From 2019 to 2023: A Lot More Mileage Than Years
This is my 100th article for The Stream in the last four years. Of course, my output pales in comparison to that of Drs. Michael Brown or John Zmirak — both of whom churn out that many weekly, it seems. But a man has got to know his limitations. I am just thankful to The Stream for the myriad opportunities they’ve given me. And to my long-suffering primary editor, Dr. Nancy Flory, who knows that whatever I send her is rarely (OK, never) the final draft.
How It All Began — and How It’s Gone
It was Managing Editor Al Perrotta who suggested I write on what has changed since March 2019 — when The Stream published my first piece. That was a review of Tommy Robinson’s book on the “Koran,” which Amazon had banned. In point of fact John Zmirak had asked me to review it, following my reaching out to him regarding a kindly review he did of one of my books.
Since then, I’ve averaged several articles per month for this site. (In-between teaching, going to my younger son’s college football games, and pretending to be a thespian.) And yes, I’ve cataloged them. Most have been on Islam and/or the Middle East (30 total). But I’ve also written many pieces on American politics (18), terrorism and counter-terrorism (12), Christianity (11), culture (10) and geopolitics (9). Other topics have included UFOs, the Ark of the Covenant, and fictional college professors. (That last may be my all-time favorite.)
Ten Biggest Changes from 2019 to 2023
And since I just alluded to Indiana Jones, remember his sage, if exhausted, comment regarding time: “it’s not the years, honey; it’s the mileage.” Although March 2019 was not that long ago on the calendar, the world is now light-years away in many regards. Ten major ones, in fact.
- Then: We had a POTUS with bad hair, an orange sheen, and a Twitter compulsion nonetheless outweighed by his intact intellect and brutal competence in affairs both domestic and foreign. Now: We’re saddled with a scarecrow POTUS whose gaffe-riddled temperament makes Abe Simpson look positively Churchillian.
- Then: Our federal government had it out for the aforementioned carroty Commander-in-Chief. Now: The feds have it out for those of us who voted for him.
- Then: Democrats and Leftists were still separable, the former clinging to some semblance of sanity. Now: The senior American political party has abandoned reason for madness, no longer holding to Classical liberalism at all, but having fully embraced not just socialism, but the Stalinist variety.
- Then: Americans’ backbones were stiffened by memories of our fathers and grandfathers who survived polio, beat actual Nazis, won the Cold War and took the fight to jihadists after 9/11. Now: Half the U.S. population lives in perpetual fear of a virus that killed 0.1% of our people, and which the Romans wouldn’t even have noticed.
- Then: America had defined, and at least quasi-defensible, borders.
Now: The massive invasion across what used to be our southern border is encouraged by the Commander-in-Chief’s teleprompter, euphemized as “irregular migration.”
- Then: The Mao Dynasty was ambitious, but not trying to assert global hegemony as long as Bad Orange Man was in the Oval Office.
Now: China’s leadership is partying like it’s 1433 via alternative international institutions, overt spy balloons and their own brand diplomacy, especially now in the Middle East.
- Then: Ohio State beat Michigan in football 56-27, for its eighth win in a row and 17th this millennium.
Now: the Wolverines have won two in a row (UM having weaseled out of the 2020 game because of the China virus). The world truly has turned upside down. Fix it, Ryan Day.
- Then: Very few people openly admitted to believing in aliens, although many of us secretly did so.
Now: the U.S. government has repeatedly reported that UFOs/UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) regularly violate our skies, challenge our military, and make conspiracy theorists look prophetic.
- Then: Twitter was a Stalinist cesspool of anti-conservative chauvinism (from which I was banned for a while for tweeting that Islam and jihad were linked).
Now: Elon Musk has made the platform safe for non-ANTIFA. (Or at least that was the case when Great Lent started. I have been abstaining from Twitter since.)
- Then: Democrats lied, but they hadn’t cheated en masse since 1960 (probably).
Now: The Democrat-Silicon Valley Complex is trying desperately to entrench itself as the permanent ruling party. How? Via ballot harvesting, gutting the First Amendment and using the FBI to outlaw opposition. Which proves, of course, that Reagan was right. As usual. Way back in 1967, when first elected Governor of California, he said that “freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction.” Here we are just four years, not even a generation, past 2019 and already our democracy is on life support.
Who’s Our Only Hope?
Where have you gone, Ronaldus Magnus? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. We could use another POTUS who’s not only effective, but classy. Well, he has left and gone away, hey-hey-hey. Perhaps Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, or someone else can politically save us. By the time I’ve written my 200th article, I pray that God will have given America what we need — even if it’s not what we actually want.
Timothy Furnish holds a Ph.D. in Islamic, World and African history from Ohio State University and a M.A. in Theology from Concordia Seminary. He is a former U.S. Army Arabic linguist and, later, civilian consultant to U.S. Special Operations Command. He’s the author of books on the Middle East and Middle-earth, a history professor and sometime media opiner (as, for example, on Fox News Channel’s War Stories: Fighting ISIS). He currently writes for and consults The Stream on International Security matters.