Nightfall In America – Posted to Myspace November 6, 2008 at 8:37am
“Nightfall” is the name of a short story written in 1943 by Isaac Asimov. It is an undisputed classic piece of speculative science fiction. In it you find a world perched on the brink of madness. The sun only sets on their world every two thousand years and no one knows what will happen when night falls. As the darkness approaches everyone – from religious fanatics to scientific ultra-realists – finds themselves consumed by their fear of the unknown. Disaster looms.
In this story (and now novel of the same name written with Robert Silverberg in 1990) I find some helpful parallels to the situation America finds herself in today. We know that the near future will be fraught with tribulations economic, political, and social. The nation’s incoming leadership is untested and has given little reassurance as to how they will handle things other than with platitudes. No one knows how things will turn out and the fear of this unknown has caused great stress for a great many. Unchecked fear causes people to behave irrationally and worsen their situations unnecessarily through panic, anger, and paranoia.
This world has its share of loons on any given day. Giving in to your fear of the unknown is a slow form of mental poisoning that can drive you mad. Find strength in the things that you hold dear and close. Realize that those things you cannot control are less important than the things you can. Have faith. Be strong. Be prepared. Be ready. People who love you will need you. They will need your strength. They will need your knowledge. They will need your calm.
As night falls on America, we look for the guiding light of the first stars in the sky. Be that guiding light for those around you. Steer clear of those who wander in the wilderness of the unknown and wallow in fear and despair. You should be one who sets their foot on the path to the future each day with the faith and courage to see that when the dawn comes to America she will still stand as strong and as full of promise as ever.