Most things work in cycles, like the swinging of a pendulm. Hemlines go up and hemlines go down. Pants legs go from flares to straight and back again. The country swings towards liberalism and back to conservative values. Some cycles take longer than many people observe in their lifetimes. To understand those cycles, we must study history. For instance, did you know that there have been several periods in American history where the two sides were as polarized (if not MORE polarized) as they are today? There are periods in our past where politics were even more nasty than what we see today – with more dirty tricks than Watergate, with more scandals than the Clinton era, and with more bile than a Howard Dean speech.
There are cycles in nature, too. Those that would have you believe that the recent killer hurricanes are either A) a result of global warming or B) an act of a vengenful God haven’t bothered to consult a history book. As bad as Katrina was, it paled in comparison with the Great Hurricane in Galveston at the turn of the last century.
No big revelations here. Just an admonition that the next time you hear someone crying that “the sky is falling” in relation to some perceived calamity or threat (global warming springs to mind), it might pay to crack open a history book.