Thursday, June 13, 2019

Consumed by Politics

My husband told me last night, “It's hard not to be consumed by the disaster of this presidency. Every day there's some new outrageous thing, and it's become so clear that the stakes are higher than they've ever been.”

I had to agree, but I don't know if I want to go through the next years with some new outrage dominating the news every day. I wistfully long for the days when I could believe that the president, the Senate, and the courts had the best interest of the country at heart, even if the people in those seats came from the party I did not want to vote for.

Fortunately, I only face it all at night because I'm busy writing the ending to my book during the day with the internet off. Believe me, living in a world that's under attack by aliens that can even destroy Earth's gods to take their power, let alone puny mortals, is a much happier place to be than the real world I come back to in the evenings.

In my book, I've had to go back in time to 1812 to New Madrid, Missouri, a place and a time that was full of naturals horrors and wars. The New Madrid Earthquake that everyone talks about was actually three (or perhaps four, depending on which modern expert you choose) of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the United States—and over 2,000 other earthquakes in a four-month period. The ground quite literally never stopped shaking, making even walking difficult. Huge rifts opened up and stayed for a century until dredging finally destroyed them. Eerie lights, explosions, and rumbling thunder came from the ground beneath. New lakes, swamps, and sunken lands were formed. Small volcanoes of salt, coal, tar and mud littered the landscape. The earth underneath the bed of the Mississippi River was shoved upward with such force that waterfalls formed in the middle of the river where there had been none before, and the river appeared to change direction and run upstream on two different occasions. The few towns that had been established were mostly or completely destroyed, and the biggest earthquakes were felt in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., where American leaders were dealing with the frightening lead-up to the War of 1812 against Britain.

Meanwhile, fifty miles from New Madrid, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the great warrior and strategist, Tecumseh, was meeting with his Shawnee and Delaware allies that might have helped him defeat the American colonists and stop the course of Manifest Destiny, confining the new country to the Eastern seaboard with an unprecedented alliance of independent Native nations defending the western two-thirds of the continent. While Tecumseh was there, American soldiers would attack his home settlement and burn it to the ground, leading to a series of events that would eventually destroy his burgeoning movement to hold back the destructive tidal wave of white settlement.

Dealing with this period in history reminds me that there have been troubled times before this, that there have been dangerous threats that were avoided or overcome and dangerous threats that were almost averted but occurred despite the best efforts—and people still managed to have lives and survive. I suppose we always think the times we're living in are the toughest and most dangerous.

I can't swear off the political news, so I suppose I'll continue to hear about each day's new disaster or outrage every evening. Fortunately, I'll still have the world of my book to exist within all day, and that should help me view it all with some little perspective. The sky is always falling, but somehow we manage to muddle through anyway.