Monitoring the public essays of recent weeks in The Signal, I observed a uniquely timed confluence of ideas between the ideologies of left and right.
We remember the function of catalysts back from 11th grade science classes. A compound or object mixed or inserted into something else generates a change in both –usually dramatic and sometimes unexpected.
Using basic examples of a “catalyst” from “yourdictionary.com” we see: “If you light a match in a room with hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, there will be an explosion and most of the hydrogen and oxygen will combine to create water molecules.” That one is chemical – the ignition of a match creates water through an explosion.
Another, but human, one: “The West High School girls basketball team was behind in the playoff game with a score of 51-45, and the players were losing steam. With two minutes left in the game, the coach put in the substitute point guard, Ella. Ella was fresh with energy and just what the team needed. She scored two baskets within the first minute, sparking energy in her teammates. West High rallied and won the game 52-51. Ella was the catalyst that caused her team to win.”
Another example thanks to “yourdictionary.com.”
Catalysts are everywhere – and you’ve likely seen them all over your own life. Friends who helped your kids do better in school. A medical cure that redirected a dying loved one to a full and productive life.
Maybe a bully who eventually toughened up a kid to protect others. Or a personal tragedy that made hard hearts more sympathetic to the pain and suffering of others.
We should recognize catalysts for the change – good and bad – they may trigger. Catalysts coming from seemingly all directions may be harnessed as agents for human progress.
Back to The Signal columns: Increasingly we’ve seen a convergence or “coming together” of common values and desired outcomes from once desperate ideologies. Two of The Signal’s regular right-sided authors have spoken out repeatedly for the need for constructive health care reform that protects all Americans at all levels, regardless of economic status.
The sick, the weakest, to the rich but seriously ill, all need and deserve comprehensive care. That we have to revise our dogma, values, and functional system for a rich nation like America to deliver important basic human services to its people.
Tuesday, Maria Gutzeit penned a beautiful column stressing for all parties to gather together to meet and exchange collaborative ideas and give of themselves to move public interests forward. That we must lay our swords and shields to the ground and instead engage in constructive work – yes, the work our nation so desperately needs.
These sentiments are emerging all over the media; reading from The Signal is just the local tip of the iceberg.
People are exhausted. We’re perhaps at the ending stage of being completely fed up with federal dysfunction. We’re too tired to focus and fight over numerically immaterial wedge issues while the Big Picture in America continues stagnating – or worse, declining.
From infrastructure improvement to educational access to “What the heck we’re all going to do for jobs as AI and robots continue their advance” – we’re getting closer to each other than further apart. We are united in our frustration with stagnation.
East and West and fly-over states – there’s political fatigue with fighting and a deep yearning for productive solutions.
Perhaps Republicans are the hydrogen and Democrats the oxygen (or vice versa, so as not to ruffle feathers on either side) and Donald Trump and his do-nothing Congress are the matches that light us up. Trump sends his tweets like kids playing with fire and Congress refuses to air out the garage. Blamo!
And from the suffocating concoction of hydrogen and oxygen unexpectedly erupts … life-giving water.
Maybe it’s not too starry-eyed to believe that, given the ever-broadening tsunami of disgust with American national politics, a new attitude, a new spirit will blow out of the upcoming explosion. Trump may have been that national player who somehow woke our team (through disgust) to change the path of our national game.
You know we want it.
1. Affordable and accessible health care. Check.
2. Good schools for all kids. Check.
3. Fair justice for all. Check.
4. Clear air and water with balanced regulation. Check.
5. Reduced government intrusion into our personal choices. Check.
6. Reduced wars and loss of American life. Check.
7. Respect for our leaders by other countries. Check.
8. America, a beacon of freedom and just for the world. Check.
None of this is unreasonable. All of it would help the vast majority. We can get there. John McCain may be the brave leader who jars Congress into constructive change.
The embarrassment of a Trump presidency to 70 percent of Americans may be the match that has us choosing a reasonable leader next shot around. The explosion may move enough of us to the “reasonable center.”
The Signal, with its convergence of right and left, may be the canary in the mine or the melting Arctic shelf.
Change is coming – and we’ve got to pull together to make it for the better and for the best.
Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.