The State

It’s no great mystery that Renewal is my response to the state of the the world I see around me. I don’t claim to have any special insight in that regard, but it’s not too hard to pick up on our general sense of frustration and unease with our current situation.

I took a long bike ride several years ago, You can read about it over at my blog about the trip. (Wow! I really need to update that site for security. The Russian posts and Viagra comments gave it away. Another side project…) The ride took place in the middle of the 2008 election season. The nature of a bicycle trip is that you meet tons of great people. You can literally make a good friend in five minutes in the midst of the experience. Needless to say, a lot of those rapid conversations revolved around the politics of the time. Our economy was shaking out the first rumbles of the real problems that we are all struggling with today.

The consensus, if you recall, was “anything but more of the same.” It may be that people who are willing to pedal a bike across country tend to lean left in their politics, but that theory would ignore the consensus from the tent camping families, the RV folks, and the business owners I talked with along the way. By the time I midway through Oregon, I definitely had a feel for the politics of the left coast. On the Sunday before election day, I rode through a small agricultural town in California. The scene was straight out of an old movie with a heavy dose of Americana. The local politicians were out in force. The city park was filled with a rally of some kind, and the sounds of worship came from old storefronts converted to churches. People lined the street for the chance to hand out their own version of truth in the form of political and religious pamphlets. Those people were active, involved, and dedicated to the cause of America. I’m not making a racial point at all, but I think it was interesting to note that literally everyone in the town was Hispanic. In any case, it was an impressive show of government by the people, and the message boiled down to, “anything but more of the same.”

I’ll leave you to debate whether anything of actual substance has changed in the past three years, but I can say that I’m currently involved in a number of email conversations with intelligent and thoughtful people. In each of these cases, there is another consensus.

The system is not working.