My daughter and I took Wee Jamie, the Wonder Grandson, and our next-door neighbor up to Canyon Lake to spend the day of the 4th of July at the military recreation site there; there are pavilions there above small sandy beaches, for the use of active military and retirees to picnic in, restrooms and shower complexes (in need of serious renovation, or at least a sand-blasting and a clean-out of crud and insect life), an RV park, some boat ramps, and a scattering of cabins for rental. The day was overcast until late in the afternoon, and it has been very, very hot and rainless for the last two or three weeks, so the water level was quite low. Both the boat ramps on the Air Force side were well out of the water, and there was quite a lot of exposed beach, much more than last 4th, when we also spent the day there.
But there was a good crowd at the beach, mostly families with children, venturing into the rather silty water, with innertubes and floaties and small life vests for the smallest children, in the intervals between the adults barbequing and drinking. It all seemed utterly normal, and yet hollow, as if we were only going through the motions out of habit more than anything else.
Well, it was a pleasant day, so perhaps it wasn’t as hollow as all that. There were American flags, banners and red-white-and-blue garden ornaments displayed all though my neighborhood, perhaps more than there were in previous years, so perhaps it was in a kind of defiance, an insistence that yes, Things Are Absolutely Normal, DAMMIT!
Because things generally are not Absolutely Normal, as we have come to accept over the last half-century or so. Our republic and many of the institutions we had previously had reason to trust, or at least, considerable credible with a sprinkling of salt … have been hollowed out. They still look OK, whole, sound and trustworthy from the outside, observe the same customs and rituals as they always have done … but they are hollowed out.
Nothing remains of them but the outward shell, the semblance of what they once were supposed to be. Organizations like the FBI, and institutions like the national press, public school systems in the larger urban areas, or our large-scale movie and TV media go through the motions; making a show of investigating certain crimes, covering events presumed to be noteworthy, teaching schoolchildren the three ‘R’s making movies and TV shows for the amusement of the public. Too many of our established church organizations are whoring after strange new gods, against the stern scriptural commands, impelling breaks among congregations and diocese between the trendy apostates and those who take their religious beliefs to hear. Even our professional military organs appear to have gone through the same depressing process, appearing to be more dedicated to catering to the trans and other minorities rather than fielding the best at killing our enemies and breaking their stuff. (Recruiting and retention is tanking, especially among those who formerly provided the largest portion of recruits, and who can blame them, when being white, southern, male, and traditionally religious is being painted as the Worst Human Beings Evah! by the military higher echelons.) I suppose there are still dedicated teachers in public school systems who are still teaching kids to be literate, numerate, and patriotic, and not grooming the kids for sexual exploitation immediately or down the line. There are probably real working reporters out there for national outlets (Salena Zito comes to mind) and some working military officers and NCOs who are still considering the defense of the nation against foreign enemies their primary goal, instead of pandering to every woke cause around.
Discuss as you will, and while we still can. Any evidence/examples of institutions and individuals still holding out against the hollowing-out of our institutions and culture will be fallen upon with happy gratitude.