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Perspective: Move slow and break things

Pixabay + Pixlr

Ever get the feeling that things are moving too quickly? If so, you’re are not alone. For many, what’s the matter with contemporary life is that the pace of change seems to surpass our abilities to critically evaluate and make sense of things.

But what if the problem is the exact opposite? What if the real challenges move slowly? So slow that we might not be able to perceive them as problems at all. As proof, I offer three pieces of evidence.

First, the climate crisis. This problem, which constitutes nothing less than an existential threat to all life on planet earth, happened so slowly we almost did not see it coming. And now we are desperately trying to make-up for lost time.

Second, the calculated erosion of civil rights — especially voting rights — in the U.S. States throughout the country have been working on new laws designed to limit not who can vote, but when, where, and how. These restrictions are not big and dramatic alterations, they are small and seemingly insignificant administrative tweaks. And we may not know their full impact until they tip an election.

Finally, there’s Ukraine. While the world patiently waits for some kind of made-for-TV-drama that unfolds before us like a History Channel documentary, the real incursion is being rolled out through small and seemingly mundane maneuvers that do not rise to the occasion of an outright emergency. The problem is not “move fast and break things.” The real problems move slow, break things, and avoid detection.

I’m David Gunkel and that’s my Perspective.

Northern Illinois University professor and author