A little while back I was having a conversation with a young man who reminded me a little bit of me, 20 something years ago.
This young man was very concerned about a situation heralding the decline and fall of America. After much haranguing over the topic of evil du jure he was astonished to realize that not only did I agree with him but that I had several points of contention that he had not considered.
He had assumed incorrectly, that I was simply an old bastard of his uncle's generation that might be sympathetic to his politics, if only he could reeducate me. (his uncle and I are friends) It blew him away that not only had I fully grasped the situation at hand, but that I had already analyzed it more in-depth than he had. I think he was surprised by the fact that what he considered MAJOR points were to me minor indicators. In short, not only did I not need his help in seeing the situation correctly, I already fully understood the matter and could explain why things were worse than he thought.
This set him off in a minor funk. Not only was he not able to win a convert to his POV, but he had been shown that his point of view was only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. I threw his public school educated psyche a bone and asked him about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. To his credit he had heard that there was a Roman Empire. He knew next to nothing about it. However I talked history for a bit (no doubt boring the boy near to tears). He had never heard of Gotterdammerung, but he instantly grasped the concept. Once he understood that I moved on to comparisons to the USA.
All in all he is a good kid. Smart even. Frankly I was a bit amazed that a kid of 22 had escaped the public schools with as much of his intelligence intact. The amazing thing is that he reminded me a bit of, well me.
Several years ago, before the internet was off the ground, we had a national wake up call. It didn't wake many people up, but we had the call. There was this incident in Idaho reported in the media as Ruby Ridge. Back then if you believed Randy Weaver was in the right and the FBI was in the wrong you were likely to be called a conspiracy theorist or nut job. This was before Gary Spence beat the US government in open court and won Randy's freedom and lawsuit.
As it happens, I was the eager young patriot who had researched and knew the facts of the story. I was the righteously indignant young man with his fist in the air. One night I was spouting off about the out of control, morally corrupt, insert long diatribe of adjectives here, behavior of the federal government. I was doing this to a person whose respect and validation I very much wanted. He hit me between the eyes with a verbal 2x4. He interrupted me and said something along the lines of, "stop with the indignation BS and tell me what happened". I was a bit crushed. I didn't want to be thought of as a conspiracy theorist or nut case but that's how it was starting to go down.
So I told him the condensed and unemotional facts of the story. He shook his head and said something like, "it figures". My mentor agreed with me. We talked about Ruby Ridge and the evils of our government. I was surprised and relived in my little moment of validation.
I had forgotten all about that conversation until tonight. My host that night was not surprised or shocked by Ruby Ridge, just like I wasn't shocked over current events. It didn't shock him because he had his wake up call a couple of decades before at Kent State, or Woodward Ave, or any of a list of civil incidents when he was 20 or so years younger.
America has been getting wake up calls on restraining the government for decades. We are no longer shocked by the misdeeds of our officials. We keep hitting snooze. Pretty soon we won't even hear the alarm.