I hope all of you are enjoying a safe and productive new year.
Life here in Paris is still very regulated, with an 8pm to 6am curfew in effect. Infection rates hover at a high but manageable level. Masks and social distancing are the norm. Cafes, restaurants, and museums are still closed and will certainly not reopen until at least mid-February, if then. Travel in and out of the country is very limited. As vaccines slowly roll out, the city seems to be playing The Waiting Game. It is all very uneventful.
Not so in the United States. The January 6, 2021, attack our nation’s capitol were shocking to most people, but, sadly, not surprising to many. And it is this event—and the issues behind them—that must be addressed.
Much of what I wrote in The Old Money Book and a large portion of what we discuss on this blog concerns values. Not exclusively ‘American values,’ but what could most accurately be described as ‘moral values’ or ‘sacred values.’
I have avoided directly addressing political topics here, preferring to keep the focus on those values and the Old Money way of life.
This Old Money philosophy has been embraced by liberals and conservatives alike and remains accessible to everyone. It offers its benefits to everyone. It is a tool that is neither Republican or Democrat. If used properly, it renders uniform results in terms of quality of life, personal fulfillment, and financial independence, regardless of a person’s background, income level, or political leanings.
However, as the author of The Old Money Book and curator, moderator, and primary contributor to this blog, I find it impossible not to discuss what is happening in the United States at present.
To ignore the elephant in the room would be negligent and hypocritical of me and a disservice to this community. This is not a fashion blog or a forum in which we exchange stir fry recipes. We discuss what is ethical, what is noble, what is challenging, what is rewarding, and, in a nutshell, what is right.
We pursue and explore the best way to live, the best way to behave, the best way to treat others, and the best way to engage with our world.
As we’ve done this, I’ve steered clear of politics and ‘stayed in my lane’ for several reasons: readers don’t come here for political opinions or news. There are thousands of websites for that. Second, I consider ethics to be just as important as laws, and I felt like addressing our nobler instincts would target an underserved market, as it were. And finally, I sought to be a unifying force, not another divisive element, in the public square.
I was content to take this position in a fairly reasonable political environment. Citizens and political parties with differing points of view could debate ideas, campaign for votes, put a variety of candidates in office, compromise to get legislation passed, and then begrudgingly shake hands, having made some practical progress despite all the partisan rhetoric. I could remain here, writing about blue blazers, etiquette in France, and honor.
And it was fine for awhile. Everybody was playing by the rules, more or less. And when a politician did get caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they were kicked out of office and sometimes invited to be a guest of the government they once served, you know, in prison.
Overall, the messy business of government in a democracy ambled along, dragging its ever-present baggage of corruption, waste, cynical calculation, hyperbole, and hypocrisy with it toward a better day.
People and politicians disagreed bitterly about many domestic issues and a few international ones (usually whether or not we go to war, and with whom).
Generally, we had the feeling that, differences in policy aside, most of the people in government had the best interests of the U.S. at heart: a shared idea of a better society. We just had conflicting philosophies about how to get there.
We remained, by and large, united as Americans. Especially against foreign adversaries. Our leaders put country before party when it really came down to brass tacks. In times that tested our nation and our democratic norms, they put public good before political gain.
As citizens, we reluctantly agreed that elected officials and unelected bureaucrats actually got some things done every once in awhile. Our agencies handled the tedious details of government. Our men and women in uniform kept us safe. In times of crisis, our leaders stepped up and acted bravely, selflessly, and nobly. Sometimes, they acted heroically. Imperfect as they were, they put our ideals into action. They restored and nourished our faith in our imperfect system.
Through it all, our lives were somewhat predictable. Most of us had hope that things might be better in the future. And all of us were certain we were a hell of a lot better off than many other countries in the world.
Above all else, most of the time we endeavored to settle our differences and correct real or perceive injustices through debate and protest, campaigns and voting, movements and marches, litigation and legislation, writing and speaking.
With a very mixed track record, we endeavored to follow the will of the majority without completely trampling the rights of the minority, with liberty and justice–if not for all–many.
Now, citizens of our country have resorted to violence and insurrection directed at the very heart of our democratic system of government. Destruction of property, threats of violence, intimidation, physical assaults, attempted kidnapping, attempted murder, and murder have been the result, all with the intention of altering an election outcome.
Having lived my life as one of the most fortunate of Americans, I cannot stand by and remain silent. Events have swerved uncontrollably out of their lane and now endanger us all. In response, I’m not going to lean on my horn, scream at the top of my lungs, and give into road rage.
However, like any courteous driver, I am going to signal and let you know that I, too, am changing lanes.
Exactly how this change will impact this blog is something I’m thinking about right now. Some decisions I’ve made, and some are yet to come.
I’ll share all this with you in the coming days, and I look forward to our lively and enlightening conversations in the future.
Until then, be safe, stay well, and fasten your seat belts.