It's impossible to think about anything today but the US defeat in Afghanistan, which after 20 miserable years and $2 trillion only took a few days. Intelligence saw it coming but leadership didn't listen, didn't get organized in spite of thousands of professionals paid for exactly this. The vaunted and costly American military proved totally incompetent. We are unable even to make an orderly exit as the Taliban resume control.
It makes one notice and question the smug subconscious assumption that someone is in charge and in control, that someone knows what's going on, as the plane has a pilot, the orchestra a conductor who knows the score. Despite fire, ice storm, pandemic, and personal shrinkage, we maintain our apparent stability, thinking order is the norm. How else go on? We are not in Afghanistan, which is a special case, as are we in our woebegone disarray, in which I somehow floated into a privileged niche—privileged from birth assumed I'd always be and made it happen. The culture collapsed into screen-gazing. My dual metiers, newspapers and theatre, are both effectively gone, books not far behind. What elite do I represent? Or misrepresent? A tiny percentage of so many people is still a world: mine, which has nothing to do with farming and small-town virtue. What am I doing here? Well, that's the way it fell out, and it works. I'm free.
So awful as it is, let it keep going. Let us not be fleeing for our lives, or told how to live. Let us be ourselves as naturally and purely as we can, and kind to one another. Let us hope our leaders will be more realitic and not let it all come crashing down.