In my youth "the price of rice in China" was a challenge to irrelevance: "What's that got to do with the price of rice in China?" It was a comparison: what can be more remote from us than the price of rice in China? It spoke for depression babies like me, whose older siblings and parents had overcome in both world-wide depression and world war, and we were reaping the reward.
The price of rice in China remained irrelevant for me until this morning, when the opening story on GMA was about the price of rice. After we watched the story I said to Donna, "The four horsemen are on the ride."
The four horsemen are biblical figures who furnished the title of a popular novel and movie of the early twentieth century. They appear in John's vision, when the first seal is broken in Revelation 6. The four horses are white, red, black, and pale green. The white represented conquest (probably conquest by Christ, named as the Word of God and the King of Kings, who appears on a white horse in chapter 19). War rode the red horse, Famine rode the black, and death rode the pale green.
In Revelation, the only hope of the world is the rider on the white horse; war, famine, and death are the fate of the world otherwise.
The rice shortage occasioned my declaration that the four horsemen are riding. I do not mean that I know the cosmos is coming to an end ("the sky be rolled back as a scroll" the hymn says), but it's a conviction nearing certainty for me that our civilization is finished. The combination of greed, prejudice, hatred, ideology, and stupidity—inevitably expressed in war, famine, and death-- are creating a perfect storm we are unlikely to survive.
Famine is having its turn in the news today—famine not caused by natural disaster, but by the drastic brew of human sin named above. Tomorrow war will get its turn, and the day after that the newest fatal plague will be the headline story.
I said we will get FDR; not because anybody, including the new administration, especially wants him back, but because for the survival of the nation it will have to reject the special interests that brought it to power. While they line up with their hands open, waiting for their pay-off, the new administration will ignore them and do whatever it takes to accomplish what must done, by finding whatever feasible way it can to address the common good.
"Feasible" includes "constitutional." The common good transcends immediate political and strategic goals.
If you need to relearn what the common good is, it is in the Preamble to our Constitution: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.