November 3: The End of Civilization as We Know It (Again)

This isn’t the first time I’ve voted during a pandemic, but it’s the first time I’ve had reason for extra caution. That’s why I voted by mail this year.

The election results will please or disappoint me. Or, more likely, do a bit of both.

And Now, the News in Brief

Tropical storm/hurricane Zeta hit the Gulf Coast. It was 2020’s 28th named storm.

Tropical storm Eta is on its way. Hurricane season doesn’t end until November 30.

The COVID-19 pandemic may or may not be over next year.

As if that wasn’t enough, presidential campaigns are about to end with election day. Followed by — barring a miracle — America’s traditional post-election brouhaha.

Someone will, eventually, get stuck with being America’s president.

America and Elected Officials

Who wins the election matters.

Elected officials have some effect on folks who voted, or didn’t vote, for them.

But the United States of America is much more than the sum of its local, county, state and federal governments.

(Local, parish or borough, and so forth, for Alaska and Louisiana. And that’s another topic.)

Mere Anarchy and Echo Chambers

Internet friends, real people.Experts, anonymous and otherwise, keep warning about the dangers of social media.

Apparently we’re living in echo chambers, exposed to nothing but opinions matching our own.

I must be doing something wrong.

Folks with opinions that aren’t even close to mine routinely contribute to my social media feeds.

I’ve read warnings against the fascist who’s been campaigning. And dire warnings of what shall transpire, if the antichrist gets elected.

No matter who wins, some folks I rub elbows with online will be disappointed. Previous experience tells me that I’ll be tripping over sentiments like the ones Yeats expressed:

“…Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world….
…The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity….”
(“The Second Coming,” W. B. Yeats (1919))

Whoever gets the Oval Office job, I figure it’ll be the end of civilization as we know it.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It’s a Changing World

The last real-world equivalent of your standard post-apocalyptic movie scenario was the Late Bronze Age Collapse. That was a tad over three millennia back now.

The Black Death, maybe, although we didn’t end up with abandoned cities. Depopulated villages, yes. Cities, no. And that’s yet another topic.

I’ve noticed that change happens.

The world I grew up in didn’t have the Internet. Folks I knew didn’t have telephones.

Space travel was science fiction until my teens, and nobody had landed on Earth’s moon until after I graduated from high school.

“She’s smart as a man” was supposed to be a compliment in my good old days. Which aren’t, happily, coming back.

I think some of the recent half-century’s changes have been for the better. Some haven’t.

I’m pretty sure the next half-century will be the same. Except for how it’s different.

Prayers

Prayer is a good idea. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 25662567)

I’ve added the following “Prayer for Our Country” to my daily routine.

I figured the prayers were appropriate before the election, and will be after the votes are counted.

Maybe it’s an obvious point, but I’ll make it anyway. The prayers as written are for groups. I changed pronouns like “we” and “our” to “I” and “my” where appropriate.

“Prayer for Our Country

“Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present our country to You. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom which has been its heritage.

“Grant us peace, and may all citizens respect one another. May the Holy Spirit give our President wisdom to lead our country in ways that are pleasing to You.

“Enlighten our Congress and civic leaders and instill in them knowledge and understanding to enact laws that protect the sanctity of life — from the unborn to the elderly;and promote the good of all people.

“Make all of us aware of our responsibility as citizens to uphold the principles of life, liberty justice and equality.

“Send Your Holy Spirit upon our beloved country. Make us people of faith in time of uncertainty. Make us people of hope in times of trouble. Make us people of compassion with those who are less fortunate. Make us people of peace in our homes, our communities, our country and our world. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

(From a handout at Parishes on the Prairie Area Catholic Community; Our Lady of the Angels, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.)

Short Prayers

The handout had five prayers, so it should have been “prayers.” But that’s nitpicking.

“Prayer for Our Country — continued

“O Jesus! Divine Savior! Be merciful, be merciful to us and to the whole world. Amen.”

“Powerful God! Holy God! Immortal God! Have compassion on us and upon the whole world. Amen.”

“Grace and Mercy, my Jesus, during the present danger! Shield us with Thy Precious Blood. Amen.”

“Eternal Father, show us mercy in the name of the Precious Blood of Thy only Son; show us mercy we implore Thee. Amen.”

(From a handout at Parishes on the Prairie Area Catholic Community; Our Lady of the Angels, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.)

“It May Be the End of Civilization as We Know It”


(Dik Browne’s “Hagar the Horrible” (February 25, 1973))

I’ll indulge in the occasional nostalgic thought.

But my memory is too good for me to yearn for the “good old days” of my youth. And I know too much history to imagine that any of our golden ages would hold up to close inspection. That’s yet again another topic, for another day.

I think today’s America is a pretty good place to live. Even during election years.

And I’m sure we can do better. I’ve talked about that before:

About Brian H. Gill

I'm a sixty-something married guy with six kids, four surviving, in a small central Minnesota town. I mostly write and make digital art. I'm only interested in three things: that which exists within the universe; that which exists beyond; and that which might exist.
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1 Response to November 3: The End of Civilization as We Know It (Again)

  1. God bless you and your family.

Thanks for taking time to comment!