Consternation fills my heart every time I see a White man or woman pose with an animal--not with a lover, a spouse, or children. Humans should form deep attachments with other humans. You don't have to make a rule about it. Communication, mutual attraction--all those things work better with fellow humans, not with dumb animals; so we should gravitate naturally toward the humans. Animals can substitute only up to a point. That they have anyway suggests some kind of social dysfunction that has set in.

In the photographs, we see educated, well-off Whites posing with their animals. It just bothers me. Do the Whites not trust others of the same species? Do they prefer an asocial life, or a partner who cannot talk back to them or make emotional demands? Does this say, "Don't form bonds with other people, who will let you down?" Or do they opt out of the Human Contract because of underlying pessimism about the future? Don't expect our nation to make measurable progress on anything, as long as that goes on.

I believe our collective experience leaves a considerable human legacy--some of it negative, to be sure, but worthy of preservation. The dog-lovers may believe that nothing should preserve it, or that they are existentially tired of living. They travel light, so that we they leave this earth, they don't leave anything behind that can get hurt.

Try to pin down the dog-lovers on the reasons for their pessimism, and you get the feeling that they haven't thought a lot about the reasons--just that things don't fit; they don't feel right, and the cold rain blows down the city canyons, and they feel small and vulnerable. Our leaders should get the measurement of the dog-lovers' malaise before they try anything harebrained. Maybe they need to instill in the public a level of confidence about the future; but first, they have to leave off fighting each other for a time.

I don't like it that elements of our society have more or less abdicated their role in its future. As the noise of conflict grows louder, they retreat farther from it and from their fellow countrymen. The experience helps me realize how the Nazis defeated the German dissidents in the 1930s--because the dissidents did not like each other. The Christians, the Socialists, and so on more or less hated each other.


The Nazis understood another significant fact about human nature, that people do not like challenges that disrupt their daily routine. They like to plan ahead, and they loathe hurried decision-making, when mistakes can happen. and hurried departures. Planning ahead helped them to get where they are. They would have to sell the house in a rush, say their round of good-byes, transfer their assets, and relocate. Their loathing for hurrried actions and the civilized character of their lives limits their willingness to respond to threats. It makes them an easy target for a dictator, who knows how to play on their fears.

The Nazis went after the dissidents piecemeal. Pastor Martin Niemöller described the process in a poem: "They came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out." Then the Nazis took the Communists, and again no one spoke out. When they came for the Protestants, including Niemöller himself, no one remained to speak out.

But anyone can play on our fears. The looming fear that someone will mess up our plans keeps us all hostage. The title of a Time magazine article from September 10, 2020, reads, "America is being pulled apart." It sends shivers down the backs of a lot of people who have big plans for the future, or just a nice home and some money saved up. They have a lot to lose, if Republican and Democrat enmity divides the country.

Rather than echo the angst over political division, I decided to think counter-intuitively and to pose it as a resolution, "Resolve to divide the Dis-united States," or words to that effect. I just thought, "Why keep holding ouselves hostage?"--because it's really our decision to live like this. So, divide the country. Let the two sides realign themselves according to their value-system and regain trust and functionality within the new boundaries. Discombobulate everyone in the short term, in order to gain long-term stability.

Not surprisingly, most of the related web-sites warned against dividing the country. Just . . . "Find a way to resolve the disunity." Like that's going to work! Or else, don't divide the country and let disunity have its way, until one side or the other capitulates. Let each succeeding slight or act of intimidation increase the stress level and paranoia in multiples, so that it has an exaggerated effect on us. You don't need a rocket-scientist to tell you where that will take us.