I'm coming to you live from the middle of Lone Fir Cemetery, the night of the #supermoon. If ghosts were real, I'd know by now. This is the quietest place in Northeast Portland tonight, and I need absolute silence. Why, you ask? Because "Friday" by Rebecca Black (Google it) has totally destroyed my ability to think about anything. This viral sensation has completely corrupted my soft drive. I can't even help walking to the beat of it. What gives Ark Music Factory the right to write a song like that? It's a violation of our civil liberties to brainwash us this way. It's a thoughtcrime.
Speaking of which, I should probably get out of this public cemetery at 1:19 a.m. I can outrun a zombie, but I hear things about those Rose City cops (they don't even need the Joint Terrorism Task Force!).
This moment in history is really f-d up. Not only was today the 8th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which was like my political bar mitzvah (welcome to life, kid), it marked the launch of the US-coordinated, UN-mandated Operation Odyssey Dawn against Libya, which, if nothing else, sounds like the beginning of a very long thing.
On the other side of the world, Japan is reeling from their biggest earthquake on record, and there's a reason tsunami is a Japanese word (#prayforjapan). That's all really lovely to think about here on the other end of the Ring of Fire (#prayforcascadia), but, then again, a Tunguska Event could happen anywhere, anytime (#prayforeverything).
As a freaked-out Millennial, I often wonder what past generations, ones who came of age at other cruxes of history, would think of us now. Are we handling all this well? My best buddy has a quote on his Facebook profile from the British Ministry of Information, 1939. "Keep calm and carry on," they told citizens who were staring down the barrel of the Nazi war machine. These days, I'd venture to say, that Twitter is the closest thing we've got to a Ministry of Information. Right now, Libya is a trending topic on Twitter, but so is Rebecca Black.
But the top trend nationwide is #supermoon, and that's an interesting sign. It means that, on a day where natural and nuclear disaster rage in Japan, and the United Nations are between Scylla and Charybdis in the Middle East, Americans are tweeting about the moon. I don't know whether this reflects scientific wonder, New Age paranoia, or a dark sense of humor, but we're looking to the heavens for something right now, even in augmented reality.
The quotation that came to my mind today was from yet another pivotal point in our history. This one's on my Facebook profile. Legend has it, in 1787, a lady approached Ben Franklin as he left Independence Hall on the last day of the Constitutional Convention. "Well, Doctor," she asked him, "what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?"
"A republic," Dr. Franklin replied, "if you can keep it."
How did we do? It's 224 years later. Did we manage to hang on to that republic? We've taken to calling it "democracy" lately, which isn't what it is at all, nor was it ever. It does sound better, though. It sounds more Greek, you know. Less... Roman.
In a cathartic exercise of our republican system, we elected Barack Obama, which felt really great after eight years of chimpanzee governance, and though he kind of sounded like he promised to end the wars of aggression he inherited, he hasn't done that. Instead, he's committed us to a new theater now, and he's done so in accordance with a UN resolution, not an act of Congress. Did we vote for that?
I'm not expressing a moral opinion here about this operation, although I would like to avoid an Odyssey, if possible. I'm just asking, do we still have a republic, or is it a new era now? Has the Global Economy antiquated the idea? What happened to waves of democracy in the Middle East? Has that wave broken now? The tides are really heavy right now, huh? Must be the #supermoon.
Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication.