Philadelphia, Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
5:30 PM Eastern
I've been meditating on our country's fate as I work with my friends here in Philadelphia, birthplace of the American Republic - which is today in its day of greatest jeopardy.
I take solace in two things: faith in the collective judgment of the American people when they are told the truth so as to be believed, and the principles of nonlinear dynamics.
I've been reading and re-reading the very great book "Chaos, Gaia, Eros" by Ralph Abraham, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at UC Santa Cruz. Its central arguments never been more clearly evident to me than they are now. In particular how the Chaos Revolution in mathematics has gifted the social sciences with its key insight: that immense effects suddenly come from an accumulation of small causes, once any complex system in a deceptive state of apparent stability nears its "tipping point".
In the last two years, we have seen an American government that enriches the rich and takes away from the poor, that is both corrupt and incompetent, that does nothing to avert the looming catastrophe called "Global Warming", that condones torture and illegal detention of Americans without trial while sacrificing the bravest and most honorable amongst us - and a colossal fortune - to wage an endless, unprovoked war we entered under false pretences. A government which through its unchecked dogmatic extremism is now feared and reviled worldwide by our former allies and friends. Instead of winning the war of ideas fundamental to defusing global terrorism, our foreign policies inflame the vast and moderate majority of Islam to the benefit of our sworn enemies.
How did such a dangerous and corrupt equilibrium state of "one-party politics to the extreme" so far from the American mainstream become so firmly entrenched?
I'm not the only one to ask that question. In the last two years the stability of the one-party state within the American political system has begun to shake - ever so slightly, at first. Signs it was losing its stranglehold were subtle at first, but redoubled more and more in the last two years given Katrina, Iraq, financial mismanagement, corruption, hypocritical scapegoating of the most unpopular members of society, and scandal upon sordid scandal. More and more people of all political persuasions have finally come to understand the relationship between corrupted elections and corrupt policies. Comedians now make - and their audiences now laugh at - jokes whose sole premise is the secret theft of our elections. This is all an unmistakable sign that the Great Denial is finally collapsing.
And yet the clear and overwhelming collective judgment that we must rid ourselves of extremist one-party government unworthy of its own people and its former reputation in the world, instead of being redeemed as it should be, is about to be thwarted.
The consequences will be unimaginable.
The transition to "explosive bifurcation" - as Professor Abraham would put it - the point at which dramatically new and unexpected behaviors will suddenly emerge within the complex system we call American politics - all of them unpredictable by mere extrapolation of past trends - is before us, today, right now.
The one-party state has outlived its manufactured mandate, but it remains intent on spinning the illusion of power that will enable it to retain indefinite control safely out of reach of the mandate of the people. Once that line is crossed, the third transition of nonlinear dynamics will be triggered: the "catastrophic bifurcation" that brings sudden, total transformation to a complex and unstable system; in this case, the utter replacement of one form of politics as usual with an entirely different one.
We shall see what we shall see.
What do you want the transformation to be?
Bruce O'Dell is a self-employed information technology consultant with more than twenty five years experience who applies his broad technical expertise to his work as an election integrity activist.
His current consulting practice centers on (more...)