Day 21: God Save the Republic, part one

Are writers who I respect like Andrew Sullivan or Matt Taibbi being chicken little post election? Maybe, maybe not. Progress has an ability to clean itself up in hindsight. We don’t feel bad in omitting that FDR used the disenfranchisement of blacks to get the southern votes for the New Deal and WWII when we call him one of the greatest presidents. We might say never again and I do not mean to suggest that we repeat the past, but I do think it is safe to say that democracy grew and thrived after. Trump lost the popular vote but geographically won almost the entire nation. Perhaps the issue is we became too democratic or perhaps we opened ourselves to aristocracy.

Tyranny of the majority, one of the great founding fears may shed some light on our country. There are two majorities in existence: the democrat urban coalition with its popular vote win and Trumpland where the sun never sets. Both gripped in a deathmatch. The current war of American halves began in earnest in the 1990’s with the culture wars. Particularly P.C. culture which partly can be seen as a response to the race baiting tactics of the modern GOP. Politically correctness was different than the destruction of the censorship boards in the 60’s. It was an active assault into public and private life. The focus on thought as much as action. The older repealed morality legislation was equally as intrusive and we are better off without. The left sought to form a new monoculture in ways that the old monoculture of the mass never achieved. Brooklynization.  Twentyfive years of scorched earth fighting between both sides, neither willing to show magnanimity in defeat or victory. During the Great Recession and uneven recovery, the culture war was pushed by elites to mask the hard truths of class.

To be continued and finished tomorrow.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 20: No Easy Piece

In an op ed this morning’s NYtimes, readers were greeted with a response to the sheltered student freakout from Nov.11th. The response doesn’t enlighten us on why she voted Trump but it does illuminate her world view. First she claims the election was the last thing on her mind on 11/8. She claims without argument that the republicans are the best to tackle domestic issues. She also importantly tells us she did not vote but she did support Trump. She with that last statement shows a troubling development in American democracy.

A college scholar who can’t be bothered to vote because of the supposed stress of schoolwork like if the election was just a hotly anticipated season finale of American Idol. In an election where issues were secondary to decorum and qualifications against sleaze and bullshit. There was little to no policy to disagree with because only Clinton offered proposals. Instead the winning strategy was to have a draft dodger attack a gold star family. One of the closer attempts Trump has made toward policy articulation involves the coal industry. Deregulation will not stop or reverse the loss of jobs. Even if we stripmined Mt. Rushmore, the glut of fossil fuels with fracking and coals inefficiency as an energy source remains. I understand it was a good job even though it killed or crippled you. Clinton had a vision to use tax incentives to make cosl country the cradle of the alternative energy industry. I have friends making good money without degrees in that sector up in New England. I hoped the prosperity would have been shared. Now that is lost. Instead just more greenhouse gasses will be released. The ideas behind the ACA are republican, but they have long refused to discuss the crisis of rising healthcare costs. The GOP instead shut down the government to grandstand. The party of fiscal responsibility who wants to cut domestic programs to boost the military budget, something the generals have said is unnecessary. They will not learn as shown in their desire to repeal Dodd Frank and returning the economy on track to collapse, so their friends can make a quick buck. But rest assured reader, her dad works in the state department so she knows everything about politics and nations. Can we petition the dean to get her diploma tomorrow? She doesn’t need to study. God have mercy on our souls.

This is the undiscussed millennial neither SJW or Alt Right. Indifferent to the world around them. Neither bullshitters or liars, they inform themselves enough to pass their current tests and that is the edge of their blinders. If she cared for the world just a smidge then she would have voted. Her opinion doesn’t actually matter because she has removed herself from the electorate. She is not an uncommon figure in my generation: willfully uninformed, self centered, outspoken, but not participating in civic society. Noting we should just come together when harmony hasn’t been earned. They are a generally intelligent people who use their intellect to smoke and mirror their apathy towards humanity and society. Trump won without a mandate or an outlined policy. His supporters can’t complain when they are asked to defend their decision. There cannot be empathy without understanding and no understanding without a Cartisan reflection. Our disagreements will not fade anytime soon even if it would be more convenient if they did.

There will be no peace until the path to prosperity is restored and the digital age is adjusted for. We have just elected a man without a plan. A man who doesn’t know or understand the job description of his role. This is not an age to be neutral on the sidelines, to cowardly withhold viewpoints in public. Let’s put it all on the table and deal.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 19: S.O.S and Other Mumurs in the Swamp

Trump’s cabinet has been heavy on the second chances and new fish in the pond in big positions. The largest besides the seat on the court is the position of Secretary of State, our top diplomat. Mitt Romney is in the running and for that I am grateful. The man may have not been my choice for president, but he was a good governor. He quite knowledgeable about current and global affairs. He never has had a public scandal or been blemished. If Trump always speaks in Trumpisms then Romney will be an eloquent communication channel. The other name being bounced around is Rudy Giuliani, who is the opposite of Romney. A man who had an extramarital affair in office and is a Trump cosmopolitan. His time ended with his mayorship and his outlook on police policies while not a part of the state department give insight into his worldviews. He will not stand for a world safe for democracy if he threatens it at home.

The outsiders in Trump’s camp oppose Romney. He was a “never Trumper”, whose vote was not for Trump in all likelihood. They are running a old time mob boss hall party with good jobs for supporters regardless of qualification. They didn’t have any and they won. More dangerous ideas is their toxic desire for revenge. Our lives and their fates are not favors to be handed out for support. We the people deserve someone qualified even if we abhor some of their held positions, at least let the issue be politics. Government is not a business, many more factors matter beyond stockholder appreciation. It requires self sacrifice and that isn’t coming from Trump Tower. This is a man who treats the presidency like a participation trophy. His wife and young son can’t be bothered to reside in the White House. Who knows if Trump won’t come back to NYC on weekends?

Decorum will be in short supply come Inauguration Day. Trump as president elect continues to use his Twitter to vent. While I disagree with those who say the Hamilton cast open letter after the show was an apolitical action, I also disagree with those who say they should apologize. This is an age for public disagreement. The election comes at a time of greater change than the industrial era. The digital disruption and the approach of the end of work before whites become a majority minority in America. Uber deployed a fleet of self driving cars aided by human companions this summer. They won’t be everywhere tomorrow, but consider the smartphone. It was just under a decade ago that the iPhone was released. In that time, the notion of the smartphone being a key tool of success has taken hold. By 2015 68% of Americans had a smartphone making an app like Uber be a very successful company. Soon, delivery drivers like myself will be out of work along with taxi cab drivers, and the entire transport industry from film to food distribution. Millions of jobs will be gone. There will be no new jobs to replace them as more automation breakthroughs take place. These changes will not be done within the next twenty years, but the preparations and framework needs to be discussed now. Before zero hour. It will not be a good use of our next four years, arguing over Twitter again.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 18: The Close of the Cold War

Fidel Castro has passed.

His modern reign unparalleled. Sure Elizabeth II is the record book response but she is a figurehead at best, tax burden on a normal day, and the physical representation of Old Europe at worst. Fidel Castro created the mythology that propped his name up over generations. A relevant figure for eleven sitting presidents.

Neither devil or saint, a man who made a nation. A member in a fading club. Cuba under Castro became both more worldly and isolated in time and space. A ninety percent literacy rate and a robust education system is very commendable. His violent oppression of dissenters. He brutalized all deviations including social norms. He did grow more liberal over the decades. He remained unmoving in many visible ways. The most obvious being the cars of Cuba. Eisenhower models still transport citizens two generations removed from the birth of the revolution. When Cuban American relations thawed in recent years he spoke openly against the developments. Not as headstrong as to allow the revolution to fail, he legalized American currency for a short period to stabilize the economy. He was a leader above all.

His death closes an era, the end of the Cold War titans. As Putin and Trump take the stage, a new era begins. The reconnection with Cuba is good. I hope one day see Hemingway’s house. However Trump’s indifference to Russia is frightening. NATO does need all members to step up on their commitments. The West must stand for Freedom. We must uphold the constitution including the provisions against foreign emoluments. His business ties and diplomats spending money to curry his favor. He argues that he will remain above the money but still a call away from the company. Except he has continued to hold business meetings during the transition. We cannot be silent until he changes. American doesn’t need a Fidel.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 17: The Representation of Small Town America

The recently revived television show “Gilmore Girls” portrays small town America in an interesting light skewed by coastal elite sensibilities. The town rituals on screen are devoid of any attachment outside the ritual itself. No Memorial Day parade where parents come out to have their grief and lose supported by their neighbors. As the rememberers become the remembered, the bedrock of the foundation of America. While, it is easy to say the small town is idealized, all stories contain idealizations. The media is not too unkind to New York. It is all a fiction anyway outside of documentary. I do think it is worth considering the exact ideas behind the representation what was the motivation to build the statue?

In “Gilmore Girls”, Stars Hollow functions as a close knit town that used historical re-enactments and other festivals in honor of the prior resident’s legacies to boost a tourism industry as most residents worked within the town lines. They export themselves and weathered the erosion of the last thirty years. It is an unreality, a politically correct 50’s serial. Religion replaced by History and Legend. The Gilmore family being D.A.R. and the town surrounded by myth. The community is real forged with organized weekly devotion at the often frillious town meeting. The residents sit in a single room on simple chairs and listen to Taylor, who is Napoleon. A couple working at the local grocer can pay for a family of four. No one is left behind and not all the young people leave. It is the recognition that small towns have a place in all world views. We need to reinvest and deurbanize in order to revive the small towns and continue their traditions

-E.C. Fiori.

Day 16: Seller’s Remorse

Jill Stein raised about four million dollars as of today to pay for recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This effort based on vague claims of hacking, but no clear source. Another frustrating twist in the election cycle. Stein who spent the general campaign telling leftists there was no difference between Clinton and Trump. Now she may not be claiming the votes will flip the states but she inferred it enough to get liberals to open their wallets. Distracting from the Dec 10th Louisiana senate runoff. That’s a long shot too but it is real.

Jill Stein should not be forgiven for costing Clinton the election. We see the kleptocratic future ahead and people are less free to be themselves. No police reform, Wall Street regulations, or better protected civil rights. Third party voting in a normal election in a battleground is wasteful when faced with what we got idiotic. Years from now, children will ask did Green Party voters feel good about themselves. I can’t imagine they will. I wonder if they voted Nader in 2000 maybe most of them were too young. So much time and money wasted on pageantry politics. Looks great on the newsfeed, the trough of information.

 

-E.C. Fiori.

Day 15: When Choice Hurts Liberty

Today Trump announced his decision for Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos. Not surprising considering how Trump campaigned on school choice. The idea of being able to pick the school you want for your child and keeping the tax benefits through vouchers is tempting. I believe it will expand education inequality.
Most schools fail from lack of resources and diverting the funding from them to private or charter schools exasperates the gap. Charter schools benefit from larger budgets while still receiving local, state, and federal funding in addition to private donations. Charters will less tax payer accountability are able to spend more on fundraising outreach and grant writing. Outside traditionally community control and owned by franchising corporations, Charters are run by the same political elites that enabled the Great Recession. There are great and wonderful Charter schools whose staff and administration care without end for their students and spread their success through a wide network of schools. There are also bad apples. More importantly Public schools with less funding don’t have the luxury of choosing their students. Even if school choice was funded, some students would remain at failing schools and poorly performing charters would operate outside of community input. Many areas don’t have multiple choices to begin with.

A reason to worry is the state of the education system for all Americans. A recent Stanford study found students including Stanford undergraduates both failed to recognize slanted or fake sources and failed to properly research or contextualized the content before them. In the age of unlimited information our libraries and their guardians have become more important. The assumption that Google is enough cannot continue. We need to reinvest in our public resources. Libraries and schools remain a central part of our public infrastructure today. If our fellow Americans are not given the chance to develop the high skill knowledge for today’s workforce both vocational and university. Our republic needs an informed citizenry in order to function. No American left behind.

-E.C. Fiori.