Progress! (Are we progressing?)


Newspapers and TV are full of stories about people in all of life’s situations, many of them violent. Increasingly, it seems to me, that people resort to violence to settle their differences. Almost all police carry guns and use them more often than in previous years. Guns are not only more available for sale, but more people carry them openly (read Texas). Gangs shoot each other daily some place in the country. The rest of us are being told that people need to manage their own security.

For example, as I was driving home from the gym this morning, another driver wanted to get in my lane by pushing me out. When I simply kept driving, he had to get in behind me. When I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw an absolutely enraged man. Face contorted in anger, fists shaking, arms waving, mouth moving violently spewing out words I didn’t want to hear. Fortunately, he was able to get around and two cars in front of me where he rode in the line for several miles until I turned off. This is not an unusual occurrence (though fortunately it is for me).

In current presidential politics Donald Trump is constantly belittling and insulting opponents. Bernie Sanders assaults his Democratic opponent, growing more violent with time. After the Democratic party meeting in Nevada over the past weekend his supporters disrupted the proceedings with violent behavior; throwing furniture and threatening opponents. And, they promised worse at the national convention.

While all this is going on, work continues to leave this country with all sorts of companies that use skilled and semiskilled workers. Government, Congress in particular, is doing very little to address this problem of lack of work, which is causing the lack of faith in government that has become obvious.

In the section of Tuesday’s Science Times of the NYT, there is a long article on where present day people came from. It describes how two Danish brothers in their late teens got into the occupation of searching for the origin and development of humans. A quarter of a century later they are still at it decoding DNA in an effort to get from then to now.  While it is a fascinating article describing their work, it is the comparison between their findings and what is going on in politics that worked its way into my mind.

Over millions of years life and what we have arrived at is this election. Promises to build walls around our borders, expel people who can’t prove that they don’t belong here and only admit people who are like us are attitudes we were changing when I was young.

Can we possibly see this as national social progress?

  1. #1 by Marvin on May 29, 2016 - 7:06 pm

    I have been “attacked” also by enraged aggressive drivers but I also frequently think how lucky I am the attacker didn’t shoot at me. I think this probably has most to do with, the attacker didn’t have a gun. Point is we need sensible gun laws. I think the framers of the 2nd amendment would agree.

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