Thursday, September 22, 2011

Change is the Only Constant

Change is the Only Constant

If you have any perspective in life at all, you will know that the only thing we can count on is change; but if you know anything about human nature, it's that we fight change more than anything else. That's pretty generalized, I realize. But pick any subject. Let's say how long does a country last? And how much does a country change throughout its history? A quick and easy example is the Roman Empire, which spanned a few hundred years before Christ and a few hundred years after Christ...some say it lasted a thousand years. But the early Roman Empire was hardly like the Holy Roman Empire. I don't know how many Caesars there were, but Rome went from being a country that conquered the known world, to one that persecuted Christians, to one that became Christian and persecuted non-Christians.

Again, this is all very generalized and oversimplified. But eventually Rome fell to the newest barbarians, and when it did, boy did the world go into a tailspin! Along came the dark ages (the middle ages) and over the centuries, people forgot about ancient Rome, lost all track of the prior great civilizations, and soon knew nothing but the life of serf and master and the Church.

It really wasn't until the printing press that a glimmer of light shone in the darkness. The printing press was invented in the Holy Roman Empire by the German Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 a.d. That's one thousand, four hundred, forty years after the death of Christ. Since then, only 571 years have passed. But look at how much things have changed since then. Countries formed in Europe out of the ancient tribes. In fact, countries rose and fell. Britain ruled the world at some point during this time, when it could be said that "the sun never set on the British empire," but in the measurement of time, it ruled a very short time. The New World was discovered in the fourteen hundreds, but by the early 17th century, Europeans began settling the new world, led first by Spain in the late fourteen hundreds, followed by France and England in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds, and in the new world (mainly North America) we had a period of colonization that lasted from 1607 (Jamestown) to the late seventeen hundreds, when part of North America lurched into a country. The colonial period lasted about three hundred years—longer than the United States of America, which is now considered to be about 235 years old.

Long introduction, but the point is the United States of America is a toddler by world country standards, and yet it is changing rapidly. America's century was the nineteen hundreds, which followed the westward expansion in the eighteen hundreds. Our Constitution is only from May 25, 1787 till today, makes it only 224 years old. And yet, in the twenty-first century, there has been a nefarious movement by mainly fundamentalist Christians to claim and teach that the Constitution is a Christian-based document. There are even those (sorry to say) that claim that the "Constitution" under glass in Washington, DC, is a forgery. There is a movement to undermine this greatest of all man-made and conceived documents, to muddy the history of the Constitution, to claim that, of all people, Thomas Jefferson was a Christian. While it is true that he was a Diest and no doubt nodded respectfully to Christ and Christianity, the whole point of the religion-based colonies was to escape religious persecution in Europe, and the founding fathers were adamant about framing a document that separated Church and State. 

So we only got a couple hundred years of our unsullied Constitution before its very founding principles are being systematically used to tighten a religious grip on it.

And in our 225 year history, we've gone from holding slaves to freeing slaves, and in just the last fifty years, we've gone from being an industrial nation to being a non-industrialized nation. We've gone from importing our goods to making our own, and back to importing our goods. Everything, it seems, is made in China and, now, we can't even make our own toothpaste. Oh, we can, but we've gone from having American companies based in the United States to global companies, with some based in the United States but no longer beholding to the United States. These global corporations have become "too big to fail," too big to be loyal to the United States, alone; and if they don't like the labor climate in the United States, they simply shift their work to cheaper markets elsewhere. We invented television, but we no longer have an American television manufacturer—unless it is a foreign-owned company with a factory in the United States.

So, if someone has enough perspective, it is easy to see that what made America, America, is not what it is today. And it is not inconceivable that a great convulsion can make the United States come to an end. No country is immune from falling. If you have enough perspective, you have to realize that there might come a day when what was the United States splinters into regional countries, as the Soviet Union did. Let's see, Rick Perry could become President of Texas, Michelle Bachmann could become President of the United Midwest States...New Mexico could be reabsorbed into Old Mexico (that's not a very far leap of imagination, since most people in North American think it's not part of the United States, anyway). And for sure, Alaska could become it's own country. It certainly has enough resources to industrialize.

And as Linda Ellerbee says, "And so it goes..."

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