I grew up in Missouri where tornadoes and thunderstorms scour the landscape beginning in the spring and only ending when fall comes and ends the summer heat for good. There is always a time before the biggest storms when the sky doesn’t look “right”, and the air feels “funny.” It’s hard to explain; it’s a different feeling you get before the weaker storms. It’s as if we unconsciously judge the severity of a storm and know that something big and dangerous is heading our way. That’s the time Midwesterners cast an eye at the basement door.
I recently was reminded of this unconscious knowledge on a drive through the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains with my son. We had left our home for a trip to the gun shop – an isolated but well stocked outpost run by a kind couple in their 60’s. The sky was heavy with dark blue clouds when we started, but as we drove on the wind changed and the skies quickly darkened. The storms lay on our path, and the Wife made a rare cell phone call to warn us that a tornado watch had been issued for our county. I ignored the warning, feeling excited by the light the storm cast on the rolling hills and mountains, and the air that became noticeably colder within a mile or two. Perhaps emboldened by shows like Storm Chasers, I drove towards a pea-green colored bank of clouds that threw up some fast moving wisps in the afternoon heat, but seeing a hint of rotation in the cloud I felt deep down that what I was doing was wrong – that I needed to return home and protect my family and property from the storm. But I went against my sensible Midwestern instincts, and drove into the storm.
On a winding country road I found myself driving head-on into gale-force winds that sprayed water onto my windshield like a fire hose. Lightening danced around the car followed by near-instantaneous cracks of thunder. I rolled down the window and stuck my head out of the window to see, and felt the sting of sweat and water in my eyes. A cold, paralyzing fear settled deep within me. Instincts evolved for a purpose, well before foolhardy minds could overrule them. The thunder sounded like an artillery barrage, and the lightening cast unnatural shadow shadows within the corn and tobacco fields.
My son nervously shouted above the din of the storm that we should stop at a house for shelter. This being rural North Carolina there were no houses – just mobile homes. At this point the fear weighed me down, slowing each movement as my mind raced on, cursing me for my terrible mistake in judgment. Thinking through our options, I focused on making it to the gun shop, solidly built with brick and concrete. It was the nearest structure that could best survive the storm, but it was still a quarter mile away. But even that option disappeared as I hit the brakes and came upon a fallen tree that blocked our progress.
With no options left, I whipped the car around and floored it, driving with the wind while listening for the deep, bone chilling sound that is always described as sounding like a “freight train.” The rain cascaded into my face but I kept my eyes open, watching for flooded dips in the road that could sweep my little Japanese car away. We came upon another fallen tree that had fallen after we had passed just moments before, and I tucked my head back in and powered the car through its leafy crown. Feeling every slip of my wheels on the damp pavement, I pushed the car to the very edge of my skill, driving as fast as I could without losing control.
Minutes later we were safely out of the storm, and the fear gave way to a heady adrenaline rush. But as my son whooped and hollered and patted me on the back for being the “best driver ever”, I silently cursed myself. I knew the storm was going to be bad before I drove into it. I knew the danger that lay ahead, but I ignored the unconscious knowledge built up over decades of experience.
Today sitting in my home baking in the heat and humidity, I feel much the same way about our country. Simply being alive and politically aware over the decades have taught me that something is seriously wrong with the direction of this country, our government and especially our leaders.
Wikileaks publishes the names of collaborators, their villages and even the names of their fathers (critical in cultures where sons take the names of their fathers as surnames) to support a group that executes gays, treats women as property, kills aid workers, harbors al-Qaeda terrorists and targets civilians. All in the name of peace. It’s as if Wikileaks in the name of justice published the faces, fake names, and the ages and names of the children of under cover police officers who infiltrated the mob.
The president and vice president laud the season as “Recovery Summer” while jobs evaporate. The politicians aren’t the only ones living a fantasy; Wall Street wheels and deals as if the recession never happened, bidding up the prices of stocks well above where they should be at this stage of the business cycle.
Our government erects billboards warning us to stay out of the desert to avoid being murdered by illegal immigrant and drug smugglers, but sues Arizona for trying to enforce border security.
A mosque rises in a place covered by the ashes of thousands killed in the name of Islam just nine years ago – built by an imam who holds the dead accountable at least partly for their fates. Under democracy the People are responsible for their government, so his saying that the US government was at least “partly responsible” for the attacks places the blame on the Americans who died. Think of it as the Islamic version of “the bitch asked for it” defense of the indefensible.
A president who shares the same skin color as them – but nothing else – is venerated by the African-American community. George W. Bush has more in common with African-Americans than our president. At least he’s grown up in contemporary American culture – much of it stolen from Black culture – instead of the rarefied atmosphere of intellectual salons, and not taught by racists like the Rev. Wright.
The liberal-dominated mainstream media ignores it all, glorifying in their success at helping to elect the most inexperienced leader this country has seen in a century. As Nile Gardiner of the Daily Telegraph notes, “As much as the media establishment turn a blind eye to [negative stories on Obama], which are major news in the international media, the American public is increasingly turning to alternative news sources, including the British press, which has a far less deferential approach towards the White House.” I used to go to the British media to get international news; over the past year I have relied more on it to tell me what is happening just 300 miles away in Washington DC.
As with the storms, my instinct tells me that something is seriously wrong with my country. That same paralyzing fear that I had during the storm is with me everyday. The skies are ominous, yet Obama and the Federal Government are driving us deep into the storm and there is nothing much we can do it about it since both are deaf to our concerns. All we can do is listen to our instincts and take every chance we can to limit the danger to ourselves and loved ones the President and the Feds seem determined to visit upon us.