Imagine. What if? What if Donald Trump had been able to carry out the outrageous schemes we are now learning he was undertaking to keep himself in the White House despite losing the 2020 presidential election? What if Vladimir Putin carries out his current threat to invade Ukraine?
These are two “what ifs” that taken together represent the kind of world that, like a parallel universe, sits out there, just beyond our current reality, but threatening to break in on it.
This is the dual reality world we now live in, a rare moment in cosmic time when two radically different, monumental options for our future are staring us in the face at once.
On the one side, the calmly heroic world that President Biden represents opens the pathway to sustained prosperity and planetary human will. On the other side, the frantic, wild-eyed world of Trump and Putin offers unbelievable chaos and suffering to millions.
Humanity faced a similar inflection point in the period following the assassination of Austian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914. At that point, the world chose a pathway of choices that resulted, before it was all over, in the obliteration of the most advanced civilization that humanity had achieved. Each and every one of the tens of millions of precious human lives lost between then and the end of World War II in 1945 – two world wars and a “long weekend” in between – saw mass slaughter on a scale no one could have imagined precipitated by the fevered egomaniacal madness of a handful of members of a single family.
Can you imagine? All the key players in the Great War were at the same event sharing pudding at the coronation of the British King George V in 1911, because all were not hostile adversaries, but in fact closely related? George V, Czar Nicholas of Russia and German Emperor Wilhelm were cousins, in fact.
Yet because of them, Western Civilization was dealt a death blow from which to this day it has not fully recovered. Now, we’re on the brink of doing it all over again but with weapons so much more lethal now, it could result in the wiping out entirely of all human civilization as we know it.
Can you imagine? Imagine as in the John Lennon song’s vision of a world at peace? Imagine as in the kind of world that humanity’s resilience saw grow out of the excruciating pain of the two world wars to form a United Nations and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a commitment to peaceful progress that was exemplified by the historic meeting at the White House last week involving President Biden and retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
It was such a moving event, as the two aging warriors for peace celebrated their decades of hard work and fondness for one another and their shared love for America and democracy. It was beautiful.
Breyer, in particular, was particularly, if softly, eloquent. “It’s kind of a miracle that people so different in what they think decide to help solve their differences under law…People have come to accept this Constitution and to accept the importance of the rule of law.”
He then said how his wife paid their children to memorize the the Gettysburg Address its 271 words affirming that the U.S. is, as “a new nation, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…He meant women, too,”
The peace and concord of that event was such a contrast to the angry and violent bile spewed from Trump’s foul mouth at yet another poisonous rally, his overt confession of his intent to overthrow the 2020 election, his utter deceit and contempt for this fellow man, and the threat by Putin that he’s willing to unleash 150,000 troops against innocents in Ukraine, spilling the blood of thousands to achieve an ego-driven military objective that would succeed only by the cruel subjugation of millions of people to tyranny and misery.
Why can’t we simply live under the rule of law evenly exercised, to grow old together amid bonds of friendship and love, caring for one another and our well being?