Friday, November 11, 2016

Talking Heads and Pen Pushers: Nobody knows anything.

How the fuck did this happen?

            No, I’m not asking how Donald Trump got elected President of the United States – that’s bloody obvious. A pile of people went to the voting booths and put a little “x” beside his name on the ballot, or pressed a button or pulled a lever or whatever-the-fuck it is they do down there.

            Nor am I asking why they did that, which is also obvious: they think the magic-man will wave his fairy dust and make them all rich and powerful, without any of Hillary’s blah blah blahing. (When are the politicians going to get that “blah blah blah” doesn’t cut it anymore?)

            No, what I’m asking is how all those alleged experts, self-assured commentators, talking heads, pundits, pollsters and pin-headed pen pushers could have kept reassuring me that it couldn’t happen. From each and every one of ‘em, the line was the same: “Trump’s done, Amen”. I’m looking at you Scott Gilmore of Macleans, who wrote October 31 (page 32) “Without some cataclysmic surprise, Donald Trump has lost”. Cataclysmic surprise indeed! And you Jonathon Gatehouse, writing in the same issue of the same magazine that Trump’s presidential hopes were “plummeting”. And you Nick Taylor-Vaisey, telling me just a few pages later his “campaign may be melting down”.  That’s just one lousy magazine! [i]

            Everywhere you looked, even the conservative ones were doing their “thank God that’s over” victory lapses before the race was even over. By what evidence, data or logic did they come to this complacent conclusion? Apparently just ‘cause all the other ones said so. “He’s so ridiculous, he couldn’t possibly  make it. The People couldn’t be that stupid”.

            Well, they can and they were. But these egg-headed experts were just as clueless.
Was it naivete? Wistful thinking or wilful blindness? Only Michael Moore, who actually talks to working class people, saw it coming. He tried to sound the alarm, but they didn’t listen to him either.

            I remember after the first debate having a sinking, stinking feeling that Trump had it in the bag. “My money’s on Trump” I wrote in my journal. Everyone went on about how much more presidential, more professional, more eloquent, more logical, more factual, more inclusive, more policy specific, more graceful under pressure Hillary was, which was absolutely true. And it didn’t matter a bucket of dog spit! If any of that mattered, Trump wouldn’t have gotten that far.

            Do you think a Trump supporter cares that he groped women? Hates Mexicans? Had no political experience? No fucking clue what he was talking about? If they cared, they wouldn’t have been Donald Trump supporters. So it didn’t matter how much more qualified Hilary proved herself to be, she couldn’t dent his narrative and didn’t really try. What she needed to do was try to undermine Trump on his own terms, demonstrating, somehow, that he couldn’t actually do what he promised, while she, somehow, could. How could she, or indeed anyone, have done that? Well. . .not by doing what she did. Not with all that blah blah blahing. . .

Trump had won, I felt it, I smelt it. But everyone, I say everyone, went on about how wonderful Hilary had been and how ridiculous Trump was and how it was as good as done. So of course I think to myself that I’m just imagining things because, after all, what do I know? I’m just a lousy peanut-gallerist, they’re the experts, they’re supposed to know this shit, not me.    

Would it have made a difference? Probably not, but maybe the Trumpeters might not be so god-damned smug right now.   

[i] Gilmore, Scott. “The Morning After Donald Trump” Macleands, October 31, 2016, page 32
Gatehouse, Jonathon “Could This Get Any Worse?” Macleans, October 31, 2016. page 28
(Damn friggin’ right it can!)
Taylor – Vaisey, Nick. “The Perfect Voters”. Macleans, Occtober 31, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Slow Suicide Trumps all. . . (In which the author gives up on his fellow man)

They say most species go extinct eventually, and dogs, given the chance, will eat themselves to death. Why should humans, being apes, behave any differently?

The Easter Islanders chopped down every tree on their island to erect their statues, and erected themselves out of existence. Did not one of them see they were on the march to extinction?

Ronald Wright, in his CBC lecture series, argued that most great civilizations of the past went the same way. The Mesopotamians. The Greeks. The Romans. Each consumed more than their environment could provide. Each went down like a deck of cards.

Now it’s our turn. 

As I write, it is almost impossible that Donald Trump will not be the next President of the United States. The nation that produced Thomas Jefferson and Frederick Douglas is following Bozo the Clown en-masse into his little car to oblivion. Legions of the alienated, the disillusioned, the disenchanted, the disenfranchised, the lost and forgotten have spit up the lies they’ve been force fed for generations. But instead of rolling up their sleeves and taking on the real enemy, they’ve accepted the poisoned kool-aid of the nearest miracle man, following him lemming-like straight to a precipice in search of la-la land.

Democrats are as much to blame as anyone: complacent, self-satisfied, self-serving, tone-deaf dullards all. They saw Trump blow away his rivals like match-sticks, and huge swaths of their own party – the youngest, most energetic, most ready-to-vote dedicated among them - throw themselves behind a self-proclaimed socialist. The people were thirsting for change, salivating for something different, and what did these donkeys offer? More of the same! Here’s Hillary Clinton, Ms. Establishment, best friend of Wall Street, Goldman-Sachs Laureate, and her melba toast running mate. Isn’t that exciting folks?

Trump is our nemesis, sent to punish our hubris and complacency.  He’s the kind of phoney revolutionary folks go for when real revolutionaries can’t get their act together. They promise miracles, blame everything on outsiders and minorities, and hearken back to mythical golden ages. They offer easy answers and quick fixes; they shield delicate minds from pesky realities, and protect them from the burden of thought.

The scariest thing about a Trump Presidency is the thing probably least focussed on; his environmental policy. Whatever his misogyny or his racism or his voodoo economics, there’s little he can do that can’t be undone by the next President (god willing, someone else). But Climate Change is happening in real time. It may be too late already. It will not wait another four years. Trump wants to tear up the Paris Climate treaty, drill for oil wherever it may be found, and go back to burning coal. He apparently wants to take back the title of “World’s Biggest Polluter”.  Without the USA onboard, the rest of the world’s efforts are largely token. There’s no way China or India will do much if America doesn’t do anything. Billions more tons of carbon pumped into the air just when there desperately needs to be less. This decade was our last chance – we may as well give up now.

This is not a trivial issue, and this isn't hyperboyle. This will NOT resolve itself, and it is NOT reversible. This WILL have real, very bad consequences that we will not be able to undue. So sit there and laugh all you want, but the science is in, and as indisputable as heliocentrism: the climate is changing, and Trump and his groupies won't even try to stop it.

Interesting how those most callous about Climate Change are the ones who will never have to live with its consequences. Seventy-year old Trump will be long gone before the caps melt. He will never have to live in that world. Someone else will have to pay his bill. Not only doesn’t he care, I’ll bet Mr. “I don’t pay taxes” is tickled pink. “Makes him smart” I suppose.

Trump has exploited legitimate grievances to satisfy his boundless ego, and raised people’s desperate hopes with promises he knows damn well he can’t keep, emboldening racists and anti-semites and sexists and every kind of bigot along the way. But he was chosen by the people. Every democratic society gets the leader it deserves, and democratic societies have a healthy record of voting democracy away. Meanwhile, we’re fast clearing every tree on the island, and just elected to keep right on going, though the end is clearly in sight. We don’t care that bozo’s car is heading straight for the abyss, so long as we get a turn in the front seat.

Maybe our statues will outlive us.