I can think of no better example that demonstrates the acceleration of our world than the current UAW strike of GM. If you could time travel back 20, 30, 40 years and tell a fellow Michigander, "Yeah, the UAW is striking GM, and it's barely in the top ten of things that people are talking about," they'd just look at you and say, "Well you ain't talking about Michigan."
Yes, of course, those pre-Great Recession times were very different. The auto industry was much more dominant. The roles of labor and management were much more defined. It was truly central to our midwest industrial lives. But mostly there was arguably just much less happening. We are so filled up now, constantly, that there is no time to pause and consider. There is barely enough time to catch the next bit of news that flashes across our individual screens.
It's a shame, too, because there is a lot to consider with this strike. Do we value a living wage? Do we desire fair working conditions? Do we care about the viability of the auto industry? And what's the best way to work it out? Unfortunately the sheer volume of information coming at us through the firehose dilutes it all.
I'm going to the annual convention for the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists this weekend and expect 68% of the kvetching will be about exactly this: How can we possibly keep up? (The remaining balance will be about how stupid newspapers are and the price of beer in the current bar we are in.)
John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.