"The times they are a-changing." Remember that song by Bob Dylan? Woodstock, violent protests, sex, drugs, and rock and roll? That was my generation more or less. This time there is a new change gaining ground, literally gaining ground because it is about farming, husbandry, and returning to kinder, gentler agriculture practices. The Internet and collaborations are its incubator and college.
It is a silent revolution, because no one writes or speaks about it. Connections with groups are made on the Internet. Ideas are exchanged. Arts and education are part of the mix along with treating the earth with a new intent: healing earth's immune system as well as our own, and making "organic" into a word of necessity, not ridicule.
Republicans entertain with their vaudeville insults and clobber each other on the head and other body parts. But it is clear that they lack the discipline to find out what is really happening among the electorate. If they don't soon, they are doomed and another party, perhaps Libertarian, will rise from the ashes. Limbaugh, Cheney, et al. are cartoon characters dancing next to Gene Kelly (Obama). (And they want to toss Colin Powell out of their club?)
Soon, credit cards can no longer be instruments of loan sharks and we will make cars and trucks more energy efficient. Simple things, really. Obvious steps to security for most of us. Grown-up progress. Nice.
Seismic shifts are taking place under Republican feet as they continue to two-step into oblivion. The country needs an opposition party. President Obama hardly needs to be stuck contesting with Nancy Pelosi. Yes, he can debate himself over commanding issues in true Jeffersonian style. The country, however, needs serious debate from an opposition party that has listened to the tom-toms. If the Republicans implode from lack of attention, the Libertarians might just fill the gap if they are reasonable about the need for government obligations, such as national defense, schools, roads and transport, law enforcement and a few other items. If they avoid chatter about abortion, gay rights, evolution, etc. and concentrate on renewal of American entrepreneurship with new modeling of responsibility and morality in mind, who knows what might happen?
The age group between 18 and 45 is serious about changing the way they live their lives; they don't admire the old models of grab the money and run. If you create trashy houses, trash the ground, and wink at corrupt institutions, you are the problem that brought down our economy. New models are in the offing. This is a group that considers gay marriage and anti-abortion amendments distractions and prejudicial; these are private matters.
They are interested in living for purpose not just profit. Hard work and closeness to the land are preferable to Lamborghinis and land grabs. Excess is out; respect and reevaluation of old business models are in. Big is unreliable and unaccountable: lessons learned from our banking system failures, our investment failures, our environmental hazards and our stunning loss of wealth.
New technologies, renewable energy, green architecture, local produce, saving agricultural soil, reducing carbon emissions are in; waste is out.
Don't you love it when "old" is the new "new?" My grandmother hated waste. She reused paper and strings, and used egg shells, compost and chicken droppings for fertilizer in her vegetable garden. Although she held her tongue, it was clear to me that she thought my mother and father's house unnecessarily large: back to the future in values and attitudes. But converting to newer methods of saving energy, combined with greater demands on natural resources, will provide this new crop of younger thinkers and doers with great challenges.
A transformation started during the Bush years and solidified as the financial system collapsed around them. The government did nothing to limit war, protect the land or people from fraud and greedy abuse. So they have taken the initiative back and formed new connections for saving themselves from values they reject. President Obama gets it, while Republicans act like drugged lemmings.
David Brooks wrote in an insightful article that if Republicans want a comeback, it will have to be with someone who is "calm, prudent, reassuring and reasonable." Now, there's a concept. Enough with children's theater characters. The Republicans need a new voice and face, with a message for the multi-racial and forward-looking electorate of our times. Even the Democrats might hope they will succeed.