I didn't need proof that things are very strange and more than a little scary, but I got it anyway.
A friend living in Iran - home of the Revolutionary Guard and institutionalized intolerance - asked me yesterday evening if my family is okay.
A friend living in northern France asked me last night if there was going to be a civil war in the United States.
To the first, the answer is yes. We're comfortably well off, we're not in physical danger. Emotionally, it's another story. To the second, I said that I didn't think so.
I found myself thinking about the Jews (and others) in the 1930s, who converted their assets into easily portable jewelry, just in case. And wondering if we should contemplate that. This is not something that you want to find yourself thinking about, at any time, and even more so at two o'clock in the morning. Which is when I woke up, thinking about it.
It's fine and very Gandhi-ish to say that love trumps hate, and that we should fight intolerance with understanding and acceptance. But what do you do when the person who should be leading that effort is in fact the primany supporter and instigator of the intolerance?
In a better world, the leaders of the society would politely ask that leader to step down, and in recognition of their moral force, he would do so.
In this one, that would not only not happen, but could not be conceived of happening. Each of the leaders would instead be jockeying for power and influence. Each sure -- or at least proclaiming - that they were doing it for the people.
Without much evidence of it.