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A societal earthquake shakes the United States on many fronts – internal sources




I only had one earthquake. It was in Izmir, Turkey, in 2014. The ground moved and rippled under my feet. Buildings shook and people were frightened.

Americans have reason to believe that they are in a societal earthquake of unknown intensity or long-term outcome. Everywhere on Earth we’ve known and trusted—politically, socially, economically, technologically, and globally—it seems to be on the move. Institutions are shaking, technology is erasing the familiar; New and disturbing politics are rampant, left and right. Significant climate change has arrived.

Our foreign skill set is found to be deficient. Fear of the future is present in our consciousness.

Our politics may be the most shaky in our intuition. What we used to know how to do — like holding elections — is called into question and reforms, as in Conservative voting bills, threaten what we hold to be safe, that very election. Electoral results are widely questioned in a way never seen before.

We used to think we knew how to teach kids. Now, that’s questionable because the political factions are fighting over the school curriculum, not to mention the masks for the kids. To quote from an old ad, “What does a mother do?”

The COVID-19 virus continues to devastate, low but invincible. He made his mark: he’s reshaped work and play to an extent that we don’t yet understand. There are jobs, at least 10 million, that are begging and workers who don’t want those jobs. They range from the demand for drivers and warehouse staff, reflecting the shopping revolution, to airport workers, hospital staff, and of course restaurants.

Even the airline industry is begging. The Northrop Grumman plant in Maryland has a huge sign facing Amtrak trails in search of new employees.

It’s clearly a great time to change careers.

We don’t know if work-at-home systems will survive or if the human need to congregate will triumph. Do you stay away from the office or wait for the phenomenon?

Technology controls our lives, and that’s not always easy to live with. Try talking to any airline, insurance company, bank or government agency and you will need a thorough knowledge of computers because the person calling or recording wants you away from the phone and online. That is, even if you called him because you stumbled online, to begin with.

If you reach a human being, usually in Asia, that spirit probably won’t have the advantages that come with English as a first or second language. The biggest hard-to-reach corporate asset is not, as they used to say, you the customer. You do not count on any great organization. Stop complaining and wait for the Customer Service Representative, who will tell you to get lost after waiting for hours. You are now a tiny bit of big data, which some in the data field have called the new oil. Some corporate websites do not publish a phone number. Don’t bother with C-suite quiet.

The poor, who should be the beneficiaries of new technologies, are victims. Take, for example, the people who don’t deal with banks: that many people who don’t have credit cards or a bank account. They can’t ride from Uber or Lyft, and taxis are almost completely absent on city streets.

Those without bank accounts, if they can afford it, cannot check into a hotel without plastic, make a reservation for tickets or go to a concert. They are not members of the community. They’re on the wrong side of the digital divide – and that’s a bleak place to be. These are the children who have not received any education during the lockdowns and will suffer their whole lives as a result. If you miss a techno train, you walk along the tracks behind it.

The rise of China has damaged our self-esteem and we fear we are looking into the abyss of the Cold War or worse. Likewise, the tragic end of our era in Afghanistan has eroded our faith in our ability to right it. (Heck, even “Jeopardy” can’t choose a host.) Our intelligence agencies seem to have failed completely, and our military doesn’t seem to be the winning organization we’ve been so proud of for so long.

After the earthquake, nations rebuilt the structures. We need to start rebuilding our institutions, the first of which is to support the democratic system. The Indomitable Voting Rights Act would be a good starting point.

Our democracy has not fallen yet, but it is shaking as the earth slides beneath it.




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