In nature, the shortest day of the year is the Winter Solstice. This means that every day after the Winter Solstice, the days are getting longer.
This doesn’t necessarily translate to things getting warmer, or nicer, but it does mean that, in a sense, the turning point of the new year happens just as most people think that things are bleakest.
Similarly, in the Summer, every day after the Summer Solstice is a decline–even though we think about this being the time of our greatest joy and pleasure. But it’s not. Summer is a sinking ship.
But the people who think that Winter is death don’t work in gardens. Gardeners know that harvest time is really a celebration of death, whereas it’s in the comparative dark and cold of early spring that life begins.
But maybe this hidden wisdom isn’t just applicable to dirt. Maybe the great rises and falls of civilization aren’t rises and falls, but rather the echoes of those things, identified as happening only after they really did.
The stock market often works this way. The world sees Bitcoin* rise in price and sees an investment opportunity, but who can say which solstice we’ve just passed? Was it the one heralding life, or the one heralding death?
It’s been remarked that the triumph of Donald Trump may eventuate the same buyer’s remorse that Democrats felt after putting Jimmy Carter in office. Perhaps.
Trump’s entrance into the political garden certainly heralded something. A tax plan unpopular with 2/3rds of Americans certainly means that there are a lot of Republicans not happy about it. Whither the party of Mitt Romney, Jack Kemp, and Paul Ryan?
At some point in the last few years, the Republican Party looks a whole lot less like Calvin Coolidge and a whole lot more like Bill Clinton. Perhaps it was the changing of gravity from the West to the Old South of the heart of the Republican Party. Perhaps it was country music and NASCAR and third marriages.
There was a time where the Republican Party, I think, looked a lot like an adult surround by Democrat teenagers complaining about how unfair everything is. Republican Policies would be well-thought out, fiscally prudent, and based on the principle that people should be free to earn, live, and spend how they want without too much government interference.
I would not define the Republican Party of 2017 in those terms. It looks an awful lot more like an ant, who, frustrated at having to pay to support the grasshopper, says “screw it,” quits his job and looks for some other sucker to support them both.
There is no appetite for responsibility in America. Students given the opportunity to learn don’t. Adults given the opportunity to work, don’t. Workers given the opportunity to save, don’t.
For as much as both the Left and Right want to return to the 1950’s (strong unions, WASP values), we can’t have that any more than we can have Scandinavian welfare state-ness.
Scandinavia has hard-working, thrifty, virtue-minded citizens who are not, largely, looking for a handout they don’t deserve. Neither were 1950’s Americans.
60 years later? Eh…
People get the government we deserve. We get a venal, disheveled, incompetent government because that’s who we are.
For right now.
Maybe this is the turning point. Maybe this is rock bottom. Maybe we’re seeing the cold and forgetting to measure if it’s getting lighter every day or darker.
*Sigh. The most frustrating thing about the future is the inability to tell tulips from Apples…