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In trying times we must stay engaged

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Re: “Political rage bubbles to the surface in Auburn,” (Journal, Oct. 3): In the 1960s, there was debate about whether our country was ripe for revolution given the social turmoil at that time. The persuasive voice of the “Longshoreman Philosopher,” Eric Hoffer, disagreed. Based on studies of revolution around the world during several centuries, he stated that revolutions often occur when there is a rapid, major drop in the standard of living. We’re clearly seeing this drop happen now in our country for more than a decade. In some areas of America it has been happening much longer. Around the world, still longer. Many of the few have prospered greatly, of course. Revolutions can come in different shapes and intensities of hostility. Loss of security always triggers fear, and often anger/rage. This political season has been filled with more attacking, dishonest advertising and polarizing politics than many of us have seen in our lifetimes. Hoffer’s 1950s book, “The True Believer,” described the tearing of the social fabric —which bonds us in spite of our differences — with attacks and counter-attacks escalating to at least verbal warfare if not greater. Many other social observers and spiritual leaders have expressed the same viewpoints since recorded history. But with the enormous growth of weapons of mass destruction (including the Internet), the stakes now are more potentially catastrophic. The times are such that we need to stay even more engaged in whatever ways we can that promote the general welfare of our communities. This was the reason for which our country was founded. We can’t afford to back away and leave a vacuum. And ultimately — it all starts at home. John Koehler, Auburn