Hope Doesn't Mitigate Disaster

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How do we explain the moment that we're in?  We've got a US president and some in his administration under investigation for collaborating with a hostile foreign state.  A foreign state that 17 US intelligence agencies agree interfered with a US election.  The Chief Executive meanwhile claims this to be a hoax, and disses his own intelligence and law enforcement agencies - except when they provide intel he wants to hear.  The White House is moving staff and Secretaries around like a game of checkers.

Sound about right? 

I posted a couple of articles on my Facebook page this week on the severity of this time, on “The Present Crisis," and on how it’s potentially likely that “Trump will try to stage a coup and overthrow democracy.”

Both pieces are profound.  I mean, one is talking about constitutional crisis and how we’re now watching the fall of the republic, and the second is about a coup.  Not for the faint of heart.

What struck me in the response to those posts is the hope.  I love love love that my Facebook community holds hope.  I love that people are looking for the shiny, bright way out.  We need hope. 

Yet, hope doesn’t hold a hurricane offshore when it is bearing down.  It won’t keep your house from burning down when a wildfire approaches and you haven’t cleared the pine needles from your roof.  Don’t get me wrong:  prayer can help.  That’s a discussion for another time.  But hope?

I love hope, but there is a reason we do disaster mitigation.  There is a reason we prepare.

What do those things mean?  It means we plan for the worst-case scenario.  That’s what we need to do here. 

Are you ready for a constitutional crisis?  The fall of the republic?  A coup, for crying out loud?

Yep, that stuff is the unspeakable.  But we’re better off talking about it now. 

Did you install a generator after the last power outage?  Do you have emergency rations stowed away in case of an earthquake?  Has your family discussed what to do in the case of an active shooter at school or work?  If so, you are already working on preparedness.  

It’s high time we start talking about what we do if we see the unspeakable in the US. 

I don’t have the answers.  I do know that we start by looking risk square in the face.  We explore what it might mean.  And then we start building our contingencies. 

If you are looking for a place to start, start here:  Build community.  Get resilient.  Meet your neighbors.  Learn about your local government.  Have tough talks.  Know what infrastructure is critical in your community.  Prepare like you would for a disaster.  Get in shape.  Pare your life down.  Deal with stuff you’ve been avoiding.  Strengthen ties.  Build partnerships.

We’ll be better in the time that’s coming if we’re even a little bit ready.  We can start now.


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