Monday, October 02, 2006

Call me a worrier, but....

I am in a anxious state of mind, tempted to say, "What is happening to America?" Is it in a true demise? Am I a witness to the decline of our culture once thought to be so noble, so endowed, so promising; now so hated by the world? Yes, we are hated and it takes my breath away and rocks my core belief system. Bad enough that outsiders hate us, but when we are producing such an epidemic of self-haters that turn the gun on others before annihilating themselves--well you have to wonder.

This week: More school shootings, massacres even, as in the case of an Amish town in Pennsylvania. Along with the usual pervert scandals in government (Congressman sends lurid e-mails to young male pages) the world seems like it's going to hell in a hand-basket.

Is there any place left untouched by human perversity? The Amish in Nickel Mines, Virginia probably thought they were safe in their isolated world--their backs turned away from modernity. A one room schoolhouse, girls dressed in smocks and bonnets; boys in suspenders and straw hats. A people suspended in time, living simply, peaceably, on record as the happiest, most contented people in America. I feel deeply sorry for them as if corruption and evil stumbled into their haven in the form of a crazed milkman, a copy-cat criminal looking for his posthumous 15 minutes of fame. The vampires from cable news, the Nancy Graces and the Greta Van Susterans haven't uncovered and broadcasted his true motive yet, but I know flat-out what drove his heinous act was the promise of notoriety. We all know his name now--first, middle, and last, and we will soon know what he liked to eat for breakfast and what videos he checked out at Blockbuster.

Somehow I feel vaguely responsible as a member of the secular world that some crazed individual influenced and poisoned from my camp stole into theirs and shattered it. I feel like we've let them down. I think we all looked at the Amish as quaint, innocent people, and in our affection for their innocence let them live in peace. How sweet. And secretly, how interesting--to watch them flourish under the glass, a benign social experiment, a laboratory of alternate culture, the docile kind, not the kind that protests and complains and aggressively demands center stage, attention, rights.

From video broadcast from insatiable news crews in helicopters I watched as the Amish village became filled with strangers polluting their pastoral Winslow Homer landscape. Cars and cameras, and reams of yellow police tape strung in the waving grasses around barn-raised community buildings and painted white fences. What shock these people are feeling. And what profound disappointment the rest of us feel, that no one, no where in America is safe from the new breed of criminal--the one incubated and cultivated in the cesspool of popular culture where the biggest achievement one can wish for is fame.

No comments: