Home Opinion Another Threat for your Checklist--Breakdown of Civil Society

Another Threat for your Checklist--Breakdown of Civil Society


In what seems like a pretty significant eternity ago (about two months), we reviewed our fledgling blog and talked about threats and risk--what we had covered so far, what we expected to cover in the future, and what we hoped we would never have to cover. An example of the first was the Paris terrorist attacks; the second, earthquakes; the third, an EMP.

Some threats by their very nature are overt--such as flooding. You know when you're being flooded. Some are more covert--climate change. We've ignored decades of indicators of climate change, and only now that low-lying communities around the world are beginning to subside beneath the sea, droughts are causing wars, and so on, do we begin to realize and acknowledge that we should have started taking action long ago, and we're way behind the power curve.

Today's topic is one that didn't make the list at all--Breakdown of Civil Society. Yet, we've been talking about the issue all along from various directions and perspectives. These specific discussions talk about threats that are indicative that our system of society is breaking down:

At the same time, we've also offered solutions--solutions that emphasize our craft and the heroes that enable it:

So what went missing?

What went missing is, in a word, politics. The hatred, intolerance, and vitriol that has been building in our society towards our government, our political systems, and essentially anyone that disagrees with us appears to be approaching a dangerous level, arguably not seen since 1968--which, if we don't start making the right choices soon, may well degrade our society to a condition that may be completely dysfunctional. Consider these symptoms:

What could possibly go wrong?

Obviously, a lot can go wrong--and is going wrong as we speak. One only has to look at mass shooting statistics to understand that something is horribly wrong in our country--something that will impact the mission, at some point or another, of every emergency management professional everywhere.

Next time, I'll explore how these political dysfunctions are eroding our society--and what we need to do about it. What we need to do about it will challenge every emergency manager to become a manifestation of his or her better self--a self driven by integrity; with an ingrained, inflexible, objective sense of right and wrong, and an understanding of the need to do right; and an unwavering commitment to his and her served public that depends on them for safety and security.

Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.