From the other night here in rural Sweden where things seem peacefully timeless – at least until you go online.
Generally speaking, I’m an optimistic dude. I literally wake up most mornings and have at least one fun or interesting thing to look forward to. Today, it was first practicing yoga, then making a tasty breakfast for Charlotte, and finally, working on a super-snazzy presentation for a client.
I’m taking a break from that right now. Got to get some thoughts out of my head.
I still read a lot. Mostly news from liberal outlets like the Washington Posts, New York Times, The Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, and, of course, The L.A. Times. I dig into Swedish news as well, but honestly, it just reads so incredibly trivial – pebbles thrown in a tiny pond of political indulgence. At least when compared to all the really important issues the rest of the world is going through now. Obvious biases aside, I still feel I have a pretty good objective sense of key ongoings.
I continue to worry about the state of the US and what could be a potentially devastatingly chaotic, disastrous autumn. Living in this part of the world (EU) feels a whole lot safer, more secure – but also uneventful. I have family in California and Alaska, so that gives me a little anxiety. What if things get really bad? Lawless, even.
The rioting and protests aside, the socio-political upheavals have so far been mostly sensationalized by the media but trivial in the grand scheme of things. But what if there’s a dramatic escalation as we near November? What if Trump double downs on the confusion and deploys more military troupes, declares Marshall Law and does his best to fan the fires so the pandemonium spirals, spreads, and blankets the entire nation prior, during, and after the election?
The United States is going through so much turbulence right now. It’s mindboggling. I watched this really well-made documentary about Fascism in Europe the other day and was taken aback by how many parallels there were between the 1920s-30s in Italy and Germany and how things are right now. Trump isn’t smart enough to fully emulate the strategies of Mussolini and Hilter. But he does surround himself with a gang of ruthless thugs that could – and they are already in control of the narrative on Twitter and Fox News. Amazing that we forget how to recognize the signature elements of dictators. It’s like we all suffer from collective amnesia or dementia.
Maybe it’s time for a total reset. Maybe the fall will be so chaotic, so violent and disruptive, that good thing will come from it all once the dust has cleared.
Finally, a reminder of a few things that I think needs immediate fixing.
I learned of what is referred to as “The Chickenization of America” the other day. Not that I wasn’t aware of how monopolism, in general, is slowly but surely eating away and destroying democracy around the world. I just hadn’t heard it framed and phrased that way before. Just like at the beginning of the last century, a few key actors, huge, publicly-traded conglomerates, focused entirely on domination and increasing profits at any cost, are pulling all the strings today. Forbes has an excellent piece that points this out incontrovertibly. And since America has this problem, I can’t see how not breaking up the monopolies wouldn’t spread the wealth and revive competition!
Lobbying and Political Finances
The amount of money in US politics is another issue that needs to be fixed pronto. I think you have to either be cretinous or just plain ignorant not to see how American politicians are bought and sold left and right. Someone recently suggested that the American public should hire a lobbying firm to represent them in Congress. A brilliant idea, however sad it is. Shorten political term limits are also high on my list of ways to improve sound political activism in the US. To put it bluntly, Americans are too fat, physically, and mentally to understand how their democratic system is being dismantled and sold piece by piece by piece. Just the fact that their needs to be lobbyists should be a clear warning that the system is fucked.
Universal Healthcare is such a no-brainer that I don’t get how anybody could question it. How to finance this? Easy. Just reduce 10% of the Pentagon’s budget. Take another 5% and you could have a free college education for everyone. The Guardian has written an interesting article about this could save trillions. On the other hand, Americans would probably not need full universal healthcare if they just started eating and living healthier.
Ok, back to work.