The Rockford Files

If We Make It Through December

From oracles to astrology to double predestination, men throughout history have sought hope in a glimpse of their future.  As the Greeks well understood, however, foreknowledge is usually at the root of tragedy, and even Saint Augustine warned against consulting astrologers not because astrology is mere superstition but because of the possibility that the astrologers’ forecasts might be right.  We cannot properly live our lives day to day when we know how they are destined to end.

The same is true of the lives of cities and of nations.  Knowing that our time on earth must someday draw to a close is essential to being human; knowing—or wanting to know—the day and the hour and the circumstances is likely to lead us only to despair.

I have written here before that Rock-ford is dying, and I don’t intend to take back those words.  Some clarification, however, might be in order.  The city of Rockford may survive as long as the United States does; indeed, it may well exist long after this unwieldy continental empire has crumbled.  It won’t, however, be the city that we know today—a solidly middle-class, Middle American, European-derived community built on manufacturing.  The growth of Rockford’s population over the past decade was entirely the result of Hispanic immigration; the white population is declining.  Today, healthcare and public education...

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