Friday, October 05, 2007

Exuberant Contradictions

Reading James Fallows' essay Countdown to a Meltdown within a few days of listening to a news story on the radio made me think about the exuberant contradiction that America is. One the one hand Amish families forgive and mourn the man who killed their innocent children. On the other, epic wars are wages half way across the globe against an unsubstantiated enemy in the name of displacing dictatorship and sowing the seeds of democracy.

Back home, instead of regurgitating the events of 9/11 on its anniversary each year and making a media spectacle of grief, some people have turned the day into something much more meaningful.

"It was the worst possible day imaginable, and in some ways, a remarkable day, too, in the way in which people responded," says David Paine, co-founder of "We need to rekindle the way we came together in the spirit of 9/11: It would be almost as much a tragedy to lose that lesson."

Sept. 11 has inspired dozens of philanthropic efforts – from groups dedicated to building memorials to foundations designed to improve education in the Middle East. But myGoodDeed has a more universal goal: to turn 9/11 into a day dedicated to doing good – from small, simple things like Lisa Scheive's pledge to help stranded turtles cross the road in Pompano Beach, Fla., to lifesaving efforts, such as John Feal's decision in New York to donate one of his kidneys to help a seriously ill 9/11 worker.

The more ethnically and culturally diverse a country, the more contrariness there is in how people react to what happens in their world. Way back in July 2005, Fallows had predicted among many other things the sharply weakening dollar and the sub prime mortgage crisis. There are the Tom Friedmans and the Michael Moores screaming blue murder from the roof-tops and then there those who are in complete denial of the apocalypse that is waiting to happen to America - often with reasons as compelling as those of Fallows, Friedman et al.

That is contrariness too and probably this country's strongest dragnet for anyone who has ever wanted to hear the establishment and its rainbow coalition of opponents equally loud and clear.

1 comment:

ggop said...

Thank you for introducing me to the essays of Fallows.
You may enjoy Jim Kunstler's Clusterf*** Nation though he is way more alarmist than most others on the coming collapse of America.