Our age is one of distraction, denial, diversion, drift, deflection, and a host of other such terms of avoiding being here now, in the present.
"Pay no attention to that man(reality) behind the curtain" is the defining metaphor for our time.
What is necessary to understand in the present is that our current cultural convulsion — the constant, distracting storm of outrage and panic and hatred and denunciation that plays out over social media and in real life every day — is being used as moral camouflage for failing institutions, from city governments to federal agencies and from the college campus to the commanding heights of media and technology. The burghers of the Bay Area won’t be around to comment on the weather in 100 years, and they’d much rather not talk about what’s happening down at the corner drugstore right now.
It is important for governments to look to the future and to understand history — planting trees under the shade of which we never will sit and all that. But governments at all levels also have a responsibility to the here and now, to the clear and present, to the local and the ordinary — a responsibility to see what is in front of their noses and, when necessary, try to do something useful in response to it.