2021: Embracing the Chaos of History

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Call me twisted. Or insensitive. Whatever you’d like, I’d like to talk about some of the benefits of the craziness and chaos America has been experiencing in the past few years, and especially lately with the recent attack on the Capitol Building.

Watching My Homeland from Afar


I grew up in the States. I moved to Israel in 1997 and watched America develop as a nation from afar. Which, in a sense, gives a unique and much more complex view of my home country. To make my thoughts even more nuanced, I’ve lived in both countries twice. And I’ve both loved and hated living in both places. Their positive qualities and faults are so very evident to me.

One of Americans’ quirks, one that shocks me every time I feel it, is how arrogant of a nation we are. Growing up in America, you have a powerful feeling of invincibility. And that’s combined with a worldview that America is this flawless structure that can never disappear. It will be 50 states forever. It will look the way it looks and function the way it functions, and that cannot and will never change.

But it’s a pretty naive view considering the relative youth of the country. Empires have existed in history for far longer than the United States, but eventually came crumbling down. Some of them retain not a drop of the original essence. Those empires are gone in every way imaginable. Forgotten relics of the past, meant to be studied in history books and not actually experienced.

Outside the Bubble of History


We all have a short attention span. And it would appear the majority of folk out there are not exactly historically savvy. They are either unfamiliar with the history of the world or they just don’t care. Or they somehow think the patterns of history, the wild ebbs and flows of the past, the mass chaos, are not applicable to the modern world. Somehow America is outside the bubble of history. It can survive anything and will always remain intact.

And they think this despite the very jarring nature of 9/11. This was the day my homeland discovered it could be attacked on home turf. We had lost battles and wars in the past. Our forces have suffered tremendously overseas, time and again. But that was always far away, across an ocean. Someone else’s brothers and sisters were impacted, but I’m OK. Everything will be alright so long as I remain within my domain.

Even the knowledge of Pearl Harbor, a direct attack on American soil, could be argued away. I mean, after all, it was a long time ago. And Hawaii is so far away, it might as well be a foreign nation.

But then we were hit in a way few Americans imagined possible. And even though two decades have passed, the United States has not been the same since. The world of American security has been forever altered. We all understand that with the right planning and motivation, we are vulnerable. We can be hurt really, really bad.

The Hard Questions?

But can we be overthrown? Can our Constitution be abolished? Can chaos take over as the norm? Can the very fabric of the nation, everything we know and love about being American, can it be demolished and lost forever? Can our nation find itself in a situation in which it looks back and the country is no longer recognizable?

These are all painfully challenging questions. However, I don’t think any of them are hard to answer. The answer is a resounding yes. Whether or not people like the idea, the United States can be overthrown by a force that is either more powerful or one that simply overwhelms the current structure. It’s a painful truth. But the mighty US is not invincible.

History says that everything we’ve come to know and love can disappear in a heartbeat. The Constitution can become a relic for museums and fodder for history textbooks. And the very essence of the country could be forgotten.

And there’s something truly desirable about having this knowledge. People need to know history and appreciate the relative fragility of empires. There’s no such thing as a permanent dynasty, there’s no such thing as invincibility, and everything you know and love can be gone tomorrow, if the perfect storm of circumstances comes together.

Whether or not people like the idea, the United States can be overthrown by a force that is either more powerful or one that simply overwhelms the current structure. It's a painful truth. But the mighty US is not invincible. Click To Tweet

The Perfect Chaos Storm is Already Here


And it feels like that perfect storm is something we can all understand just a little better now than we might have a year ago. New and different leadership, yearned for by a sizeable portion of the country. A political system found unsatisfying and distasteful to millions of Americans, not to mentions who knows how many non-Americans. A divide in the country the likes of which hasn’t been experienced since the Civil War.

And then the attack on the Capitol Building.

It was grotesque, don’t get me wrong. It was liking a Viking invasion from days of yore. But it was eye-opening nonetheless. That assault was relatively small, if you consider the matter. But what if the numbers of invaders were doubled or tripled? What if everyone were armed to the teeth? What would we be talking about right now? How would America look after that event? Would we be a different country the next day or would we just go back to eating our Cap’N Crunch and watching Stranger Things like nothing happened?

Embracing the Chaos


So call me crazy, but something about all the chaos appeals to me. Of course I don’t want anyone hurt or worse, but I do think it’s important to be reminded of the fragility of what we’re used to. I think there is something healthy about understanding that the world isn’t always as it appears to be.

We need to know history. We need to see patterns. We need to be able to look at what’s going on around us and intelligently evaluate what we’re witnessing. If we can’t do that, we gain nothing from the pain and suffering we’re enduring. And we will look back with shock when we see the world we once knew and loved looks nothing like we rememeber.

The United States has gathered a few additional blemishes these past few years. Let’s hope they help its lovely people learn how to not get too many more.


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