Ruination Day II — Rise of ‘The Great Separator’
by Len Bahr, Ph.D.
It’s impossible to adequately describe the dismay in our household triggered by the daily litany of gaffes, gloats, lies, threats, and careless, clueless, and classless comments spewing from the mouth and itchy tweeter finger of POTUS-elect Donald J. Trump. During this pre-inaugural period, when common sense would suggest the need for Mr. Trump to extend at least a symbolic handshake and smile to the majority of Hillary voters, he remains in full campaign mode – bellicose, vindictive, self-congratulatory — and not in the least bit conciliatory. The implications of his victory to coastal Louisiana are just now sinking in, as shown, for example by this editorial by Keith Magill in the Daily Comet, which is published in Thibodaux, LA, near ground zero for global warming.
One of my favorite singer/songwriters is Gillian Welch, whose album Time the Revelator includes a song that memorializes April 14 as ‘Ruination Day.’ On that day in 1865 Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.* In an interview with Julia Wick, Ms.Welch cited the inspiration for the title Ruination Day as the day when the Great Emancipator took a bullet to the head. The word ‘ruination’ becomes even more ironic if it is hyphenated to read ‘ruin-nation.’
November 8 is five months and 6 days shy of April 14 but I believe that the consequences of the recent election are potentially as damaging to our nation as was Lincoln’s murder. The analogous vacuum in American leadership is happening as a consequence of the actions of a contemporary actor/showman just as misguided, bigoted, and hate-filled as was John Wilkes Booth.
Our nation recovered before and it will presumably recover again, although in 1865 there were just over 1 billion folks competing for resources on Mother Earth. There are now 7.4 billion of us, with at least one quarter lacking basic health care, education, clean water and adequate nourishment for their stomachs and their minds.
The unrest caused by overpopulation, unequal resource distribution, and global warming is triggering nationalism, terrorism, and the largest refugee crisis since WWII. I can’t imagine anyone more profoundly unprepared than the Donald to become the most powerful figure in our increasingly unstable world. This instability fueled his campaign to pit his brand of ‘loyal’ Americans against the rest of us. Thus a celebrity realtor, salesman and con man emerged as POTUS-elect.
The devastating civil war in Syria was likely triggered by hunger resulting from successive years of drought and crop failure. According to this article in theatlantic.com, rising sea level in the delta complex of Bangladesh is being blamed for girls marrying at a younger age.
To think that the United States faces at least four years of rule by a fool, who has no comprehension of the social and ecological, non-monetary value of global resources, is truly terrifying. D.J. Trump’s prospective unfettered power and his notorious reputation as a divider, not a uniter suggests that history may prove November 8, 2016 to have been Ruin-nation Day II. Will a future songwriter pen lyrics to a song about the rise of the Great Separator?
*In addition, on that day in 1912 the Titanic struck the fateful iceberg and on that day in 1935 the worst dust storm in U.S. history literally suffocated a number of what have become the reddest states in the Union.