Until last Friday, there was a huge tree that dominated a section of my back yard. From everything I could tell, the tree was healthy and vibrant — tall and lush and beautiful. But a brief thunderstorm Friday brought strong wind and rain. I happened to point my iPhone through the screen of an upstairs window to shoot a few seconds of video of the storm just in time to see that huge tree collapse like a toothpick.
When the rain ended, I was able to look at the tree. It turned out that the inside was rotten and dead. The outside of the tree and all the branches and leaves above were green and gave every indication of being healthy. But the core had apparently been dead for a long time.
Is the same thing going on in the United States today? The U.S. government appears strong. It has the world’s most powerful military. It still has influence far beyond the population that it rules. But decades of borrowing and spending are gutting the U.S. economy. Is the U.S. state more dead than we realize? Is it just going to take one powerful, sudden wind to knock it over, leaving its dead trunk lying around waiting to be cut up and carted away?