An existential crisis of a year…
So, how did your year go? If your a member of humanity on planet Earth, 2016 might have been, well, a bit of a downer. Yeah, we’re talking about the major downturn of things for the worse, politically speaking.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Great, yet another pundit, blogging on just what they think on Trump and Brexit…”¯ believe me, we’re the last ones wanting to add our voice to the din. Plus, we tend not to be political in our public and professional life; call it a hold over from our days in the military, serving under leaders we did and more often than not, did not vote for.
The irony is, 2016 was a great year for us personally. We got to travel once again, see new sights, meet new people. Plus, we demonstrated to ourselves that we could sustain long term travel indefinitely, with a cash in flow equaling outflow.
We were also glad to be in the remote Spanish countryside when news of the U.S. election results came. Whenever the enormity of the implications struck us, we could simply close our laptops and soak in the countryside… we didn’t have to make our way into work the next day or interface with the ugly exposed underside of human nature.
Sure, it’ll be in our face soon enough. We’re headed back to Florida soon, which is, as per usual, ground zero for the political divide in the United States. But we also see the return as a sort of duty: working to reverse a very bad turn for our country around in Florida counts a little more there than in most states.
And the bad news is, we already know 2017 will be a tough year for the country politically, before we turn the calendar page. Trump has never held public office, and the last president we had for which this was true, Eisenhower at least had experience as Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. Trump is also not a populist or a candidate ‘for the people,’ but a rich businessman turned demagogue with his own financial interests at heart. He also tapped into the ugliest of racial and misogynist sentiments to get elected, something many won’t forgive him for. He’ll also find it tough to divorce himself from such despicable characters now that he’s made said bed.
We’re in for a rough year, for sure. Expect the rich to get just a little richer, and the middle class to shrink just a little more. This is, of course, a prescription for disaster, as the America we’ve known comes to resemble more of a banana republic than a true representative democracy. Our one shining hope is that we can begin to turn our country back from xenophobic fascism using the system during mid-term elections in 2018. That’s not that far away… and we can start laying the grassroots for true change now.
We do think the electoral college (and the voting system in general) is due for reform, though using as a ruse to overturn an election result is not the time to do it. Here’s a thought: keep the electoral college, but portion out votes in districts rather than ‘winner takes all’ per state. Hey, Maine and Nebraska already do just that, and individual states could take the lead on this, while leaving the electoral college and the original constitutional vision in place.
We also need to start having real conversations in this country. Do you know a conservative? A liberal? Try having legitimate discussions instead of shouting sound bites back and forth. The alternative is becoming a polarized nation such as Cambodia during Pol Pot or Yugoslavia after the breakup, pitting neighbor against neighbor and rural country folk against urban intelligentsia.
If there’s any silver-lining in all this, it’s the fact that the upcoming generation will do better. There are signs that the upcoming millennials worldwide are overwhelmingly progressive. The key is for the youth to remain uncorrupted by greed and fear.
Well, that’s our two cents. We promise that this is our one political rant for the year, and we’ll be back to talking science and space next week. And hey, there’s an eclipse next year, so there’s that…
maybe 2017 won’t be so bad after all.