Mood On Monday, Considering Historical Inevitability


“Predict the future. Use your turn signal.”
bumper sticker
“Everything else is speculation.”
History books are all about patterns, i.e. because of X and Y, Z happened. Read enough books and you start to think that history is an inexorable march from point to point.

That’s not how it looks from here.

There are no patterns. Or, conversely, there are many patterns, but no indication which one will dominate the tapestry.

From my view smack in the middle of an historical moment, nothing looks inevitable.

In the American election, the polls suggest one outcome. The experience of the electoral college in 2016 raises the possibility of the opposite outcome. Regardless of the result (shudder), countless op-eds will explain the unavoidable reasons this came to be.

Woodward’s book has just come out. Will it cause a swing in public opinion? Will it become another blip to disappear in the next news cycle? Either way, more op-eds.

Schools and universities have opened. The Tour de France is happening. Both have positive cases. Is this a brief surge that will disappear as we return to normal? The beginning of when it all collapses down on us? Will we stagger along between the two extremes? The next generation of public health PHDs will advance convincing arguments in retrospect.

Black Lives Matter continues to protest. Kansas NFL fans boo a moment of silence. Will we have substantive change for better? For worse? Will we settled back into status quo ante? Is there a tide in the affairs of men, or are we bobbing in the middle of the ocean?

Name the issue. Fifty years from now, the conclusion will seem inescapable.

This is my reminder to the future that nothing looks inevitable from here.

Stay safe. Stay sane.
Katherine Walcott

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