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Something Really Bad Has To Happen?

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"Things have to get a lot worse for people to get out of their comfort zones and really do something," someone put it a couple of days ago. Nearly everyone at the table round which a bunch of us sipped coffee and socialized post exercises at the Y nodded in agreement. I've witnessed this scenario a thousand times.

Seriously?? How much worse? Like a nuclear war worse? Like a plague worse? Both real possibilities if current trends of hardening fascism continue unabated. True enough, history bulges with chronicles of degenerated rulerships succumbing to revolutionaries, but never without terrible loss of life and community. Over time technologies of warfare enabled rulers to hang on longer and longer, but never in the end to prevail. Those technologies are now so sophisticated, and so available to both oppressed and oppressors, that the latter can threaten mutually assured destruction like never before. They can plausibly threaten to wage chemical, biological and even nuclear guerrilla warfare ("terrorism") as leverage for their survival. Unintentionally, they incur diseases at a rate already threatening to assume plague proportions that can quickly engulf the planet.

In the face of such threats, global power elites show no signs of adapting in any fashion other than to protect the wealth and status of their ruling classes by any means necessary. Not so long ago, one of our own most prominent military leaders was not just willing but eager to risk nuclear winter if Cuba would not remove its Russian missiles. Fortunately, the president and his other close advisers at the time found his enthusiasm horrifying. Would that be true today?

So how bad must it get? Bad to the point that people's "getting it" becomes irrelevant? Can we not "get it" based on predictions of disaster? Does the dam actually have to break before we take control of it and rebuild it? What fun it might be to resurrect the joy of real connection with others, and other ancient habits that made us mentally, emotionally and physically strong! Are we up to it?

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David Weiner received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1964 and subsequently taught at SUNY/Buffalo and The University of Houston, where he received a Teaching Award. He currently teaches community college (more...)

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