The Mayans were right. We just had an apocalypse.
By HAMPTON STEVENS
Special to The Star
Go ahead and laugh. Everyone had a good chuckle when the winter solstice passed and the Earth wasnt consumed by locusts. But no one promised global destruction, just change. Apocalypse means uncovering or revelation, after all. And 2012 was a year for that.
In this country, we saw watershed changes. Some form of national health care now seems inevitable, despite the remaining resistance.
On Election Day, we voted for a Mormon or an African-African, yet race and religion were non-issues in the campaign. Two states legalized marijuana, declaring the country is finally ready to end the disastrous drug war.
Voters also endorsed same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington, while Minnesota rejected an anti-gay union bill. Whatever your beliefs on the subject of gay marriage, that represents a dramatic shift from just a few years ago.
Tragedy and disaster are also agents of change. Two of 2012s worst moments had the name Sandy.
Superstorm Sandy physically ravaged portions of the East Coast. But the emotional devastation at Sandy Hook was somehow worse. In its wake, a sea change came, with the country no longer willing to tolerate the toxic mix of untreated mental illness and easily available assault-style weapons.
The principle of individual self-defense enshrined by Constitution must be preserved. Nevertheless, no right is absolute.
The First Amendment has limits. So must the Second. It is perfectly reasonable to close the secondary market loopholes that allow anyone to buy military-grade weapons without a background check and a majority of National Rifle Association members agree.
But something else changed at Sandy Hook. Even the staunch-est anti-gun advocates seem to have realized that new laws alone wont change anything unless we also address the deeper ills of our frayed social fabric.
In all these changes there is one underlying theme: feminization. Politically, economically and culturally, female power is on the rise.
On guns, health care, race, religion and gender, we see our country becoming ever less confrontational, more nurturing and sympathetic. Hannah Rosin described that in her 2012 bestseller, The End of Men. At this years TEDxKC, author John Gerzema talked about it his book, The Athena Doctrine, a study of how governments around the world are embracing traditionally feminine values for instance by stressing negotiation over combat.
You see evidence of it everywhere in the rise of environmentalism and in calls for women to become priests and rabbis. This emerging feminine worldview is even evident in this countrys sudden anxiety over the health of NFL players and the not-too-shocking news that multiple concussions are bad for the brain.
Looking at this sweeping feminization, its odd to note that the just-concluded Mayan cycle began about 5,100 years ago during the Neolithic revolution. Thats when most of humanity switched from worshiping goddesses to gods.
Now at the start of a new cycle, female power is on the rise. That could be a mere coincidence. But maybe the Earth really did just reach some cosmic tipping point. Is it truly so far-fetched and unscientific? Consider that physicists at the University of Washington announced last week they began an experiment to see whether our entire universe is actually a computer simulation.
If something so bizarre is possible, all bets are off.
In any case, whether they were just lucky or knew something we dont, the Mayans were right about 2012 after all. Everyone got so busy making fun of the fake apocalypse, they didnt even notice when the real one came.
Hampton Stevens of Kansas City is a writer for national publications. Reach him at email@example.com or c/o Editorial Page, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.