milestones

There are some cultural milestones that you don’t even know exist until you trip over them: the moment, for instance, when an “active shooter” becomes the kind of thing a furniture manufacturer might factor into its product design in the same way it considers ergonomics or biodegradability. The migration of the term “active shooter” from law-­enforcement training manuals into the world of cable-­news chyrons, Twitter rumors and uploaded cellphone videos is itself an indicator of how a once-­anomalous tragedy has become just another event to prepare for, like the Fourth of July or a tornado.

-Charles Homans ‘The ‘Active Shooter’ Is Never Far Away‘ The New York Times

The political center has lost its power to persuade and its essential means of connection to the people it seeks to represent. Instead, we are seeing a convergence of the far left and far right. The right attacks immigrants while the left rails at bankers, but the spirit of insurgency, the venting of anger at those in power and the addiction to simple, demagogic answers to complex problems are the same for both extremes. Underlying it all is a shared hostility to globalization.

If the people — usually a repository of common sense and practicality — do something that appears neither sensible nor practical, then it forces a period of long and hard reflection. My own politics is waking to this new political landscape. The same dangerous impulses are visible, too, in American politics, but the challenges of globalization cannot be met by isolationism or shutting borders.

The center must regain its political traction, rediscover its capacity to analyze the problems we all face and find solutions that rise above the populist anger. If we do not succeed in beating back the far left and far right before they take the nations of Europe on this reckless experiment, it will end the way such rash action always does in history: at best, in disillusion; at worst, in rancorous division. The center must hold.

-Tony Blair ‘Brexit’s stunning coup‘ The New York Times

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