Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Change is in the Air

A dull banging creates background noise. I sit in my family room wrapped in a blanket, gazing at bare branches outside the window. It is fall, the weather crisper, colder, darker each day. 

A house in the process of
being raised.
The hammering is outside, behind my house. Developers purchased a house for sale and tore down the old brick home, in disrepair but I suspect with wonderful innards. But that is not how things work nowadays. It took only a couple of days for the house to disintegrate into a pile of rubble. A few days later concrete displaced earth and two homes began emerging. 

Change is in the air. Walking around our neighborhood a variety of homes meet the eye, most built around the middle of the 20thcentury – our home in 1949. The house catty-corner to ours was constructed earlier, in the 19-teens, a Sears catalog home. Most were, and many still are, summer dwellings.

The landscape is transforming. It began in earnest following

Superstorm Sandy, homes destroyed replaced by bigger ones. Houses have been raised, creating the illusion of largeness as they soar three stories high – ground level garage and storage, a two-story house above.

Change is not always cultivated or wanted. Sometimes we tenaciously fight change. 

I think one of the reasons the man in the White House emerged victorious is because he cued into people’s fear of change and impending doom. 

The end of the 20thcentury and beginning of the 21stushered in a period of doom, a common occurrence at such momentous historical times. The start of a new century is ripe for quacks, religious nuts and end-of-world believers.

Unfortunately the pessimism and sense of disaster hit our political life hard. The seeds were always there, occasionally appearing in a dark corner of the web or a social hall or church, but not tenaciously sowed – until the 1990s. Newt Gingrich and his band of merry men decided compromise was a bad thing, the opposition always wrong and not just misguided, but awful people. Talking heads like Rush Limbaugh nurtured the seeds, demonizing the opposition, throwing out lies. When exposed, he shrugged his shoulders, said, “Oh, sorry,” and went ahead to throw someone else under the bus. The damage was done, the lie out there. It would not die and he knew it. 

Change was occurring at a speed too fast for many to process. And change can be frightening. It makes people pull the blanket over their heads and instinctively react negatively. No change, thank you, all is fine the way it is.

It was in this atmosphere The Man descended from his gilded tower, observed the insecurity and fear in people’s eyes and assured them, “Follow me, I will rescue you. The Others are bad people, nasty people. I can save you.”

Many believed, and the man earnestly cultivated those seeds. George W. Bush said,

You can fool some of the people all the time, 
and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. 

Each day I awaken to renewed disappointment. I sigh. When will it end? How many laws and regulations sustaining the fabric of our society must be destroyed before people realize the man has, as the saying goes, thrown out the baby with the bath water? 

You can fool all the people some of the time, 
and some of the people all the time, 
but you cannot fool all the people all the time. 
-      Abraham Lincoln

Whether we like it or not, embrace it or disdain it, change happens. The political pendulum swings back and forth, we cannot stop it. It shifted to the far right, now temporarily poised, immobile, but will begin moving once again. 

Spring is not quite around the corner, but I look forward to warmer and brighter weather and viewing bright green leaves and white flowers from my window again. 

I have to believe political change in the form of sanity (as sane as any political system can be) will come about. Eventually.


  1. I hope you are right, Meryl. I am one of those who wishes I could just hide from it all, but I am hopeful when I look at all those women who will be in the House of Representatives come January.