In any way you care to measure it, 2020 has been a year for the record books. If people’s “spider sense” is any indication, many of us think 2021 is bound to bring even more shock and awe to the world and the approximate 7.8 billion human beings who inhabit the planet.

People talk about looking in the rear-view mirror for a perspective, but perhaps we need to get in an airplane and adopt a 20,000 foot view to get a high-definition perspective.

Years ago I wrote a book called The Deep Sleep in which I postulated a definition of evil as follows: Domination = Evil, More Domination = More Evil, and Total Domination = Total Evil

I think this is still a non-political way to look at the world, and – using this definition – we are in the midst of total evil.

It’s astounding to me that literally everything has become politicized in the USA. The left-right paradigm has driven wedges into every corner of every debate, and former neighbors are becoming enemies who are distrusted for holding an opposing view. The scripture “perfect love casts out all fear” has been inverted to become “perfect fear casts out all love.”

Former CIA director William Casey is widely quoted as having said that “we’ll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American people believe is a lie.” I think we are there.

As a former newspaper man with a journalism degree from that left-leaning University of Kansas, I perceive that our traditional media has veered sharply to “the left” and abandoned any semblance of balance. Social media has taken over the world, and the concept of truth (or even discourse and disagreement) has given way to heavy-handed censorship in which any view except the official one is quashed.

The astounding power of group think, a hidden and purposeful shaping of public opinion, and the human nature to “get along” have sent us reeling down a totalitarian rabbit-hole in which there is no easy exit.

The pandemic has created conditions under which the oft-repeated mantra of “never let a good crisis go to waste” has been fully realized.

We have surrendered our God-given (and inalienable) rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to some nebulous promise of safety. We are – in 2020 – living in some dystopian cross between Orwell’s 1984, the movie V for Vendetta and Stanley Kubric’s movie A Clockwork Orange.

That last lines of my book were a collective plea to “Wake Up.” That’s still my hope for humanity, as we fight to awaken from a deep sleep.

And to close with another airplane metaphor: “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts and return your seat backs and tables to an upright position. We are entering into an area of heavy atmospheric disturbance and anticipate a significant amount of turbulence.” 

Tim Erickson

Chanute

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