IT was with a strange heaviness of heart that I boarded a jet to the United States yesterday, on my way to give a conference this weekend in North Dakota. At the same time our jet took off, Pope Benedict’s plane was landing in the United Kingdom. He has been much on my heart these days—and much in the headlines.
As I was leaving the airport, I was compelled to buy a news magazine, something I rarely do. I was caught by the title “Is American Going Third World?” It is a report about how American cities, some more than others, are beginning to decay, their infrastructures collapsing, their money virtually run out. America is ‘broke’, said a high-level politician in Washington. In one county in Ohio, the police force is so small due to cutbacks, that the county judge recommended that citizens ‘arm yourselves’ against criminals. In other States, street lights are being shut off, paved roads are being turned into gravel, and jobs into dust.
It was surreal for me to write about this coming collapse a few years ago before the economy began to tumble (see The Year of the Unfolding). It is even more surreal to see it happening now before our eyes.