We tend to think of tipping points as statistical models, hypothetical markers based on researched probabilities. Point of no return milestones resulting in irreversible consequences. Modern tipping points focus on climate, water, population and energy sources. Few of us ponder cultural tipping points – events born of seemingly unrelated events, evolving imperceptibly into critical situations. Once reached, nothing will ever be the same.
Often characterized as dire alterations to our way of life, tipping points languish in the realm of negative hysteria. So much so, dismissing their presence prevents us from seeing them coming. In truth, tipping points make themselves abundantly clear once you recognize the signs.
Irrational hysteria is a dead give-away – tantamount to denial’s stage of grief, actions characterized by defiance, finger pointing and name calling. Indications of disbelief followed by angry bouts of blame or misplaced ridicule are a sure sign something’s about to tip.
I can’t help but think American politics are headed for a tip. Once upon a time America possessed the equivalent of medieval codes of chivalry – polite conduct befitting citizens of a highly civilized society. There used to be rules. At the very least, every attempt was made to present reasonable arguments – to back your agenda with appearances of logic. America used to know where the stood on issues, people were Republican or Democrat. Political parties with ideological differences yet commonality of purpose to preserve a great nation.
Lately immature displays of juvenile ignorance undermine that purpose. Gone are veiled facades of decency, increasingly present are petulant accusations of unsubstantiated nonsense. Wake up America, it’s not amusing, a tipping point is about to blow up in your face.