Robert J. Emery's Blog

This blog is about my latest non-fiction book AMERICAN: STANDING STRONG. I spent over a year researching and assembling what I hope is a serious examination of the past six to seven years, a period that saw the world and America faced with challenge after challenge. Here is a look at what the book is about.

 

We spend much of our lives trying to sort out the perplexities of life: Why are we here; does it make any sense; does it even matter? We, humans, are problems solvers, driven to seek definitions of who we are, where we’ve been, how might it have been different, and lastly, how do we make it better going forward.

That last one is the key to our survival.

Except for natural disasters beyond our control, we are the masters of the planet. That makes us responsible for everything that happens in our personal lives, and together, the lives of others. Thankfully, mankind’s quest for knowledge and discovery never stops. If we can muster our combined will, we can and must meet challenges head-on and come up with solutions. We have little choice. If there was a time to look over our shoulders and reevaluate who we are and who we want to be, that time is now.

Back in 1920, when Warren G. Harding was running for the office of president, in a campaign stop in Boston, he spoke the following words that are appropriate for our current time: “America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy… The country does not require a revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise.”

Mr. Harding’s words ring true at a time when America and the world are seeing more dark sunsets than bright sunrises. A wave of mental exhaustion has swept across the world and America coalescing into one of the most cataclysmic periods in recent memory. Here in America, it has left a lasting impact on society to the point that no one knows what to believe or who to trust anymore. We seek definitions and normalcy, and they can’t come fast enough.

It is time for reflection with both honesty and open minds in our quest for the truth. We can’t just wish what has happened away. A wish, after all, is not a plan, it never is. So, with courage and conviction, and a good dose of hesitation, we’ll glance in the mirror and examine this closer further on.

I read three excellent books by investigative journalists Bob Woodward, Robert Costa, Michael Bender, and Carol Leonnig. All dealt with the election of the prior administration and the political turmoil that followed. But there was yet another more urgent story that wasn’t being told that dealt with what we had and continue to endure and how we dealt with and reacted to the pandemic, the 2020 election, the Black Lives Matter movement, the January 6th attack on the Capital, the supply train problems, soaring food and gas prices, growing labor shortages, high rents causing thousands to go homeless, and climate changes that have led to increasingly worse droughts, violent storms, and fires.

Research for this book began in mid-March of 2021 and continued for almost two months before the first word was written. Then, in March of 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. It was Syria all over again with images of Ukrainian women and children and the elderly crowding trains to escape the massacre and destruction while able-bodied men remained behind to protect and fight for Ukraine’s independence as a sovereign democratic country.

A quote by scientist Albert Einstein reads like a dark prophecy. “I don’t know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.” Einstein realized that in time we would create technology that would bring about the destruction of most of, if not all, of humanity with the push of a few buttons, and suddenly that possibility was real. Whatever lingering problems we were dealing with at home paled in comparison.

As if the pain, suffering, and divisiveness were not enough, there was and remains a barrage of vulgar and intrusive noise constantly seeking our attention from an endless daily flow of misinformation and conspiracy theories. It’s everywhere, inflicting fear as well consequences.

In the Mahabharata, one of the major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the warrior Karna speaks the line: “I see it now—the world is swiftly passing.”

And so it is, Karna, so it is, and we’re running as fast as we can to catch up.

I am neither a scientist, scholar, nor a philosopher. I am, however, a concerned citizen of the world who remains curious and who seeks answers from an everyman’s perspective of the adverse effects recent events will have on future generations. On their behalf, we are obligated to seek answers.

This book is not intended to rehash what we already know, but to understand what we may not, or have yet to acknowledge. To that end, I have gathered the voices of investigative reporters, scholars, scientists, medical professionals, politicians, and an endless string of quotes along with my observations. Included are links to sources for those who wish to delve further into the subjects discussed. Some may find the thinks a useful study guide to more information from credible sources.

Although the contents of this book are contemplative and at times dispiriting, we must always keep our sense of humor. If we deny ourselves that we have lost everything. Like the British actress, Dame Judi Dench, said, “The great thing of all is to have a sense of humor. And if you’re born with it, at least you’ve got that going for you.”

Life is short, we only die once, but live every day, so stay curious.