“Down and out. It can’t be helped if there’s a lot of it about.” — Roger Waters
Yesterday’s discussion came to an eventual end without a whole lot resolved. I have an internal clock of sorts that tells me when to wrap things up. So, while I did think there was more to be explored I felt that it was better to leave the discussion for another day. Today is that day.
Geography and Geology students study tectonic plates. Accordingly, they occasionally move side by side. Sometimes they pull away from each other. Sometimes they collide. Any time there is movement there’s an earthquake. Smaller fault lines create smaller earthquakes. Fault lines like the San Andres fault create ones for the ages.
Our political fault lines are places where battles are naturally fought. These societal battles occur regularly. There is an inherent balance in these battles where we see a kind of peace that is kept. Usually the status quo produces that. Most people are comfortable with the status quo. They may not be happy with it, but they are comfortable with it.
Those fault lines begin to move when we begin to move as a culture or society. As long as we move in the same direction, the peace is maintained. We start to have those earthquakes when something goes wrong. This happens when the majority want one thing and those in power do something else.
One of these fault lines occurs on the issue of abortion and women’s rights. When you study the demographic data you’ll notice that Pro-Life and Pro-Choice appears to be fairly evenly split. An even split would seem to indicate that things should remain the same. Yet, in many states and with the U.S. Supreme Court, those rights are being rolled back. Thus, the courts and states are moving in one direction where many individual groups are moving in the opposite direction.
We can apply this same thought process to any number of issues. Usually we see similar scenarios when it comes to social issues. National data would usually point to an even split or for more on the progressive side of things. This includes LGTBQ+ rights, other alternative lifestyle choices, and issues surrounding immigration. Generally speaking, society is moving in a direction of tolerance. Policies sometimes move that way too, but sometimes there are fairly significant bumps in the road. That’s particularly true when it comes to immigration.
A study of all of that data is fascinating to say the least. It would appear that something changed and public opinion began to fluctuate wildly after it had been stable for years. Politicians have managed to exploit strong opinions from the fringes of these opinion groups to motivate them to support people they may not normally support.
My usual go to line in this kind of discussion for the intro quote comes from the same song. The very next line states, “with. without. And who’d deny that’s what the fighting is all about?” That’s the San Andres fault of any country. When income inequality increases we naturally see more quakes. When certain policy objectives somehow get defeated when a vast majority wants them we see cracks in the veneer.
How these cracks occur can depend. The party that wants these changes can’t seem to win enough elections. That can happen for any number of reasons. Sometimes those that want the changes don’t vote in big enough numbers. Sometimes the voters get distracted by other battles like the ones I mentioned earlier. Sometimes the powers that be rig the political boundaries and voting rules to exclude those that would support such things.
Whether the fight is over vaccines, mandates, women’s rights, LGTBQ+ rights, immigration reform, or economic issues, we see the same tectonic shifts when the majority doesn’t get what it wants. This is particularly true when the minority exploits inefficiencies in the system to thwart progress. Of course, progress can look like something else entirely depending on which side of the fault you are standing on.