Years ago, while living in difficult circumstance, I wrote a book called The Boy. It was about a kid living in pre-historic times under difficult circumstances, but it was also a book about discovery. As I’d been able to travel to over a hundred countries prior to writing the book, I came to the pre-history presentation with a huge body of modern life experience. The anthropology of the story is only valid based upon the known facts about what ethnological studies and archaeological discoveries have yielded, the rest was created using imaginative bridges to cover those areas where actual evidence was unavailable. Incidental to the presentation of the boy and his travails in dealing with his own difficult circumstances, was an imagined understanding of what it must have been like to live in a small geographic area for one’s entire life, and sometime during that life to discover that the ‘world’ as you had come to know it was actually a series of seemingly unending worlds beyond.
In the book these ‘unending’ worlds are portrayed as additional canyons rippling out from the central canyon where the boy and his tribe have their village. The shock of discovering the actual scope of these new lands and foreign cultures was potentially so devastating to the fabric of the tribe that the hunters had to form a secret society of men to keep the secret. Until the boy, who was foolishly left out of the hunter society, came along and through his own travels found, and then revealed, the big secret. The tribe could cry, wail and tear its hair, but could never again go back to a time when it believed it was the whole world, the only world.
How is any of this relevant in our world of today? The United States consists of two very large tribal groups. One tribe lives clustered in small geographic regions called cities. The other tribe is spread out across the huge rural areas of the country. Those two tribes do not get along well, however, they have come together over the past two-hundred-and-forty-one years to form a stable and successful country. In fact, they came together to form the single most stable and successful country in all of history. That country attempted to be the only country, the only world, unto itself for many years. The existence of other countries was never denied, partly because most of the members of the American country had come in from those other countries. Those foreign places were recognized as being there, and were even traded with. Until WWI came along. And then WWII followed. The United States was forced by difficult circumstances to not only recognize the other ‘worlds’ on the planet, but to accommodate, communicate and work with them on a daily basis. Those countries, by starting and participating in world wars, had proven that the United States could not withdraw and go back to its old isolationist way of mildly ignoring them except for the trade of some goods and services.
The United States changed on January 20th of 2017. Through a metamorphosis of long-standing anti-urban and anti-other worlds belief system, the country through their democratic votes, was chosen to be dominated by a man cut from their cloth, or the way they came to see him as being cut from their cloth. That he was from New York City, the largest urban area of the country, and married for the third time to a much younger beauty queen, emigrated from a foreign land, seemed to matter not. The fact is that this man promised to pull America back from the deadly threat of urbanization (where crime, drugs, gun violence and death are supposed to reside in a communicable fashion), and accepting and dealing with those other worlds beyond America’s borders. Even countries like Mexico and Canada, close allies for many years, would be pushed back and out, as if they never existed.
In the book The Boy, the boy’s revelations to the tribe as a whole, about the results of his discoveries while traveling, changed the fabric of the tribe’s culture. There was no going back to not knowing, and the secret cabal of the warrior clan was forever broken.
Quite possibly that conclusion was the most fictional part of the book. What is happening in the ‘modern’ world of America is nothing more or less than an attempt to retreat back into an existence where those other humans, cultures, societies and countries no long exist, for all intents and purposes. Withdrawing from NATO, building a Great Wall of China along the country’s southern border, and barring other religions from entering the U.S. (under the 1984 guise of guarding the country against terrorists), puts the meaning of where the current leader’s slogan came from directly in focus. The America First Committee, just prior to WWII perfectly mirrored the principals set forth by the America First movement espoused by the current president. The Jews in America should have been smart enough to realize that they risked themselves by supporting America throwing in with Europe to fight the Nazi regime. Even today America First proponents (Jerry Falwell being one of the ardent leaders) celebrate the movements success in causing the country to drag its feet before entering the war, thereby causing a whole lot more Russians to die than U.S. troops.
We found out about the other worlds out there. We can’t unfind them. They are there and they have not only much more size and combined strength, but they have nuclear weapons too. America’s cities are not going to be dissembled and returned to pastoral farm communities.
What is the price of hiding from the real facts and accepting the newly coined alternate facts? That acceptance of alternate facts is cowardice. And the price of cowardice is always the same, win or lose, stay or run. The price is a defeat of the human spirit.
~ James Strauss
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