Back in the 1990s I was thinking about the future history and I thought that Heinlein had really blown it. He himself, when he put together that chart, was living in the crazy years, which included a worldwide depression, the rise of genocidal and frankly insane regimes in major countries, and finally a huge world war. Surely these were crazy years?
Looking back from now until 2001, however, I have to say that I am less critical of what was after all a fictional construct for the fun of it. Put aside 9/11 and the American reaction to it – at least the direct reaction. How about today's events, as seen through various Internet sources?
- In a major jurisdiction in North America, a gay woman is elected premier and nobody notices or cares.
- After billions and billions of dollars invested, an American client regime in Iraq begins to collapse, with American trained soldiers throwing away their weapons and stripping off their uniforms.
- Next to the World Cup, the most puzzling sporting event is the Battle of Nations, "medieval historical warfare" mostly fought between teams from Eastern Europe at a venue in Croatia. Russia and Ukraine, which are almost at war with each other now, are leading in the standings.
- And of course one must mention the lunatic spouting of American politicians who seem to be dedicated to building a theocracy.
One of these things is not like the others, of course: the election of Kathleen Wynne's party in Ontario. Everyone who cared about the sex life of Ontario's Premier, a smaller number than you might think, knew she was gay. She had been premier for a while, succeeding her predecessor when he retired. This was the first time she led the party into an election. Her orientation was not even mentioned during the campaign.
I was at an event in Ontario not long ago where same-sex couples are allowed to take part in a prestigious contest on an equal basis with heterosexual couples for the first time. There was a very positive response to this turn of events, but I was blasé and did not mention it when I wrote up a short account of it. I told a friend that I did not know whether society had moved on on this issue, but I had.
Now there is evidence that at least in this part of North America, society seems to have moved on pretty definitively.
Which does not cancel out what I said about the crazy years. I'm just glad to keep some aspects of the crazy a little bit further away from me than some people are able to do.