The Fire Next Time?

One of the great problems in U.S. politics is the way our fairly (and increasingly) parochial interests are hitched to a global hegemonic power.

We fight like hell to elect the person with the “right” bedroom politics. Meanwhile, the rest of the world anxiously waits to see who’ll be managing the alliances and the all-important “nuclear button.”

In a conversation yesterday, a friend compared our current political situation to a forest fire: it’s hot and scary now, but necessary to clear out the choked and choking underbrush and deadwood.

I largely agree. But I also can’t forget that the president, even if he or she is elected based on his or her views on a particular wedge issue, legally controls the most powerful military (and nuclear arsenal) in the world.

Our current cultural conflagration might well make way for new growth and rebirth. But it’s hard to watch without also having your heart in your mouth, wishing there was some way to take the truly irrevocable instruments off the table while we make our way through the fire.