance of the racist real estate developer and reality-show con-man winning the White House. However, when I fell asleep for a few hours on the flight, I had a very disturbing dream of angry crowds of people out in the streets fighting and shouting with fires burning.and gunshots exploding.  I woke up thinking, oh, it is just an anxiety dream about what could happen if a racist, brutality-loving person like Donald Trump were to become president, but of course, he won't. When my plane touched down in Helsinki, I learned who had won the election, and I felt numb with shock and apprehension.

And now I see streets aflame in city after city, with the racist-in-chief signalling to police that brutality is acceptable, even laudable. King's dream has not come true, but I am afraid my own dream may have.

This is our Ragnarok. Not the Second Civil War or Race War that some neo-Nazis and right-wing conspiracy believers are hoping for, but a battle against forces of spiritual ugliness, political brutishness and a white supremacy that doesn't even have to name itself to be known for what it is, as it is on plain view for anyone willing to look at reality in the face. We must rally our forces to defend what is good and true and enduring and fight for compassion and cooperation and caring and the long-term future of our fragile environment, against those who seek to crush the weak and glorify the brutal, whose only consistency is sociopathic aggression, and who seem to understand very little about anything beyond their own self-glorification. More and more Trump reminds me of Loki, who used slander and rumor to besmirch and belittle the other gods, and Surt, the fire-giant who seemed to want nothing more than to burn down the world. Ragnarok ends with the world destroyed, the gods all dead, but then a new world rising and the gods reviving. Let us carry on in the same faith that a better world can rise out of the broken pieces of the world we now see collapsing all around us.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I Hope

Dear Readers in this horrible springtime of pandemic,

Right now is the most terrifying period I can think of in my five-plus decades on this earth. The corona virus COVID-19 is a threat to all humans all around the earth, with no one being spared because of their location, their race, their religion, their national origin, or any other characteristic that people may think makes them superior to others or immune from others' concerns and problems. President Trump may call this a "Chinese virus" because of his habitual tendency to always seek a way to express hostility toward non-white peoples, having found that his more ardent followers will applaud loudly and almost orgasmically for his racist smears and ethnic scapegoating. However, in this crisis, I see hope that this racist tribalism may be one of the primary casualties of COVID-19,  and that we are going to see a new consciousness of the need for global human solidarity rising up from the ashes of a broken world. It is becoming more and more clear that international cooperation, not petty name-calling, race-baiting and blame-shifting, is needed to cope with this mass suffering. Leaders who rally their entire populations--ALL of their people, not just this or that racial or ethnic group--for an all-hands-on-deck effort, the only kind that can be effective in confronting a pandemic, and who work together with other governments and with international organizations and experts are the ones who will be viewed as true heroes and people of courage, compassion and wisdom, not those who rant and rave about building walls, scorning international agreements, and seeking isolation. We are of course seeing a period of closed borders right now, understandable as both a psychological and prophylactic response to this sudden, horrifying, crisis, but we are also seeing the need for countries to help each other with medical expertise and equipment, with financial burden-sharing, and other matters. It is becoming increasingly clear to most people that we really ARE all in this together.

I also see hope that this horrible collective experience will be the end of right-wing opposition to large government programs, as everyone now, of whatever political stripe, is seeing the need for huge government programs to save the economy from total collapse and large segments of the population from poverty and panic.  Furthermore, unlike the financial crisis of 2008 when many governments only seemed interesting in bailing out large business corporations, this time everyone can see that we have to provide financial support to ALL of the people who are losing their jobs and income, as the economy cannot function with a third of the population unemployed. Huge government aid programs to help the poor and stabilize the economy--isn't that the SOCIALISM that conservatives have always claimed would bring on the end of the world? Well, now that we are standing on the edge of a really terrifying social and economic precipice, it turns out that even the right-wing in many countries is suddenly in favor of massive government spending, without the usual hand-wringing about  "unsustainable government deficits," "moral hazard" and such. When push comes to shove, and society is on the brink, socialism is not such an evil force after all, though of course, the conservatives won't call this "socialism."  They'll find some euphemism like "corona capitalism," or maybe "free enterprise with collective characteristics."  In any case, a certain mental barrier has been breached. No longer will it be possible to say that the "magic of the market" can solve all problems, and that Big Government is Public Enemy #1. When the shit really hits the fan like it is now, there is in fact no alternative to Big Government, as big as possible; better still, international cooperation between all governments big and small.

I also see the possibility of a new spiritual horizon in the birthing. Many people are finding it a great solace now to be out in nature in whatever way they can manage, whether a walk down the street to a park, a stroll in the forest, or even just looking out their window and seeing a bird circling gracefully in a beautiful blue sky like a magical acrobat.  This may remind people of the sacred healing power of nature, and in a time when they are being forced to confront their own fragility in a world of biological organisms that all affect each other, inspire them to consider the need to better care for and protect nature, realizing we are all children of nature now desperate for our mother, this earth, to tell us that things will be OK.  This could be a moment of spiritual awakening as well as spur to new ecological activism. This could really be a positive turning point for humankind to reconsider many things and seek a better long-term path. I hope so.  I don't know if I will live to see it, as I am as scared of dying from this modern plague as anyone else, but I hope to.  And right now, that is a precious pair of words I will hold dear to my heart: I hope.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Muslims and Pagans

Dear Readers,

It is hard to believe that it has been more than a year since I set virtual pen to virtual paper on this blog.  Life has just been too busy and exhausting, and the gruesome reality show that is the Trump presidency has so alarmed, aggravated and depressed me that at times I have not been sure what to talk about here, as there is such a constant cavalcade of erratic and destructive actions and ignorant and hateful rhetoric exploding from the House of Tweet that I find myself at times too overwhelmed to respond. Add to that the rising tide of Trumpian right-wing nationalist politicians and parties around the world from India to Hungary to Britain to Brazil and the dispiriting effect is only magnified  a hundredfold, and I fall into anguished silence contemplating how the world that I once knew, in which Fascism had been vanquished in a World War and there was a general understanding that Nazism was an evil thing, seems to be falling apart and past hatreds and cruelties rising up again, with delighted mobs deliriously cheering blood-lust.

What brings me to write today is the very sad realization that someone who I have worked with for a long time in the academic world, someone I have respected for his work in Pagan Studies and thought I knew, someone who I considered a kindred spirit, seems to have been fully converted to the hateful outlook of the new global right wing. I noticed him making very characteristically far-right  Islamophobic statements on a blog that he writes, seizing on the extreme rhetoric of one particularly aggressive and offensive Muslim cleric and seeming to trumpet this as proof of the overall vileness of Islam, the religion of some 1.3 billion human beings on this earth. I contacted my friend and pointed out that it is neither accurate nor intellectually honest nor morally defensible to lambaste all the members of a group or religion for the actions or statements of a single person or small minority within that group. He backed off a little bit, but only a little, acknowledging that not all Muslims were bad people but adding that overall, he still finds Islam a malevolent force in the world. He observed that while some academics and intellectuals might feel it important to respect Islam out of their dedication to religious tolerance, this  was, in his opinion, a misguided "ivory  tower" view that overlooked the true reality of the world in which Islam was a  threat to the tolerant lifestyle of Western societies, a threat that had to be defended against.

Having spent some serious time in the last several years researching right-wing nationalism and extremism, particularly anti-Muslimism, also known as Islamophobia, its close relation, anti-Gypsyism, and their older sibling anti-Semitism, I was very sad to see how almost every word my friend had to say about Islam was right out of the hackneyed, hateful hymn book of the modern  far right. Islam as threat to the west has been the mother's milk trope of right-wing Islamophobia for decades, going into overdrive after the 9/11 attacks and asserted with renewed vitality after the horrific Charlie Hebdo incident in France. This is not to say that the homicidal brutality of Muslim persons in those incidents was justified or forgivable. Those responsible should be prosecuted and punished for such crimes. However,  the vast majority of Muslims worldwide who live peaceful lives of daily toil and experience the same range of human triumphs and travails as others, should not be blamed or vilified, demonized or disadvantaged due to the actions of a few within their community. To do that is to begin following the old playbook of racial and religious prejudice that cherry-picks the most unpleasant and offensive behaviors, beliefs or customs to be found among the members of any group, whether defined in ethnic, religious, or other terms,  holds this up as the essence of the group, and proclaims the need to suppress, segregate, deport or exterminate said group. That way lies Pogroms and Final Solutions.

We all have our quirks and shortcomings, and I wish I could just write off my friend's anti-Muslim bias as a quirk of his personality, something I could simply agree to disagree with him about and then put behind us. The problem is, I am bound to this person in an academic enterprise in the field of Religious Studies. Though my friend's particular expertise and interest is in regards to modern Paganism, it is axiomatic in modern Religious Studies to accept the basic validity of all religions on their own terms,  practicing religious tolerance and respect for diversity. I now have reason to believe that my friend has either never really believed in religious tolerance and diversity, or has turned a corner in his mind where in the case of Islam, the principles of tolerance and diversity do not apply.

I find his stance not only offensive to my own sense of ethics and my own commitment to respecting religious diversity, but extremely puzzling and ironic in someone who is a long-time supporter of modern Paganism. It is the principles of religious tolerance and respect for diversity that have made it possible for Pagans to practice their religion in many countries today without fear of persecution or violence. If we start saying that Islam is not to be tolerated because of certain behaviors or beliefs of a small minority of its members, do we not begin to dismantle the structures that uphold the edifices of tolerance and diversity that we Pagans shelter under? Does that not lay the groundwork for persecution of minority religions  including forms of Paganism such as Wicca, Druidism and Heathenry, that many Christians find offensive and Satanic?

I would welcome comments from readers about their own viewpoints on Pagans and Muslims. Do you agree with me that  upholding respect for all religions is the best protection for minority religions like Paganism, or do you feel like my friend that in America and other Western societies, Islam cannot be tolerated and Muslims are not welcome? Do you think we should "Build the Wall" against Islam? Or should we be looking to build bridges and find common ground? I will be curious to hear your voices.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Triumph of Diversity in the "Blue Wave" Election of 2018

Readers, I have been away from this blog a long time. It is partly that I have been very busy, with academic and political involvements, but is it more so because I have been too depressed and dispirited by the unending cruelty, venality and inhumanity of the Trump era. I have never felt so afraid that America might devolve into a brutal, Fascist state as I have been this year, in light of  the Trump administration's disregard of law and ethics, and racist obsession with demonizing and abusing immigrants, particularly Latino immigrants, not to mention various expressions of hostility toward African-Americans and Muslims. But as of Tuesday night, Nov. 6, 2018, when the results of the 2018 midterm election started to come in, and the evidence of a Blue Wave of Democratic party victory across the country began to mount, my spirits have lifted, though I was heartbroken by the defeat of the truly inspiring Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke as well as the apparent losses of two very impressive African-American candidates in southern states, namely Stacey Abrams running for governor in Georgia and Andrew Gillum for governor in Florida. It now seems that Abrams and Gillum might yet emerge victorious as the final counts and possible recounts proceed.

In my own home region in New York State, I saw a racist campaign against a highly qualified African-American House of Representatives candidate, Antonio Delgado, fail to derail Delgado's ascent to victory, and a progressive State Senate candidate, Jen Metzger, prevail over a Republican candidate who in the past would have been a shoo-in, this being a generally conservative-leaning part of the state. This kind of Democratic victory at the state level was part and parcel of a vast Democratic surge nationwide, with 350 Democrats elected to state legislatures and 7 states opting for Democratic governors, shifting the balance of governorships from 32 Republican vs. 16 Democratic to 26 Republican vs. 23 Democratic, with one of those Florida not entirely certain, and Georgia still to be decided.

Overall, the election shows a real triumph of diversity over the Trumpian preference for white male leadership and possibly also white supremacy. Consider how many barriers were broken, how many "firsts"  were registered. In Colorado: the country's first openly gay governor, Jared Polis. The country's first two Native American women  were elected to Congress: Debra Haaland, in New Mexico, and Sharice Davids in Kansas, who is also the first lesbian congresswoman elected in the state. The nation's first two Muslim women were also elected to Congress: Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota. In Massachusetts, the state's first African-American female was elected to Congress, Ayanna Pressley. In Texas, the state's first two  Latina congresswomen: Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia. In New York, the youngest ever congressperson was elected, Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. There was just one such "first" on the Republican side: Tennessee's first female Senator, Marsha Blackburn. Overall, the Republicans had their best showing in white-majority, economically struggling, rural areas, while the Democrats prevailed in urban and suburban areas with more diverse populations.

I believe that this nationwide embrace of racial, ethnic and religious diversity represented by these Democratic victories shows the tolerant, open dimension of the American national character coming to the fore, and demonstrating that it can stand up to and indeed face down the specter of ethno-national Fascism offered by Trump and his ilk.  This may be the start of America waking up to its "better angels," in the phrase made famous by Abraham Lincoln, the American leader who chose to stand up against the slavery of African-Americans rather than acquiesce to it, which would have been the easier path, which the pundits of the time might well have assumed was the logical, pragmatic course. Lincoln stood up for the more idealistic option, choosing to embrace diversity rather than deny it, and on Nov. 6, so did America.

There is hope!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Revenge of Love: Two Films That Made Me Cry

Dear Readers,

I do find myself at a loss for words at times in this awful era of the Trump presidency. Not that there is nothing to say, but rather that so many bad things are happening so fast that I often cannot decide where to begin to respond or comment. The separation of families at the border.... the weird coziness of Trump with Putin in Helsinki, treating him like the best person in the world, right after insulting America's allies at the NATO summit, and always, grinding away in the background, the nonstop destruction  of programs, policies and regulations that protect the environment, help the poor, and uphold human decency...It is too much, and I fall dumb. This is either evil genius or brutally effective instinct on the part of Trump and his team: to so bombard us with crazy, cruel and contradictory things that we are shocked into silence and inaction. I must confess that at times, I fall right into this trap, which means the bastards win that day. I wish I were stronger.

Two films that I saw recently, both dealing with childhood, brought me to tears. One was a film that I remember first seeing in my early teens, the animated Beatles film "Yellow Submarine" that was first released in 1968, The other was "Won't You Be My Neighbor,?" the new documentary about Fred Rogers, the late host of the long-running, public broadcasting children's program "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." Both films, in their different ways, are eloquent statements of the importance of  love as the glue that holds humanity together. "Love and peace," in the 1960s phrase. This is not merely romantic, sexual love of boy meets girl or girl beckons boy, or boy desires boy or girl goes for girl, but love in the deeper sense of universal brotherhood, the "peace on earth and good will toward men" trumpeted in Christmas carols but known in all or nearly all religions and worldviews as a very important thing indeed.

In "Yellow Submarine," the world is brought to a frozen, deathly state enforced by brutal, fascistic forces known as the "Blue Meanies."  The cartoon Beatles save the world by reviving the frozen, lifeless band, which is an alternate form of the Beatles, that is, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, who then overpower the fascistic Meanies by singing the song, "All You Need is Love."  Now I must admit, there were times when I was younger when I found this song sophomoric, so utterly simplistic in the face of all the complex problems that beset humanity. "Sure, if you have enough to eat and a roof over your head and some measure of security, great to sing about love. How about the poor and the homeless?" But now, in this grim and fearful time when Trump is empowering the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency  as well as local police and sheriffs and others to be true "blue meanies" in ripping apart families and causing irreparable psychological damage not only to young children but to the rest of their families as well, creating trans-generational trauma that will create future problems for these families and others, all for what? For the "sacred," racist purpose of discouraging brown-skinned Latinos from thinking that American society might in any way be open to them. In this time, when Trump continues peddling misleading stereotypes and ranting about how America must be cleansed of unwanted foreigners and immigrants, the Beatles song rings very, VERY true as a very potent response to the sadistic policies and the apparent delight in cruelty of the Trump regime.

We do NOT have to be hateful and cruel toward immigrants, foreigners and refugees. We do NOT have to build walls and imprison people in institutional settings that are just modern versions of concentration camps. We could instead be loving and welcoming to the vast majority of immigrants and refugees who only wish to live in peace with us, to make a new life, to be part of this society.  In this spirit, I applaud all those who are taking up slogans like "Nation of Immigrants" and "Welcome Refugees" and reminding us of the words on the Statue of Liberty. We need that. We need.... love. That is the ultimate weapon against Trump and his minions, to declare that we want to get along, get together, stand together, work together, live together, co-exist and seek the best in one another and in others... and build bridges of common purpose, not walls of fear and hate and menace.

In "Won't You Be My Neighbor," we see that Fred Rogers was not just a simple TV personality, but a moral visionary deeply concerned with the healthy emotional development of children... and society in general. He was an ordained minister, the world was his flock, and he used the medium of television not for fame or profit but as  a form of ministry. He did not make a point of treating children with love and respect and telling them they were special in order to raise little self-centered narcissists, as has sometimes been charged, but because he wanted all people to feel safe and loved that they might grow up to seek a community of love and peace, not aggression and suspicion, one group against another, one race against another, one religion against another. Fred Rogers was rightly appalled by all the mass entertainment that glorifies guns, violence, speed and death, when what human beings really need... is love. Corny? Perhaps. Trite? You could say so. Simplistic? In a way, of course. But as we now live in a time where our country's president and government are enforcing policies reveling in cruelty, discord and aggression, totally lacking in love, except for the narcissistic cult of King Donald, an orange meanie in place of the blue ones prophesied in the Beatles film, Mr. Rogers' invitation to us all to be good neighbors is a very good thing indeed. This is not sappy. This is not a cliche. This is your life raft and survival manual.

We are struggling to stand upright against a disgusting, fecal barrage of hateful misinformation and confusing propaganda dished out daily by the Trump-Putin-Fox News axis that wants nothing more than to foment division and anger so that authoritarian forces can impose  "law and order" with guns and brutality. We should remember John Lennon's advice to never forget to "imagine" a better world, and to play positive "mind games" that can keep us sane and stable even if the world seems to be turning into a sewer. There have been terrible times in the world before, let us not forget, and one of the best things we can possibly do to survive this time and hopefully reach toward a better one in a near or distant future, is to try our best to love each other.

May the spirit of peace and love be with you. May you walk in agape, karuna, ahimsa and frith.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fascist Fourth of July

Dear Friends,

In the last year I have written fewer entries in this blog than in any previous year. The reason is the depression and despair that I feel living in America today and watching with horrified eyes how the ignorant, cruel, pathological bully president Donald Trump is bit by bit succeeding in tearing down and torching so much of what I have always believed in, what I have always hoped could be possible for America, while constructing a new America built on hate, fear, racism, anger, division and confusion. The last week has been especially hard to bear. The recent decisions of the Supreme Court whitewashing his latest version of the Muslim Travel Ban, diminishing the power of labor unions and further restricting Affirmative Action are undoubtedly going to embolden Trump and his hard right cohorts. Did I say "hard right?" I misspoke. The correct term is Fascist. The president is creating Fascism in America, a style of politics and governance that relies on brute force, intimidation, a cult of personality around a charismatic leader, a constant scapegoating of ethnic and religious minorities that is becoming more and more overtly cruel and aggressive, all under the banner of  purported patriotism, which is actually just 1930s style Fascist nationalism wrapped in an American flag.

It would be restful to my downtrodden soul if I could look abroad and find hope in what is happening in other countries, but this is not the case. Though in years past I vigorously opposed German Chancellor Merkel's part in the EU's cruel austerity policies toward Greece, I have come to respect her for standing up for the decent treatment of Muslim migrants entering Europe from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere. I now note with great sadness that she too is now buckling to the anti-immigrant hysteria being generated by right-wing politicians in one European country after another. Hungary... Poland... Czech Republic...Austria...Italy.... one by one they are falling to  right-wing, anti-immigrant, pro-authoritarian leaders and political movements that seem increasingly Fascistic in their priorities and programs. On top of this, Trump's trade wars and obvious hatred of international cooperation are beginning to take a toll on the post-WW II world order. Imperfect as such structures as NATO, the WTO and the EU are, it is hard to imagine that throwing them away will lead to anything more than chaos and mischief. The same leaders who rise to power scapegoating vulnerable minorities in their countries may very well find it tempting to blame the problems of their closed, shrinking and increasingly xenophobic societies on other countries, and then go to war against them as the next act in the hackneyed drama of Fascism. After all, leaders like Trump, who love to glorify the military and strike patriotic poses, and who clearly have little regard for human life, would probably find going to war an attractive means of galvanizing support for their own regimes, should their popularity begin slipping in the polls.

A further fear of mine is that Russia will find it increasingly tempting to interfere in the Baltic States, what with Trump continuing to express scorn for the EU and NATO and to seek warmer relations with Russia. Trump was recently asked about the issue of Crimea, and the president refused to condemn the Russian occupation. So, while calling for a nonsensical, expensive wall on America's border with Mexico, to defend America against a nonexistent, truly "Trumped-up" threat from Mexicans and others, Trump is showing indifference, if not acceptance, of an actual, non-imaginary threat on the borders of Ukraine and Europe.  This once again exposes Trump's intellectual dishonesty, his geopolitical inconsistency and his moral bankruptcy for all to see, but the frightening thing is, some 30-40% of Americans seem willing to follow Trump off any cliff he desires to take them over. It terrifies me that some definite portion of the American population seems to truly enjoy Trump's circus of cruelty. It is like we are back 100 years ago when racist mobs would turn out to watch lynchings as entertainment.

I am 58 years old and this is the darkest time I have seen for America and the world in my lifetime. Until three years ago, I could never have imagined that I would live to see my country and much of the world marching toward a Fascist future. I mus t confess I am finding it hard to summon hope or the will to fight. On this Fourth of July evening, when many Americans are watching patriotic fireworks, I feel only dread at how all the parts of America that seemed worthwhile to me when I was younger now seem to be going the way of those fireworks, being blown up one by one.

As a Pagan, it especially pains me to see how Trump's environmental polices are actually anti-environmental policies, which will only make our world more ugly, more industrialized, more polluted, more unhealthy and more unlivable. Can't his followers see that making our country and the earth more polluted and poisoned will be bad for all of us, regardless of political affiliation? Apparently not. In Trumpian circles, environmentalists are seen as The Enemy just like journalists, civil rights activists, feminists and intellectuals. Ironically, the military establishment in America is well aware that global warming and rising sea levels will have a very negative impact on America's military capability, and that droughts, floods and famines will generate tension and conflict around the world. Yet we hear not a peep from our supposedly patriotic military leaders about the dangers to our nation, our world and our military forces of Trumpian anti-environmentalism. I hope that they will gain some courage to engage in public discussion, but courage seems in short supply these days.

For the first time., I fear that the Ragnarok scenario in Norse myth, which I always took to be a cautionary tale, may indeed be prophetic. We have leaders fomenting ever-greater division and conflict, and a rising risk of environmental collapse in the not very far off future. I dearly hope we will see some sign of hope, some sign that the winds are turning soon. Perhaps the 2018 elections? Perhaps...or perhaps not. I feel like a Nazi-rejecting German in the 1930s, hoping that this Hitler thing will pass, while fearing in my bones that it will not.
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