Monday, March 7, 2022

The Shape of it All

Living under the Trump / Putin shadow for the past five years has changed my perception of the geometry of history, if indeed, there is one. I used to think, in broad terms, of a bumpy, irregular but nevertheless linear progression. It now seems more cyclic.

An argument could be made to demonstrate both progress and regression. For every act of higher consciousness there is a counterweight of democracy’s failure. Unarticulated and misunderstood fear of accelerated change has led to angry dislocations. Those amorphous grievances have found a home in mindless mobs and incipient fascism, American style.

If the Repugnants had their way we might revert to 1912 when Senators were elected by State legislators, there was no federal income tax nor did women have the vote. The party of suppression and obstruction could become the party of unraveling. 

Yet Russian truculence and the carnage in Ukraine have been met by universal outrage. Implicit in this condemnation is the sense that we have moved on, that nations just don’t behave like that anymore. Yet they do.

Furthermore, many of us, having lived through the insanity of Hitler and Stalin, wonder if this aggression is not a reenactment of the devastating war we witnessed eighty years ago. History, like barbequed beef, repeats itself.

Advances in technology are indisputable even if their consequences are barely understood. The geometry in that area is certainly onward ever upward.

However, given the fragility of our planet with deranged actors and unthinkable weaponry, I am thrown out the straight vertical into the morass of a squishy, monstrous circle leading back to ancient territorial destruction.  

I would like to believe Trump's demagoguery and Putin’s bellicosity might be the last gasps of inhumanity but I need more convincing. My jury is deadlocked.

As a kid we used to watch movies with no regard for when they started. Realtime history seems to be on that same continuous loop. Enter at any point and walk out when it gets to feel familiar.




  1. A friend of mine who was born in 1965 ask if she should be worried by Putin's nuclear saber rattling. I said that we should have always been worried but that, as a 10 year old in 1962, the Cuban Missle Crisis seemed scarier to me. As you so perfectly point out, it is all about perspective. Turn off the news and all is well. Pay attention to everything that is going on and it has always been bad for someone. Another great post. Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Stephanie. Whatever the shape of history may be the membrane appears to be more permeable and our hold more fragile.

  3. Norm, you have accurately written what many American citizens are thinking. It's a shame that demigods set out to destroy our world all for their own vanity and wish to control every aspect of society. Ukraine is just the beginning! They have to suffer at the hands of that Russian maniac and why, because he can. Hitler attempted to destroy and annihilate the Jewish people because he felt in his arrogance that they were beneath him. That was bad enough but now we have two Hitlers!

    1. It seems that their unconscionable acts happen because they have managed or muzzled social media.

  4. Another insightful Norm’s Norms.