Monday, July 17, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Parallel Universes?

When I was younger, I read a lot of science fiction and went to
science fiction movies; I watched “Star Trek’ on TV, and
absorbed the futuristic notions and lingo of this popular genre.
I’m old enough now to be amazed by how much the best science
fiction has predicted the real world we now live in.

I didn’t buy two concepts, however. One was time travel,
especially travel back in time (theoretically, if a person
traveled in a space craft fast enough, they could go forward in
time). The other was parallel universes or different realities,
side by side, in space and time.

I’m ready to throw in the towel on my credulity on the latter.
I think I have discovered it right here where I live in the
summer of 2017.

In fact, the United States of America, once considered
“indivisible” (and it fought a brutal Civil War to keep it that
way) is now a living, walking and shouting nation of parallel

Can political science devolve into science fiction? Apparently,
for millions of Americans it can, and has done so. The election
of Donald Trump in November, 2016 sent a shock wave through
the American political psyche. Profound political trauma has
happened before --- in 1860 when Abe Lincoln was elected, and
in 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was inaugurated.
It also occurred, to a degree, when John Kennedy was 
assassinated in 1963, and when Ronald Reagan revived the
conservative movement in the 1980s.     

Living side by side in the cities, small towns, suburbs and 
farms of America, the adult population is living in two very
distinct worlds. Years from now, Americans might have
difficulty imagining this. Not only are U.S. folks living side
by side, even in one family in some instances, they appear to 
interact in conversation and commerce.

But don’t be fooled. They live in very different universes.
Those who voted for, still like and approve of President Trump
have a different consciousness of space and time than those
who didn’t vote for him, don’t like him and strongly disapprove
of the profound changes his administration is making.

There are also two parallel sets of media. The establishment
media, concentrated in three TV networks, some aging big
city newspapers, many national magazines, and a few cable
networks have devolved into virtually being totally anti-Trump.
One major TV network, The Wall Street Journal and some
smaller newspapers and national magazines, other cable
networks, op ed columnists and conservative radio talk show
hosts with huge audiences continue to explain, defend and
cheer on the president. In the past, many Americans read and
tuned into both media universes. That has virtually
disappeared today.

What is to be done? I have not the slightest idea. Captain Kirk is
a Canadian, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard is an Englishman, so
they can be of no help. Spock would be completely at a loss
since he has no human emotions. Worf is a Klingon --- need any
more be said? Modern medicine, on the other hand, is enabling
us to live longer, and the stock market is prospering.

Getting the two parallel universes together will be quite a trek.
When and how (and if) they meet again lies ahead. Meanwhile,
Americans are living in the summer of parallel universes.

We will meet again, but who knows when?

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved


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