Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Inside-Out, Upside-Down and Backwards

Here I am in my subterranean laboratory crawling into the time-travel machine. I have the dial set to 1933. And away I go.

What’s this? I haven’t moved. There must by a loose fan belt on the flywheel in the manifold. The world is standing on its head. I’m having geo-political vertigo.

I crawl out to find that Germany is the land of the free welcoming one million wretched refugees, tired and poor, to its teeming shores. The center for dissent and daring, imaginative art is centered in Berlin. Angela Merkel, the Christian Democrat, is challenged only by a more left-wing candidate, Martin Schultz. Deutschland, with no military, prospers. (What a concept). They are the beacon of liberal democracy in the world with demilitarized Japan running second. Russia has gone outlaw with its crony Capitalism.

New Europe is reverting to old Europe. Their colonials have come home to roost from Pakistan and India to the U.K. and from North Africa to France. Fictitious countries carved from the Turkey at Versailles are painfully redrawing their own borders.  

And here is France teetering on the verge of quasi-Fascism. Great Britain has left Europe. A dumb and angry Populism poisons the map. The working class is on the right and enlightened professionals (that’s me) are allied with bankers and institutions in the center-left. Is that Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie singing, Heartland, Heartland, Uber Alles? There is nothing left of the left. Karl Marx is standing on his head looking more like Groucho.

The United States is building a wall. Is it to keep out Mexicans or keep in Americans? The Statue of Liberty is beyond its statute of limitations. We are expelling those with undocumented hands having picked illegal lettuce. How can this happen, people are asking. How can the former citadel of democracy, center of great minds such as (give me a minute) be replaced by Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly. How can a nation which landed on the moon now land in the rubbish bin? The Art of the Deal is required reading. It is our only art.

Whom do I call for time machine repair? Costco won’t accept the return. Alas, History is not under warranty. We seem to be at the station demanding that trains run on time instead of wondering where we are bound. Having paid no attention to the past are we doomed to repeat it with a new cast of players? The next time I time-travel I better dial up 1860 or 1776 when nothing happened.

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