It starts small, of course.....so as to hardly be noticeable......
Certain traditions go by the wayside......we don't dress for dinner. Multiple courses followed by the proper libation and lively topical conversation becomes one course and staring at electronic devices.
We go from writing letters by hand to writing emails by device to boiling down an entire message into 120-odd characters; sacrificing the personal connection for the speed of light.
News becomes less reporting and more opinionating.
With the advent of the electronics age, and global access to all our thoughts, our opinions are so important, we shout them from rooftops, hoping to drown out the other opinions, and therefore....become fact.
Even the things that would be considered the dark side of human nature....say, settling a high school score by meeting after school behind the dumpsters becomes darker....sneaking through a quiet neighborhood to fire random shots into a house.
And yes, some of these changes come quickly and suddenly and shock us to the core, if we have souls with which to feel; twenty five hundred people wiped out in a morning. A twelve year old boy with a BB gun and a misbegotten and untimely urge. Explosions at sporting events.
And we are shocked.
Until we are no longer shocked.
And we grow up again (for we never really stop) in a world where the police are always wearing armor and those that raise their voices in protest wear masks; where blatant corruption is met with a shrug and a sigh as if that's what is supposed to happen in the halls of our legislative and judicial branches; with the belief that all of our actions are legitimate and justifiable because we live in the Land of the Free, and at the same time condemn those that do the same thing because they stand on the other side of some random and unimportant line than you do.
And we, together, either in blatant action or the tacit approval that inaction provides, take the blades to civility as to Caesar in the Roman Senate.
And then we wonder how somebody so uncouth, so obviously corrupt in word and deed, so completely lacking in manners, in taste, and in knowledge of the world around him that the entire world shudders at the thought of him in any position of power can be nominated to be the "Leader of the Free World."
He is, in fact, the personification of what the world believes us to be.
We have met the enemy. And they is us.