I grew up in small town America and look back nostalgically at what I now know was a privileged and cherished childhood. While I lived in a one-parent home and money was tight, I had everything I needed. In spite of the rural agricultural landscape, I had wonderful teachers who instilled a love for math and science and the arts. Somewhere along the way I developed an interest in political and world affairs. Television became available for the masses when I was in grade school. I remember watching from age 6 every political campaign and presidential election from Eisenhower on to the present day. There were few nonwhite racial groups growing up around me other than a large Hispanic community who came to work on the farms. I started learning Spanish from a friend’s Puerto Rican mother from third grade onward. I did not see or hear racial prejudice in my hometown although I’m sure it existed to some degree. Tolerance toward others, concern for those less fortunate, the value of hard work—all those so-called western values permeated the world I inhabited, and I absorbed my share.
Not that those times were without worry or stress or battles. Riding the wave of the early post-war Baby Boomers, nuclear war was never far from our minds, the Korean hot War laid the foundations for the mess we find ourselves in today. Senator McCarthy went on his anti-communist crusade, the Freedom Riders made their stand against racial injustice, and Sputnik scared the crap out of us. I remember going out at night to watch the satellite cross the sky. After that everyone wanted to be a scientist. Then things turned sour. President Kennedy was assassinated during my senior year in high school. Vietnam came and led to the tumultuous 1960s.
Are things worse today or are we simply experiencing the same crazy world that we made back then? Who knows? And,what about the grandkids? What kind of world will they have to make a life in?
Nearly 100 years ago John Maynard Keynes wrote a short essay titled “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.” He predicted that by today, a hundred years hence, the standard of life in the United States and Europe would be so improved that the economic problem of scarcity would be solved. The new problem would be how to use all our free time.
The only function of economic forecasting, as John Kenneth Galbraith once said, is to make astrology look respectable. Keynes was right about the rate of economic growth and the standard of living. What he missed was that the ethos of consumerism rules the western mind in a way that never allows enough time to let down the guard. Live to work is the American motto, not work to live.
Keynes missed a few other things too. He failed to see the rise of a global elite and the enormous increase in inequality of income and wealth that left large swaths of the population behind. He didn’t realize how an expanding carbon footprint from the bourgeoning economy and population would lead to deadly environmental conditions. He didn’t envision toxic divisions between class and race that would lead to Hitler in midcentury and to a resurgence of white supremacy in our own time.
And now, at a time when we most need leadership and honesty, competence and integrity, and someone to bring us together we have a President who seems incapable of any of the above. President Trump had a very bad week. I don’t like hitting someone when they are down. But, he spews untruths unabashedly, he disdains science, he divides us along class and racial lines for his political gain, he acts as the worst kind of narcissist. I have never in my lifetime seen a President act like this.
At the risk of making the astrologers look respectable, I’ll make a forecast. Things will not get better until Trump goes. We might muddle along, it’s never wise to bet against America. Cooler heads might prevail to prevent us falling off the cliff into one disaster after another. But, things will not get better. They will be mediocre at best.
Why take the chance? It’s time to rid ourselves of this toxic golfer who throws even his own supporters under the bus. Republicans, we need you to stand up. It’s time to think about your grandchildren. What will you tell them in years hence when they ask what you did when the shit hit the fan? How will you face them?
So I ask you and everyone else who is currently sitting on their hands pissing and moaning. What about the grandkids? Don’t they deserve better than than Donald the Menace?
The artist unknown napkin art…I know who the artist is…..
Are you sure you don’t mean Leonardo DiCaprio? I think he was seen in the Sea Gull doodling at about age 10.
Freaking awesome commentary, KD! Please Send it to NY Times Op/Ed page. I think it has a very good chance of being published. Don’t sit on your hand and piss and moan and Just Do It!
Thanks, you’re very kind.