MANATEE COUNTY, FL – Diane Farmer shook her head, “The whole country is going crazy.” And she’s probably right – if not the whole country then surely the part of it that most of us occupy.
Farmer made her comments just days after President Donald J. Trump was indicted on 37 counts of felony wrong-doing- 31 of them pertaining to willfully – and inappropriately – retaining national defense information.
That particular indictment joins a list of other accusations and legal challenges that range from fiddling with the national election system, disenfranchising entire communities of people of color and sexually assaulting a woman in the dressing room of a luxury department store in Manhattan.
And all that is taking place at the same time that 4-year-old kids are being bullied into gender dysphoria, when the same kids are hearing library story hour tales read by men wearing high heels and lipstick, and when physically female athletes are being beaten on the playing field by men in disguise.
It is also taking place when at least one gerontologist claims that the sitting President is in the throes of serious dementia and when his family – particularly his son – is accused of stuffing millions into their bank accounts by peddling political clout and who knows what else to not-so-good guys all over the planet.
Millennials and GenZers love to say that there is not much difference between these surreal days than the ones we instigated in the 1960s when we refused to trust anyone over 30 – except for the fellow who told us to “Turn on, Tune In and Drop Out” – made bonfires out of undergarments and draft cards, and occupied ivy-covered college and university buildings in distinctly non-academic ways.
We did all that, for sure. But make no mistake, here is no similarity between those days and this.
Back then the only people who were perplexed by those goings on were those from the generation that preceded ours. And even they were not totally disenfranchised by our outbursts.
These days, the entire country is divided and drowning in bitterness and loathing.
Each side is delighted when the other is taunted, or tortured or teased to the point of violence.
There’s room for ridicule, but none for common ground.
And in the end, none of it has to do with who stored which records where or the real identity of the Big Guy. It has nothing to do with who’s going to be who in the 2024 Oval Office run, and nothing to do with whose computer is packed with smut – sexual or otherwise – or whether AI is going to make it all irrelevant in a few years.
It has to do with us. And none of us – on either side of the socio-political fence – knows what to do next.
But Farmer had an idea.
“The riots are going to start any minute,” she said.
Oh I hope she was only kidding.